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Mar 21st, 2018
Early in March, Google’s John Mueller participated in a Webmaster Hangout, during which time he discussed techniques and tactics for getting your content indexed as soon after it is published as possible. You can view the hourlong Hangouts session here on YouTube, but we’ve also compiled some of the high points of his discussion in this post.
Google’s URL Submit Tool May Not Be That Helpful
One of the most surprising issues addressed by Mueller was Google’s URL Submit Tool. The search engine provides this tool so that developers can let Google know that they recently published a new page or website. It’s a very basic online form with a captcha and a field for entering the new URL. Users click ‘Submit Request’ and walk away with the confidence that Google has officially been made aware of this new content.
While there’s certainly no harm in using this tool, Mueller indicated that it’s not likely to make a difference. The Google bots (i.e. web crawlers) will find your new content on their own, so long as certain tools such as a site map or RSS feed are in place.
There’s an Exception to Every Rule – Even in Site Indexing
Mueller did clarify that there were certain emergency situations in which the tool could be useful. He focused on issues where time is of the essence.
Suppose, for example, that you realise that the contact phone number on your website is erroneous. Assuming Google has already crawled the site, that number may appear in search results (in the Knowledge Box). Even if you change the information on your website, that erroneous information is going to continue appearing in the results for a while.
Mueller said that a situation like this was a primary candidate for the URL Submit Tool. Once you’ve updated the site content, submitting its URL to Google ensures that the incorrect number will be out of circulation as quickly as possible.
If the URL Submit Tool Won’t Help, What Will?
It’s clear that the URL Submit Tool has a function to play. But using it to encourage Google to index your site faster as about as effective as triple-clicking a link to make it open faster. With that in mind, what can developers do to ensure that their new content is indexed in a timely manner?
We’ve already touched on two ways that you can get your site the scrutiny it needs. One is to update your site map with a reference to the new page.
Another is to link to your new content from an existing, well-ranked page elsewhere on your site. Google finds much of the new content it indexes through incoming links from existing content, and there’s no reason you can’t give these to yourself.
Finally, featuring your new content in an RSS feed will also help. Just make sure that the feed isn’t blocked from web crawlers.
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