Your website is ready in every aspect. You have an eye-catching, beautiful theme, equipped with carefully selected plugins, and you have created excellent content that will capture the attention of your followers...
But most likely, no one will be able to see your website. Because your website is not indexed by major search engines.
Despite their appearance, search engines are not as powerful and intelligent as they seem. They cannot automatically be aware of the existence of your website and cannot present it as a relevant result to a user making a query. That's why your first task is to inform search engines about the existence of your website. This process is called indexing.
What is Indexing?
A search engine (especially Google, which is the most well-known and widely used search engine) is essentially nothing more than a giant index, a kind of database that lists known websites.
When search engines index a site, they gather as much information as possible about that site using worms/spiders/bots. This information includes various pieces of data such as robots.txt, .htaccess, XML sitemaps, meta descriptions, and more.
Below are the steps you need to take to ensure that your newly created WordPress site doesn't go unnoticed by these spiders.
Create an XML Sitemap
XML sitemaps provide search bots with information about your website's pages and how these pages are organized or interconnected. You use these sitemaps to provide "directions" for search bots to navigate your content more easily and quickly.
This task is very easy in WordPress. Almost every major SEO plugin such as Yoast SEO, All in One SEO Pack, Premium SEO Pack, etc., includes a feature to create an XML sitemap. There are also dedicated sitemap plugins such as XML Sitemaps by BestWebSoft and Google XML Sitemaps.
After creating your sitemap using these plugins, you will have a ready-to-use URL like
www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml. This address is an XML document that contains information about what your website is about and where the content is located. As a recommendation, don't forget to generate an HTML sitemap for your WordPress site as well. This process may not provide much benefit in terms of being noticed by search engines, but it can help you rank higher in search results.
Submit Website Domain Information to Search Engines
As mentioned earlier, the internet is a vast expanse, and search engines, no matter how powerful they may be, cannot automatically know everything about you. Therefore, when you create a WordPress website, you need to inform search engines about it.
How can you do this?
If you don't have an account yet, the first thing you need to do is create a Google account. Choose one of the Google products (Google+, Gmail, YouTube, etc.) and create an account. If you are already using any of these products, you can use the same account within Google.
- Sign in to your Google account.
- Go to Google Search Console (formerly known as Webmaster Tools).
- Add your website URL and click the "Add Property" button.
After that, the Search Console will ask for information to verify that you own the website. The recommended method is to log in to your domain provider account and perform the verification from there. There are four alternative methods available as well: HTML file, meta tag, Google Analytics, or Tag Manager.
- Google Tag Manager is the best approach for this task, as it allows you to add tracking and analytics codes to your website more securely and easily.
The steps to add Google Tag Manager to WordPress (and use it for configuring Google Analytics) are described below. By following these steps, you can properly set up Google Tag Manager.
If you prefer to go through HTML, you need to have access to the HTML code of your website. Here's how you can add the HTML verification file to your WordPress site:
- Download the HTML verification file provided by Google Search Console.
- Log in to your WordPress admin dashboard.
- From the left-hand menu, go to Appearance > Theme Editor.
- On the right-hand side, you'll see a list of theme files. Look for "Theme Header" or "header.php" and click on it.
- Find the
<head>section in the code editor.
- Copy and paste the HTML verification code provided by Google between the
- Save the changes.
Once you have verified your website ownership using one of the methods mentioned above, you will be able to access Google Search Console for your website. From there, you can monitor the indexing status, submit sitemaps, check for crawl errors, and perform various other tasks related to search engine optimization.
Bing is another popular search engine, although it has a smaller market share compared to Google. It's still important to submit your website to Bing to ensure it gets indexed.
Here's how you can submit your WordPress website to Bing:
- Sign in to your Bing Webmaster Tools account (create one if you don't have it).
- Click on "Add Site" and enter your website URL.
- Follow the verification process using one of the available methods (XML file, meta tag, or CNAME record).
- Once your website is verified, you can access Bing Webmaster Tools and submit your XML sitemap.
By following these steps, you can inform both Google and Bing about the existence of your WordPress website and increase the chances of your site being indexed and appearing in search results.
Remember, indexing takes time, and it may not happen immediately. Be patient and continue to focus on creating high-quality content, optimizing your website for search engines, and promoting it through various channels to improve its visibility.