Have you ever found yourself wondering why your blog content isn’t showing up anywhere on Google, even after you have done your keyword research and optimized for SEO using the best tools available?
Sure, you realize that it can take a long time before you rank highly, but sometimes it seems like Google can’t even tell that your content even exists.
It isn’t being recorded on the first page or even the first ten pages.
So what exactly is the problem here? How can you know what you did wrong? How long does it take for results to show?
In many cases, the answer is all about indexing. If Google hasn’t been able to index your content, there’s no way it will ever get any organic traffic.
In this article, we will go over the basics of indexing, and show you how to make sure that you are giving your content the best chance to get ranked by Google – as quickly as possible!
We will also answer the question, “How long does it take Google to index your website?”, so that you can make sure that the work you are putting in is paying off.
First, let’s take a quick crash course on Google indexing.
What does “Index” Mean?
Indexing is one of the fundamental concepts of SEO.
In the simplest terms, indexing refers to sharing your website’s content with Google.
Google gains the information that it needs to create its indexes through crawling. This is where the search engine scans the code of every URL on your website.
Indexing in Simple Terms
To explain this using an analogy, let’s say that you want to go get Thai food for dinner tonight, but you are in a new city and haven’t learned where the best place to eat might be.
In a world without smartphones and Amazon Alexa, one way to deal with this situation would be to ask a friend who has plenty of time on their hands to go out to every Thai restaurant in the city and learn everything that they possibly can about the menu, ambiance, and anything else that makes them desirable dining locations. This is like how Google “crawls” your website.
Imagine that this friend (who by now might be questioning the benefits of your relationship) finishes “crawling” every Thai restaurant in the city then brings you reams of notes about each of them. This can be considered the “index.”
A restaurant could easily be avoided in the crawling process if it doesn’t meet certain requirements, like if they failed a recent health inspection. This is like a sketchy keyword-stuffing website being denied by Google’s crawlers so that it doesn’t show up in the search engine results.
All the restaurants that meet the requirements that you have set can be considered “indexed” because you now have the information that you need about them. The friend can then go through the index that they created to come up with a final ranking, where the very best and most relevant options appear in order.
Now you have found the best possible place to eat, and you probably owe your friend a major favor! (Thank God that Google does this kind of thing for free online.)
Questions About Indexing
Hopefully, this example has cleared some things up!
An important aspect of this to consider is that the crawling part of the process takes more time than you might think. There is a seemingly endless amount of information on the internet for Google to sift through.
Google’s crawlers (often called bots or spiders) can only scan websites every so often. If a new website is created, or you make changes to an existing website, it takes time before these changes are reflected in the website’s search engine ranking.
And this ties into the main question that we are trying to answer: how long does it take Google to index? It also brings up other questions that are important for affiliate marketers who are trying to get their content ranked ahead of their competitors, such as:
How do I know when Google has indexed my site?
How can I make Google index my site faster?
What if Google is indexing the wrong parts of my website? How do I avoid this?
Prepare yourself to get into the weeds with this article. Search engine optimization for affiliate marketing can seem pretty complex when you are learning about it for the first time.
However, it is also very important to have a good grasp on it. It’s satisfying when your website runs like a well-oiled machine because you followed best practices, and you achieve your first top-10 ranking. We are here to help you get there!
Why Fast Indexing Matters
Getting your content indexed as frequently and as quickly as possible by Google matters because it is the final piece of the organic SEO puzzle.
Not paying attention to whether your website is being indexed properly is kind of like giving out the wrong phone number to someone at a bar. Sure, they might find another way of getting in touch with you (after all, how hard is it to find someone on Facebook or Instagram these days), but if you put in all the work to get them interested in the first place, wouldn’t you want to have something to show for it?
It’s the same thing with your website. If you put energy and time into writing SEO-friendly articles and optimizing for chosen keywords, you need to go the extra mile to make sure that your hard work is being rewarded.
In addition, you want to get your pages indexed faster so that they can become established faster. Google favors content that has been receiving traffic for a longer period of time (in fact, the average page one ranking is over two years old, according to Ahrefs).
So, make a habit of keeping your indexing game on point. It pays off in the long run!
How Long Does it Take Google to Index?
Now that you know why being indexed by Google is important, let’s talk about how long it usually takes for this to happen.
First, let’s establish something. The following estimation is made assuming that you are doing everything the right way. This includes the steps that we will touch on in the rest of the article, from installing Google Search Console all the way to promoting your content through social channels.
The answer to “how long does it take to get indexed by Google” cannot be answered with a single number.
If you are following these search engine optimization best practices, your content should be crawled and indexed by Google in about 1 to 14 days.
Sure, this is a bit of a wide range. It might make things even more confusing to mention that some content can even be indexed by Goole within a few hours of publishing (although this is less common).
But if you don’t take the necessary steps, it is likely that your content can take months to index, or it could never be indexed at all. Let’s try our very best to avoid this outcome.
Here are our top tips for improving the speed that Google can index your website, so you don’t have to sit back and wait for your site to rank.
Installing Google Search Console
First, you will need to install several of Google’s key tools to ensure that your website is indexed properly. Thankfully, this is a relatively straightforward process.
Google Analytics Setup
First of all, you will need to set up Google Analytics for your website. This is the tool that will give you a breakdown of the most important statistics for your site.
For WordPress sites, this involves creating a Google account and installing Google Analytics through a WordPress plug-in. We won’t go through every step of the process because I think that WPBeginner does a great job with their video tutorial here.
(tk. embed YouTube video)
Once you have installed Google Analytics, you will be able to view more data about what kind of organic searches are ending up on your site using Google Search Console, among many other useful things.
This should be one of your first few steps whenever you start a new website.
Google Search Console Setup
Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) is a free service that monitors your site’s presence on organic search results and gives you valuable information about the organic traffic that you receive.
It tells you the things that search engines like Google would tell you about your site if they had more time.
It’s basically mission control for indexing and search engine optimization.
It also gives you a heads up when Google’s crawls uncover anything that might be hurting your organic search rankings. This is the greatest benefit of the tool in our opinion, as it is very common to see your ranking suffer from unseen on-site SEO issues.
Search Console is a little bit tougher to install than Google Analytics, but don’t fret – here is a step by step explanation to get it running in as little as ten minutes.
After going to Search Console and logging in with your Google account, you can sign in with the same email that you used to start your Google Analytics account. This will create your new account, which will link with the rest of your Google tools.
Then, you can click the “Add Property” button and type in your domain name into the “Enter Domain or Subdomain” field.
You will then be given instructions for verifying that you own the domain, which is straightforward to follow if you are using a major domain name provider like GoDaddy, NameCheap, or Google Domains. (If you aren’t using one of these providers, follow the step-by-step guide in this HubSpot blog post).
This is honestly the trickiest part of the setup, because different providers have different methods of verifying that you are the real owner of the website. We won’t go into the solution for every outcome in this article, but most difficulties can be fixed with our old friend Google. There are plenty of great YouTube tutorials out there to help you on your way as well.
Once you are able to verify ownership, you can consider this task finished. Search Console is now installed on your site, and if you have traffic, you will be able to see data on the Search Console dashboard. Pretty easy right?
Here’s an easy first step that you can take to make sure that your site is being indexed correctly.
It is important to ensure that Google recognizes the correct URL for your website. Many don’t realize that Google can treat www.brandbuilders.io and brandbuilders.io as completely different domains. This eats into the search engine optimization of each of the domains and splits your organic traffic in two.
To avoid this, you can use the Search Console to inform Google which domain you prefer to use to index your site.
The old Google Search Console (and Google Webmaster Tools) had the option of making this change using the “Preferred Domain Setting”, and this is still mentioned on many high-ranking Search Console tutorials.
However, since the most recent update, this feature is no longer available. The best way to make this change now is by submitting a sitemap.
Submitting a Sitemap
Submitting a sitemap to Google Search Console is a crucial part of ensuring that your on-site SEO is in tip-top shape.
A sitemap is a pretty straightforward concept – it is the easiest way for Google to get the lay of the land and figure out where everything is on your website. Google will have a much easier time indexing your site when it knows where to send its crawlers.
The tricky thing is that this needs to be done every time you publish new content on your site (because this means that new URLs have been created).
For an affiliate marketing site with around four blog posts being created per month, this is something that can be done every 2 weeks. This is a great task to delegate to a virtual assistant, or you can set a reminder for yourself so that you do not forget.
First of all, creating a sitemap.xml can vary a lot depending on how you have set up your website.
For most affiliate marketing websites, we recommend using the Yoast SEO plugin to do this. It is generally viewed as the best starter SEO plugin since it is so easy to use.
Once you have installed Yoast SEO, you can select the “XML Sitemaps” option after selecting SEO>General>Features.
From here, you can see that your sitemap has been automatically generated by the tool.
From here, all you need to do is copy the URL shown in Yoast, which should look something like this: domain.com/sitemap.xml. Go back to the Search Console screen and select the “Sitemaps” option, where you will see a field asking you to add a new sitemap.
Take the URL that you copied earlier, and paste it into this space and hit the “Submit” button. You have now shared your sitemap with Google for the first time, and you will now be able to see what Google uncovers when it crawls your site!
Troubleshooting Search Console Results
Now that you have submitted your sitemap, you will be able to address the issues that Google discovers when it crawls your site. These will have a direct impact on how long it takes for Google to index your site, so you should be reviewing these problems whenever they pop up.
As you can imagine, there are many different problems that Google can flag. Instead of going into every single one of them with this article, you can review some common errors in this Ahrefs article.
For now, let’s get back to our checklist for on-site SEO must-haves.
After reading this subtitle, you may be thinking that your affiliate marketing interests are going to end up with you having to learn how to develop a website from scratch. Don’t worry too much about this! Robots txt is actually a pretty simple concept (with a highly technical-sounding name).
Essentially, robots.txt is a simple plain text file that lives in the root directory of your WordPress domain.
Wait a minute… we still managed to make that sound complicated, didn’t we?
Okay, let’s try this. Imagine that your website is a house, and the robots.txt file is a list that shows which doors they can and cannot pass through. When Google’s crawlers visit your site, they are immediately directed to your robots.txt file, which tells them which URLs they are allowed to index.
When you have just started a website, this will not have a huge impact on how Google is able to index your website. However, when your site has grown to include dozens of blog posts that are connected with an internal linking structure (more on that later), forms for lead generation, and anything else you have built in to grow your audience, Google will need to know what is important to index.
Now, actually using robots.txt is a bit trickier to understand. But by following the instructions on the video below, you will be able to optimize it for your website. Yoast SEO makes it easy as long as you have a reputable tutorial to follow along to.
(tk. embed this video)
After you have optimized your robots.txt for SEO, you are all done with the first steps of making sure that your site is indexed quickly. Hopefully, you see yourself on the search results in no time!
But don’t pat yourself on the back too quickly – there is still work to be done to make sure your new website continues to be crawled and indexed properly as it grows.
How to Confirm Site Indexing
To confirm whether you have followed these steps correctly, there is an easy way to check if Google has been able to index your site. It is best to check this after your site has been live for a week or so, as Google will take time to crawl after you have set up Google Analytics and Search Console.
Simply open a new Google search and type “site:[your site address]” into the search bar.
If your site has been indexed, it should appear as the first organic result on the search results page. If not, you might need to leave some more time for it to be indexed. If it still isn’t appearing on the search results after your new website has been around for over two weeks, you should probably review the Google Search Console setup process to make sure you followed along correctly.
Content Strategy for Indexing
It’s no surprise that best practices for SEO and content strategy convince Google to index your website much faster. Here are our top strategies to push your content to the top of the search results – because there’s just no time to waste when you are trying to appease Google!
Maintaining a Regular Posting Schedule
Blogging often and following a regular pattern is the foundation of the strategies that we are sharing today.
On its own, it won’t guarantee that your content will be indexed by Google faster, but it should set off a chain of events that ensure it is given the best possible chance of ranking highly for the keywords you are trying to optimize for.
Posting a blog every Thursday doesn’t mean that Google’s crawlers will be hiding in the weeds every Wednesday night eager to explore your new content; rather, it makes it easier for you to know what to do with your content.
Here’s an example: let’s say I am building an affiliate site in the law niche, where I recommend software that can be used by legal firms to automate their everyday tasks. I release two blog posts per week on my website.
My most recent blog post should be promoted through my website’s LinkedIn and Twitter feeds. I can reach out to have another blogger in the space mention me in their upcoming article the same week. The blog post will follow my website’s internal linking structure (more on that in the next section), so that older high-ranking posts will also link to it.
These are important tasks that you should build a process for with your affiliate site. Often times, this ends up being accomplished best by a Virtual Assistant (parts of this are notoriously time-consuming).
The point is, having a regular posting schedule is for your sake. It doesn’t make Google happy, but it makes it easier for you to maintain an ideal strategy to index your site.
Establishing Internal Link Structure
Internal linking is an important SEO practice that makes it easier for search engines to crawl large, complex websites.
In the same way that a sitemap gives crawlers the ability to see your entire site’s structure, internal links are the pathways that crawlers will use to get around.
Internal links must direct the user to a page that is under the same domain, which is best done using descriptive keywords. As an example, I can direct you, the reader to our entire library of resources about SEO, or a single article about backlinking strategy.
Google will likely crawl and index this page first (because it is newer), but the next step will be to crawl these older content pieces through the internal links.
If you have more internal links pointing to a page, it is a signal to Google that that page is relatively important, and should be prioritized above other similar pages for its overall search ranking.
Internal link strategy is an essential bit of SEO strategy that you should have a good hold on if you have built a content-rich affiliate website (let’s say that this qualifies as a website with 20 blog articles or more).
There is so much more to internal linking strategy, and it has become increasingly important for getting the best out of search engines.
Instead of going too in-depth about siloing, pillar pages, and how to audit your site for broken internal links, I am going to recommend reading this internal linking guide by Ahrefs (there’s just something about the way that this author explains difficult concepts that is so easy to understand).
For now, all you need to know is that a strong internal linking strategy allows Google crawlers easier access to more of the pages on your site, which should result in faster indexing. On top of this, it improves your user experience when site visitors can find similar information without leaving your website.
Never Index These Pages
Some pages are meant to fly under the radar. Thank you pages and duplicate content are better left unindexed, and can actually hurt your organic performance if they are left exposed to Google crawlers.
Thank you pages are displayed when a site visitor completes a form, downloads content, or signs up for your email list. Duplicate content can appear if you are split testing two different kinds of content on your site.
In either case, you do not want Google indexing these pages because they are generally not positive factors for SEO. You can make sure that they are not indexed by linking to the pages with a nofollow or no index link. Here’s how to get this done.
Content Promotion Strategy
Content promotion is an essential part of your content strategy – and it can also have positive downstream effects on how long it takes Google to index your newest content.
The main reason behind this is that to ensure quicker indexing, you need to look to websites that get crawled more frequently. Google crawls major social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn much more often than anywhere else on the internet.
You can use these sites to your advantage by linking to your content with various promotion strategies, which has a greater chance of giving Google a wave to let it know that things have changed on your site.
Here are some different websites that you can use to supercharge your indexing and climb the Google rankings.
As we mentioned above, major social media networks are a no-brainer for promoting your content because Google crawls them so often.
It is important to remember that links posted on social media are nofollow. Nofollow is a type of HTML tag that is crucial in search engine optimization. In technical terms, it means that “Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across the links.”
Or to put it simply, it means that you cannot get any search engine rankings benefits from this type of link. However, thanks to a March 2020 update, Google now takes the nofollow tag as a “hint” to crawl your page. Think of it as a clever way to jump a few spots ahead in line at a nightclub.
Any social media network can work for this. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube are commonly used for this purpose. Remember to set a schedule where your newest content is promoted through several social media channels. If making updates to an older blog post, try to re-promote it through these channels to ensure it gets indexed by search engines in good time.
Much like social media networks, content aggregators provide Google with a “nudge” to index your content. The key difference is, most of these websites do not use nofollow links, so you also get an added ranking benefit from them.
Content aggregators are websites like Reddit, Medium, and Flipboard. These sites gather information from different sources online and bundle them together for easy viewing by a user based on their interests.
This requires a bit of legwork on your end, but you can create a list of content aggregators that would work well with your niche, then promote through these channels whenever new content is published.
As an example, for an affiliate marketing website in the online marriage counseling niche, I could promote a new article about “A Beginner’s Guide to Couples Therapy” by cross-publishing through my Medium and Flipboard accounts.
I can also post the article in a few relevant subreddits. Reddit users are known to abhor shameless self-promotion, so by posting with a link to the article on Medium (often seen as a more trustworthy source than smaller affiliate websites) under an anonymous username, I can bring more traffic to the content.
Of course, there are many other ways to get indexed faster by promoting your content. You can submit your website to reputable blog directories. Forums and “question and answer” websites like Quora can also work. If you find a forum that is popular in your niche, you should set a posting schedule to ensure that your content is being shared in as many reputable places as possible.
By now, hopefully, you can see that promoting to improve indexing can be done in many different ways. However, keep in mind that you don’t need to be doing ALL of these to ensure that you are getting indexed!
“Nudging” Google over and over doesn’t mean that your site will be at the top of the list for the next crawl.
All you need to do is choose whichever of these channels makes the most sense for your niche, and consistently activate your content through these mediums.
How Long Does It Take Google To Index – Wrap-up
We hope that this article will help you to build a strategy to ensure your website is getting indexed by search engines consistently.
Speaking from personal experience, I’ve found that technical onsite SEO can be one of the most intimidating and confusing parts about building a website. Because its roots are in web development, it still hasn’t shaken a lot of the technical-sounding terms, which means it can seem a lot more confusing than it actually is.
Luckily, there are so many great resources out there for learning about SEO (I am a big fan of the Moz blog for up-to-date and comprehensible information). And when it comes to affiliate marketing, there are plenty of step-by-step guides for other people who have similar websites. So there really is no excuse for not keeping your on-site SEO in tip-top shape.
It’s also important to mention that things in the SEO world change fast. Stay looped in with trusted figures in affiliate marketing like Spencer Haws from Niche Pursuits and Authority Hacker so you won’t miss the Google update that changes everything overnight.
Still running into difficulties making sure that your website is optimized for getting indexed by Google and ranking highly on the search engine results page? Chances are, one of OUR experts has faced the same problem, too!
Check out our coaching calls where you can speak to an affiliate marketing expert about how to grow your website and take care of all the technical parts of making money online.