How do I make sure my website is listed in search engines?

You probably want your website to appear in the listings when people use search engines such as Google and Bing.

They way it works is that these search engine first “visits” your site and takes a snapshot of your pages (this is called “indexing” your site). Each time someone does a search using that search engine, it shows them any pages based on the snapshot it took earlier. Because the snapshots are always a little out of date, it can take a few days before your site appears, though.

Adding your site to our public customer list can improve your search engine visibility and possibly speed this up. That’s because many search engines already take snapshots of our public customer list pages, and many of those will automatically follow the links on that page and immediately take snapshots of the listed sites.

Resources and tips

Many people don’t do anything beyond checking that their site (eventually) appears on the largest search engines.

However, you’ll find that you can do more if you’re willing to spend some time (and perhaps money) to make your site appear prominently in the rankings of many search engines. For example, you might also want to create a Google Sitemap file, or pay to advertise with Google AdWords (or similar services).

Make sure search engines see the text on your web pages

In addition to making sure search engines know about your site, you’ll want to make sure they can read the words on your pages when they visit.

An extremely useful tool is the Search Engine Simulator, which shows you what a search engine sees when it looks at your website. Search engines ignore Java applets, JavaScript, Flash and images. Although most sites look ugly like this, you should be able to read the text.

If your website doesn’t have words visible in the Search Engine Simulator, that means that search engines can’t find key words in your pages: perhaps you’ve set up your site so that the words are all contained in images, for example. Altering your site design so that the Search Engine Simulator shows all the words you care about will make your site rank more highly in search engines.