Where there’s traffic, there’s hope.
Google as we all know is a great tool for getting noticed online and certainly, when it comes to traffic, no one hates to have it organically. And communities can be a great source of it provided that we use them sensibly. Some people find it underrated as they don't know its potential. On the other hand, some of them are making the most out of it. They produce a decent amount of pageviews each month from Google. Renowned platforms like Quora and Reddit are perfect examples.
Let us clear the air regarding one of the wrong notions or perhaps misconception that states “in order to get indexed on Google, a community needs millions of members”, well that is not true. For your community, blogs, pages and other online content to be visible in Google’s search engine results, it just needs to meet the search engine’s requirements.
When people use the search engine to look for content, Google turns to its index to provide relevant content. In this article, we will acquaint you with a few effective tips that will help you index your community faster on Google.
Before we dive into the dynamics of getting your community indexed, let’s go over a simplified explanation of how Google’s indexing process works.
Search engines like Google, use crawlers, (also called bots/spiders) to crawl web pages and collect all information they find on the internet related to the searcher’s query. When a person searches for any query, the crawler starts searching from prominent pages and follows internal links to pages within that site as well as external links to pages on other sites.
Every time crawlers detect new content and pages; they store the information in an index. This index is nothing but an enormous database containing all the information of web pages available on the Internet that a search engine looks through.
Search engines look over and fetch content from their index when searchers enter a query, search engines like Google rank web pages based on an algorithm. They assign scores based on various ranking factors like- speed, keyword usage, and backlinks, before ranking the pages.
There's no ensured time span for how long exactly it takes for Google to index sites and new pages. It can take anywhere from hours to weeks to months. It's completely out of your hands, yet there are a couple of measures you can take to speed up the process of indexing your community.
Search engines like to view sitemaps. It is basically a detailed blueprint of your community or website. It helps search engine bots to easily crawl different pages of your community, read content and contribute in evaluating the page ranking. It also includes information like when the page was last updated and the priority of the page.
The pages within the directory are listed in a logical hierarchical order, where the most relevant pages will be placed at the top of the list, and vice & versa. If the bots are not able to crawl the site, it will not get indexed, and the community will not be ranked on search engine result pages. As a result of this, the community will not get search visibility and expected traffic as well. Certainly, it’s easier to increase traffic to the community if people can find it quickly.
Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmasters), is a tool which provides you with in-depth information about your site with regard to how it appears on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). It offers insight on how a website is doing in organic search as well as ways to make adjustments to the site in the Google index.
It also reports when Googlebot has any issues crawling and indexing your site, so you can fix them. You should also create and submit a sitemap to Google Search Console.
How do you know what steps you take up are beneficial if you don’t measure the outcomes?
Here Google Analytics comes in - It is a mighty tool that gives you a clear insight into how visitors use your site, what sources they are coming from, and how you can get them to the website. When you receive traffic to your community, Google Analytics can act as yet another source of the signal that your community is active.
People view link building, as an SEO tool to increase ranking, but it’s also a good way to get your site indexed faster. Backlinks (also known as inbound links) are the incoming links that refer from other pages on the web to your own web pages. These are considered as votes by search engine crawlers.
The more links that point to your community, the more weightage your community will have in search results. A positive inbound link from one or various authoritative websites gets the attention of Google algorithms. Google sees pages with high-quality links as more important, they’re likely to crawl—and re-crawl—such pages faster than those without. That ultimately leads to faster indexing.
Successful backlinking takes time, but it is well worth it.
Even after following the above steps, if your community still isn’t indexed, your pages may have a noindex tag.
"Noindex" is a meta tag that can be added to the HTML code of a web page, which instructs Google crawlers not to index a specific page to ensure it doesn’t show up in SERPs.
Typically, people use this “noindex” directive to prevent content from being indexed that is not intended for search engines.
Issues occur if the tag is placed incorrectly. The accidental inclusion of a “no-index” tag or directive on a valuable page can cause issues in indexing.
You can check if your valuable community pages have the no-index tag. If yes, just remove the tag and wait for the result.
Having an online presence is great, but only if you are seen. The best way to have users find you is to be indexed by Google so that you can start ranking well.
Recapitulating here that ultimately, the search engines would consider fine, distinctive and latest content for the indexing of the pages. You need to assure that your community should convey pertinent information and enriches your audiences.