Fundamentals of Google Indexing

How does Google Search work, and how do you get all your pages indexed, possibly on the first page of Google Results? You’ll find out that in this article. In the text, you’ll discover low-hanging fruits when it comes to indexing, improvements that are so easy to do that it’ll feel wrong.

If you’re entirely new to this subject, read about the basics below. Or scroll down to the more advanced stuff.

What is Indexing?

Indexing in the context of Search Engines is a vital process in which the search engine collects, parses, and stores data to deliver answers to search queries. When a search engine like Google indexes a webpage, it performs the following steps:

  • Crawling: This is the first step where search engines use bots, often named “spiders” or “crawlers”, to discover publicly available webpages. Crawlers visit these web pages and use the links on them to locate additional pages. Read here How Google Crawls and Indexes Web Pages.
  • Processing and Storing Information: Once a page is crawled, the search engine processes and analyzes the page’s content. It examines the text, images, videos, and any other relevant content to understand what the page is about. This information is then organized and stored in an extensive database known as an index.
  • Indexing Content: The collected data is indexed, meaning it’s organized in a way that makes it quick and efficient for the search engine to retrieve. This includes analyzing the relevance and quality of the content and understanding various attributes like keywords, page layout, usability, and other SEO factors.
  • Ranking: When a user performs a search, Google digs into this index to retrieve relevant web pages. It uses various algorithms to rank these pages based on keyword relevance, site authority, user experience, and more.
  • Serving Results: Finally, the most relevant and high-quality web pages are displayed in the search results for the user’s query.

Indexing aims to optimize the speed and performance of search query processing. When a user searches, the search engine sifts through its indexed data to provide the most relevant and valuable results. Therefore, for a webpage to appear in search results, it must first be indexed by a search engine.

How Google Indexes Web Pages?

Google uses a process called crawling to discover publicly available web pages. Crawling is performed by Google’s automated robots, commonly known as Googlebots. These bots start with a list of webpage URLs generated from previous crawl processes and enhanced by sitemap data provided by webmasters. As they visit these websites, they use links on those sites to discover other pages.

The process of indexing starts after a page is crawled. Googlebot processes each page it crawls to compile a massive index of all the words it sees and their location on each page. Additionally, it processes information included in key content tags and attributes, such as Title tags, Meta tags, OG tags, and ALT attributes.

Read here in detail about How Google Crawls and Indexes Web Pages.

Facts about Googlebots

  1. Googlebot typically accesses a site once every few seconds, but short-term rates may appear higher due to delays.
  2. Designed for scalability and efficiency, Googlebot operates across thousands of machines, often near the sites it crawls, leading to log entries from multiple IP addresses with the same user agent.
  3. While Googlebot mainly crawls from IP addresses in the United States, it may use IPs from other countries if a site blocks US requests, and the list of IP blocks used by Googlebot is available in JSON format.
  4. Googlebot crawls using HTTP/1.1 and HTTP/2, with no ranking advantage for either; sites can opt out of HTTP/2 crawling to save resources or by contacting the Googlebot team as a temporary solution.
  5. Googlebot crawls and indexes only the first 15MB of an HTML or text-based file, fetching resources like CSS and JavaScript separately, with the same size limit applying to each.

The Role of Robots.txt in Controlling Google Bot

Robots.txt is a text file webmasters create to instruct robots (typically search engine robots) on how to crawl and index pages on their website. This file is part of the the Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP).

A robots.txt file can:

  • Prevent search engines from indexing certain content on your site.
  • Specify the location of the sitemap.
  • Control the crawl traffic to ensure servers are not overloaded.

It’s important to use robots.txt wisely. Improper use can prevent Googlebot from indexing your site’s content fully, impacting your site’s visibility in Google’s search results.

Read in detail about robots.txt at Robots.txt File in the Indexing Process: An Essential Guide for Webmasters.

Understanding Sitemaps and Their Importance in Indexing

A sitemap is an XML file that lists the URLs for a site. It allows webmasters to include additional information about each URL, such as when it was last updated, how often it changes, and how important it is in relation to other URLs on the site. This helps search engines to crawl the site more intelligently.

Sitemaps are essential for:

  • Large websites: Ensures that Google discovers all pages, including the ones that might not be discovered through the normal crawling process.
  • New websites: Helps in faster discovery and indexing of pages.
  • Websites with rich media content: Provides Google with metadata about the specific type of content on your site.

Read the full guide on Sitemaps at Understanding Sitemaps and Their Importance in Indexing: A Guide for Better SEO Visibility.

Google Indexing Time

The time it takes for Google to index a webpage can vary significantly. It depends on factors like the site’s popularity, site structure, and the freshness of the content. Generally, popular websites get indexed faster due to more frequent crawls.

New websites or pages might not be immediately discoverable by Google. It could take a few days to a few weeks for a new site or page to be indexed. To expedite the process, website owners can use the URL Inspection tool in Google Search Console to request indexing.

You can use Jetindexer a Google Indexing App to automatically in real-time update Google Index with your new pages.

In conclusion, understanding the basics of how Google crawls, indexes, and processes web pages is foundational to any SEO strategy. By effectively using tools like robots.txt and sitemaps, webmasters can better guide Googlebots and influence the indexing process. While indexing times can vary, ensuring your website is crawlable and has high-quality content can lead to more efficient indexing by Google.