A lot of people ask me how to get your new WordPress Website or blog found by Google
After all, you have gone to the trouble of creating your new baby, now you want the world, and Google to know, right?
Well, the simple answer is this:
You have to tell Google where your site is and what pages you have on it
Google will not necessarily just find your website. So if you don’t tell them, your pages might not appear in search results.
There are a new things you need to do, including
- telling the search engines your site exists
- telling them what content that is on it (via an XML Sitemap).
It is a little more complex than that, so I have outlined the steps you need to take below.
If you follow these steps after creating your new site, it will be found by the search engines and you will slowly get some traffic from them for free! Can’t beat that.
On the right is a step by step infographic guide to what you need to do. The steps are explained in detail below and I recommend that you read them.
If you want to share it with your audience in grab the embed code below and just paste it into either the "text" tab of the WordPress editor or the HTML of your page.
If you would like to share this on Pinterest, just hit the pin button at the top or bottom of the post.
** COPY the above code onto your website to use this infographic! **
1. Create a Sitemap on WordPress
To help the search engines know what pages are on your website, and when you have new content, you need to create an XML Sitemap.
Without confusing you with all the tech talk, I will show you how to do that with one simple WordPress plugin.
The plugin is called Google XML Sitemaps and its job is to create the XML Sitemap and inform the search engines when you have new content.
1. Go ahead and install this plugin, and come back when you have done that.
2. Now go to the Settings menu in WordPress and choose XML-Sitemap
3. Then you will see at the top of the screen that the sitemap has not been created yet, so you need to:
http://yoursite.com/sitemap.xml (replace yoursite.com with your actual site address – include www if you have it)
You need to copy this URL somewhere, because we will need it later on.
Note: If you have WordPress SEO Plugin, this also creates XML Sitemaps, but I personally have had issues with it in the past. But you can use that one if you want.
2. Submit Your Website to Search Engines
Now that you have a sitemap for your website (or blog) you first need to tell the search engines that your site exists.
Submitting Your Site to Google
Let’s start with Google.
1. Go ahead and create a Google account if you do not already have one. (if you have a Gmail account or Google+, then you can use that same login)
You can do this anywhere in Google, but you might as well start at Google Webmaster Tools/Search Consoles as we are heading there next anyway.
By the way: if you have not connected your website yet, learn how in the video or keep reading in step 2 below.
2. Head to Google Webmaster Tools and login (or create an account)
- a. Add a html file to your site
- b. Add a meta tag to the header of your site
What you need to do for each I have written below:
If you are technical, either of these is quite straight forward:
- a. login in to your hosting and copy the html file from google to your www directory
- b. copy the meta tag to your page header
- You can do this in wordpress via the Appearance -> Editor menu
- On the right, find and click on header.php
- Then add the meta tag anywhere between
If you are NOT technical, there is an alternative
- Install the either the Yoast or All in One SEO plugin
- Go to the SEO -> Dashboard and there is a field there where you can paste the Meta Tag for Google (This is a great shortcut)
Add Your Website to Bing
Adding your site to Bing is the same as adding it to Google
1. Create a Bing Account and login to Webmaster Tools
2. Go to Add a Site in the menu
3. Add Your Site URL
4. Now you need to verify your site via a file or meta tag.
Refer to Step 4 above in “Add your site to Google” where I have given the alternatives and methods available to do this
3. Submit Your XML Sitemap to Search Engines
The next thing you want to do is submit the xml sitemap we created earlier to the two search engines.
Add Your Sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools
Adding your sitemap, once you have registered your website with Google, is quite easy.
If it does not appear as a link on your homepage, go to the following page (Crawl -> Sitemaps) and click the Add/Test Sitemap ButtonBy giving Google the link (http://yoursite.com/sitemap.xml) to your sitemap and testing it is valid, you are ensuring Google knows what pages are on your site and where the are too!
Note: If you want a detailed guide on using Google Webmaster Tools, this guide from Search Engine Land will certainly explain it all.
Add Your Sitemap to Bing Webmaster Tools
More or less the same process is followed with Bing Webmaster Tools to add your xml sitemap.
Head to Configure My Site ->Sitemaps and you will see the following field to add your sitemap URL (ie. http://yoursite.com/sitemap.xml)
3. Other Things You Can Do
There are loads of things you can do to help yourself out when you first create a website, but the following are the next steps I would recommend you follow:
- Create a Google Analytics Account and Register it also in Google Webmaster tools (helps with transfer of useful data to Analytics)
- Add your RSS Feed to Feedburner
- Create a few Social Media Accounts and add your site URL to your profile
Speeding up the Indexing of your website with Google
If you really want to speed up the indexing of your WordPress website with Google, you can install a special plugin to help you do this.
It is called WP Indexer and Tim Bonner has written a very helpful post on how and why to use this.
When you have a new website it is crucial that you inform the web search engines like Google and Bing by properly submitting your website with them.
Having a sitemap xml helps to ensure that they know what pages and posts are on your site and when you publish a new one.
So if you have not got both setup on Google and Bing, I recommend you head over there now and get it sorted.