Search engines are an important source of traffic for websites, so it’s essential they know about your website so they can find and rank it.
What Is A Search Engine?
Search Engines are where you can carry out web search on the internet. The most popular search engine is Google, it’s where most people go to carry out their searches online.
Google has a global market share of approximately 92.4%, that means you need to make sure your website ranks on Google.
Some other common search engines are Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, Yandex and DuckDuckGo.
Most search engines discover websites automatically; however, when it comes to WordPress – it’s better to submit your site manually so they can find it faster. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend or are just starting your business, search engines are vital as they can drive organic, free traffic to your website (unlike paid ads), and the process is quite simple.
Here are some ways to submit your website to search engines and make sure it ranks in order to drive traffic.
Add Your Website To Google Search
Submitting your website to Google is easy and Google provides a free tool called Google Search Console (GSC) to help you add your website to its search engine. GSC also allows you to see how your website is performing in search results.
For this, you can use an existing Google account, or you can create a brand new account. If you’re running a business, it might be a good idea to create a separate Google account to separate your personal and business accounts.
Head to Google Search Console, fill in your domain under the URL Prefix section, and click Continue (we recommend using URL prefix as that method is easier to verify):
Next, you’ll see several verification options Google provides:
- HTML file
- HTML tag
- Google Analytics
- Google Tag Manager
- DNS record
We recommend going with HTML file verification as it’s the easiest method. Click the file to download it to your computer:
After you’ve downloaded the HTML file, log into your control panel and upload it to your domain’s root directory.
If you host with Skystra, you’d log into cPanel and head to the File Manager.
If you’re verifying your primary domain name on your hosting account, go to the public_html directory, and if it’s a subsite – go to the subdirectory folder of the website you want to verify inside of public_html.
Click Upload in the top menu, click Select File and upload the Google HTML file:
The File Manager will automatically upload the file to the specified directory.
Head back to your Google Search Console tab, and click Verify:
Google will then verify your website, and once completed, you will see a Ownership verified message:
Keep the verification file in your public_html directory to make sure Google keeps ownership of your website verified on Google Search Console and its search engine.
Generate An XML Sitemap
Next, we need to create an XML sitemap of our website to help search engines discover our site’s content faster and display it in their search results.
What Is An XML Sitemap?
An XML sitemap essentially contains all content from a website (posts, pages, etc.) in an XML file so search engines can easily find and process it.
WordPress automatically generates sitemaps now and you can get one easily for your website using a plugin.
We already explained how to create a sitemap of your website using the Google XML Sitemaps plugin in this article, and here we’ll use the free version of the All in One SEO plugin.
The All in One SEO plugin is a comprehensive WordPress SEO tool and allows you to customize your sitemap and provides other useful SEO features.
All in one SEO
Log in to your WordPress Dashboard, head to Plugins > Add New, fill in All in one SEO in the top-right search bar, and click Install Now:
Once installed, click Activate to activate the plugin:
Once activated, All in One SEO will automatically generate the sitemap of your website. Head to All in One SEO > Sitemaps, and click Open Sitemap:
Here you’ll see a list of all sitemaps (sitemap index) All in One SEO plugin created for your website:
We see multiple sitemaps (instead of a single sitemap) because it’s better to split up large sitemaps, so search engines can digest them easier. Having different sitemaps for different content allows sitemaps to load faster, and it’s more manageable as your website grows.
If you click on any of the links on that page, you’ll see the content listed in each sitemap:
Make sure to keep the tab with your sitemap index open as we need it for the next step.
Submit An XML Sitemap To Google Search Console
Log in to your Google Search Console and click Sitemaps under the Index section on the left:
GSC prefills your domain name, you can simply type in sitemap.xml into the text field and click the Submit button:
If everything was done correctly, you’ll see a Sitemap submitted successfully message, and your sitemap will show in the list of submitted sitemaps:
Submit Your Website To Other Search Engines
Google is the #1 search engine on the web with over 90% of market share; however, submitting your website to other search engines is equally important as they can be a large source of traffic to your website.
To submit the website to Bing, we need to create an account for Bing Webmaster Tools. Click the Sign In button in the top right corner and sign in with your Microsoft, Facebook, or Google account.
Since we already previously verified our site with the Google Search Console, we can use the automated import tool on the page’s left side.
Click Import to proceed further:
Log in to your Google account, and Bing will show a list of websites it can import:
You should see the website we previously submitted to GSC in the list. Make sure it’s selected, and click Import.
Once completed, you should see a success message:
Log in to Bing Webmaster Tools, click Sitemaps on the left, and click Submit sitemap:
Next, fill in your domain with the /sitemap.xml suffix, for example:
and click Submit:
Once again, you’ll see a success message, and the sitemap will appear in the list of sitemaps in Bing:
Bing will automatically submit your website to Yahoo, and since DuckDuckGo uses Bing’s search results – it will be automatically indexed on DuckDuckGo as well.
Check If Your Website Is Indexed
To check if search engines have indexed your website, go to any search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo), and fill in site:yourdomain.com in the search box. For example:
If your website has been indexed, you will see a list of content, and your homepage will be at the top of search results.
Please note that it could take days or weeks for search engines to show your website, and unfortunately, you can’t force Google or any other search engine to speed up the process.
Building valuable SEO and ranking on search engines can take years. You have to be patient and persistent above all else.
That said, you should start seeing some of your website pages rank after a couple weeks and following the steps in this guide.
If your website is not showing in search engines, check that your WordPress is not set up to block them. Log in to your WordPress Dashboard and head to Settings > Reading, and ensure that the Search engine visibility option is not selected:
Lastly, please don’t fall for the website submission services, as they charge you a premium fee to do something you can do yourself, for free using the steps in this guide or any other resources available to you online.