While indexing your website, a search engine will look at your site differently than we do. Your website is only URLs and content. It’s just one major bulk of information, which lacks any kind of logic or structure.

Structuring content

So the first thing a search engine will do, is try to locate some sort of structure. This will be provided by your site navigation, but you can also help it along by having a sitemap or sitemap XML file on your server.

Friendly URLs

Making sure your URLs are mainly formed by readable words, will help the indexing so much. We call these Friendly URLs, because everyone, visitor and search engine, can kind of trace what your website’s about by looking at the URL. Words you use in the URL, will also help the search engine determine the topic of your website in and weigh it in comparison to other sources it has found who speak about the same topic. (this is called “ranking”).

Most websites use scripting languages, like PHP or ASP, but these will always generate dynamic URLs, which are the opposite of Friendly. Luckily, popular packages like WordPress and many open source web shops already make sure all URLs are transformed to Friendly URLs automatically. In many cases, they’ll even allow you to change it. Use this!

Good things come with time

All pages of your site will get indexed automatically, but it can take a while. The cool thing with Google is, that you can actually check what’s already indexed of your website using the “site” command. You do this in the Google search bar; the place you always enter your searches. So, go to Google, type in “site:” followed by your URL and Google will show you which pages it knows from your website. In my case the search would like this:
You simply replace my URL with yours for your results.

Are you missing pages? Well, check if there’s anything you can do about that. Make changes and check it agan later. Use the meta tags to see if you can get a positive result. But keep in mind, there are many things that could work against you:

Multiple domain names and duplicate content

It could be a problem when you’re using more domain names for one website. The search engine could’ve found all those different URLs, but they are all leading it to the same content. It will conclude that all those sources are a copy of something else, and it will not index them. So, even in this day and age of “sharing”, you have to be original!

However, it could be that you’ve had good reasons to have more domain names running on your website. For instance, you’ve switched company names. In that case you can use a Canonical tag, which is a meta tag, to let the search engine know which domain name is leading.

Are you using one hosting account for multiple websites? Please make sure, each domain name leads to its own website. In this case, multiple domain names will not give you any trouble getting indexed.

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