What’s the deal? Is Google taking a long time to index your WordPress site? I’m battling this situation with my site here and I am on a mission to solve the problem. What’s interesting is that I have another WordPress site that was setup at the same time, with the same theme, and even the same plugins. The only difference is the content, and that site is fully indexed!
I now have an objective to find out why. I am not an SEO expert by any means but after doing some research, here are a few simple steps I am taking to see if I can speed up the indexing process. After all, isn’t the real reason we create websites is to have our content seen by others?
You need to make sure your WordPress privacy setting is set to allow search engines to crawl your pages. To do this you will need to log into your WordPress dashboard. Head over to ‘settings’, then select ‘reading’. Make sure the box for ‘discourage search engines from indexing this site’ is unmarked. I am currently using the new 3.5 version of WordPress. If you are using an earlier version, this option is found under ‘privacy’ in the settings section.
Now that we know WordPress is not blocking search engine spiders, its time to make it easier for those spiders to crawl your site. To achieve this you will need to create a sitemap for your website. The easiest way I have found to do this is using a plugin called ‘Google Sitemap XML’. You can install this by navigating to the plugin section and click ‘add new’.
Search for the plugin name ‘Google Sitemap XML‘ then install and activate from that screen. Using this plugin will generate a sitemap in the root directory of your site, which basically draws a map for the search engine spiders to follow. It gives directions to the pages contained in your website. I immediately found a few of my pages on Google searches the very next morning after using this plugin. Unfortunately not all of my pages were indexed, but we are off to a great start.
The first two steps are the bare minimum activities to get your site indexed by Google. This third step will allow you to dive deeper into the analysis of your website. It’s completely free to use and brought to you by, none other than, Google themselves. Using Google’s Webmaster Tools will give you critical information to analyze the health and performance of your website.
Create an account with Google Webmaster Tools and add your site to the database. You will need to verify ownership of your website before you can retrieve any real data. The easiest method for me was to upload a simple html file to the root directory of your website. Google will attempt to scan your directory for the html file then grant you permission to use their toolkit when the file is found. Google also provides alternative methods to verify your site.
Within the tool kit, there are many analysis options you can choose from, but I will not go into those for this article. What I want to focus on is how to submit the sitemap you created to Google Webmaster Tools. Head over to ‘optimization’ then ‘sitemap, and submit the location of your sitemap for your WordPress site. The sitemap should be located in the root directory as mentioned before. For example, “fredyen.com/sitemap.xml” is the location of my sitemap on this website. Google will process your request and start indexing your WordPress site almost immediately.
I noticed that my entire website was indexed the very next day after submitting my sitemap. You can verify this by searching ‘site:yourwebsite’ in Google. Take my site for example and search for “site:fredyen.com” in Google. You should see every page contained within my website.
Well that’s it, you are done! Get ready to see your site traffic increase and your content seen. So if you think Google is taking a long time to index your WordPress site, follow these simple steps to give Google a nudge in the right direction.