Major search engines have automated applications that scan the entire internet 24 hours a day, looking for new websites and content, to add to their catalog of search results. The process can take anywhere from 3-6 months for new websites on the internet to be cataloged for inclusion. Additionally, new pages of content, such as news stories, new products for sale, changes to existing content, or price changes to existing products, can also take months to naturally filter into the databases of places like Google, Yahoo and MSN.
One way businesses, and anyone looking for online exposure for their websites, can avoid the sometimes long wait to filter into search results, is to create a sitemap of your website, and update it regularly (Sitemap defined).
Sitemaps speed the time it takes for new and updated content to be indexed properly by search engines.
Google, the largest search engine on the internet, offers completely free Webmaster Tools, that are easy to use, and allow you to create sitemaps, and update them on the fly, for all websites you own. Their sitemaps are industry standard, and can be accessed by other search engines as well. There is also free and paid software online for creating sitemaps for your website also. Just do a search for “sitemap tools” or “sitemap software”. But beware, some of this free software is considered Malware, and could put your website at risk, so the Google option is probably your best bet.
Before Google will allow you to create a sitemap, you will need to verify you are the owner of your website. This is easy to do if you follow their simple instructions. If you’re working with a web designer to build and maintain your site, send the code Google will give you to create a basic html page, to that designer, and they will handle the rest. NOTE: Many web designers are not aware of many optimization aspects of designing a website. Unless they bill themselves as SEO experts, or tell you point blank they will add certain features, never assume a designer will add things like sitemaps and metatags automatically. Always ask…and if they don’t, let them know what you’d like added. Most will thank you for the new knowledge.
DMOZ is another large database of websites, and still allows webmasters to manually submit their websites for inclusion into their index of sites. Major search engines also index DMOZ as well, so having your website included can’t hurt.
It’s not nearly as helpful these days to submit your website to search engines via the traditional method of adding a “profile” page, or clicking an “add site” button. What I mean is that it most likely won’t increase your rankings in searches. Because there is so much paid placement, along with the proliferation of websites out there, it’s better to focus time and energy on a strong marketing program, involving keywords, paying for search engine placement, traditional direct mail, and TV. And adding a good sitemap, that is updated regularly.