You can add content to your site in two different ways: update an existing page (URL), or add content on entirely new URLs. While new content should eventually be found during the engines’ crawling cycles, you can do many things to help engines notice the new content or new URLs more quickly than they would on their own.
Getting a New Page Noticed Quickly
Like so many other terms in SEO (define), getting a page “noticed” is code for getting links to it. And as with most conversations about links, the argument for quality over quantity is never more important than it is here.
But that “quality” isn’t confined to the external links you drive to your site. Your own internal pages can vary significantly in their ability to get your new content crawled quickly. Recently, I watched an experiment as a client released new content (about 40 pages each) on two separate sites. In the first site, the “top” page of the new content was linked to a special link on the home page. In the second site, that similar “top” page of new content was linked to the HTML sitemap.
The difference in crawling times for those two new content sections was dramatic. For the first site (with the home page link), half of the new pages had been indexed within about 10 days. For the second site (with the link to new content from the sitemap), it took Google more than a month to find the link to the new content in the HTML sitemap. It will likely be three months or more before the second site accomplishes what the first site did in 10 days.
XML Sitemap Changes
One of the easiest ways to inform engines about new or updated content is by modifying your XML sitemap:
- Remember, an XML sitemap is no substitute for an efficiently designed navigation structure. Simply including a new URL in the sitemap will probably get it crawled, and may even get it indexed briefly, but a page with little or no internal linkage will probably never perform optimally.
- If you’ve added new content to an old URL, make sure that the
valuein the XML sitemap reflects the date that the URL was updated.
- If you’ve created new URLs, make sure that the
value reflects the date the URLs went live.
- Resubmit the XML sitemap through the various Webmaster tools areas, or configure your server to ping engines when the sitemap has been updated. For example, this page offers instructions about telling Google that your XML file has changed.
Crying Wolf With
One of the most pervasive myths about site crawling is that to increase the crawling frequency of your pages, all you need to do is change the
I’m not sure why you’d want to burn your bridge and use a value of “never.” It’s similarly unrealistic to go to the other extreme and pick a value that drastically overestimates how often your content actually changes.
If you look around at random sites and their XML sitemaps, it’s easy to find
Crawled, Indexed, or Both?
I recently watched a sample page closely to mark the distance between cache dates. When I started watching the page in early October, it had been cached on September 30. Its
The slight time variance between caching and indexing is interesting. For example, I mentioned that the second cache date in my prior example was November 11. However, I didn’t find that out until several days after that date. As of November 12 and 13, the text cache still had a date of September 30. It wasn’t until the 14th that the cache date had changed to the 11th, which means there was a three-day gap between Google caching the page and Google telling me it had cached it.
As with most things in SEO, the “easy” way doesn’t usually pay off. These methods won’t get your pages crawled any more frequently unless you’ve actually updated your content. And even if those methods did work, there’s no real benefit to continually re-crawling a page with unchanged content.
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