Published 15.05.2021 by Schmitt Trading Ltd.
Search engines were designed to understand, discover, and organize the internet’s content in order to provide the best search results to search queries made by searchers. Not all domain owners know whether their site’s pages have been discovered by search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, etc.); many don’t even know how to make a quick check.
Before a domain’s pages can show up in any search engine’s results, its content has to be first be discovered, interpreted, and recorded, or indexed by search engines. If your domain or site can’t be found by search engines, then it won’t be possible for its pages to show up on any search engine results pages (SERPs).
This article discusses how search engines gather information from across the internet by the process of “crawling”, and how you can find out whether your domain’s pages are in a search engine’s index. Before we go there, let’s first discuss how search engines work by crawling on domains before relevant pages can be found, indexed, and recorded.
How Search Engines work by Crawling
Crawling is a process whereby search engines continuously use robots called spiders and crawlers to access URLs or links and discover new and updated content in any format (Word documents, PDFs, videos, web pages, images, etc.) on the internet.
For instance, Google, which is the most widely used search engine, uses its Googlebot or web crawler to gather few of a domain’s web pages and follows the path of the web pages’ URLs to discover new URLs; by generally utilizing the path of the URL’s or links, the Googlebot crawler is able to discover new content and supply it to its index called “Caffeine” which is a gigantic database of discovered URLs.
When searchers seek for information on Google, it is from Caffeine that Google selects the information that is the best match and displays it on its search engine page results.
Three Main Functions of Search Engines
Generally, search engines work by doing three major functions: (1) crawling, (2) indexing, and (3) content or page ranking. During crawling, each search engine hovers around the internet to interpret and find content or domain pages associated which each URL that can be accessed.
During indexing, search engines organize and record or save content discovered during crawling. During content or page ranking, search engines provide search results to queries made by searchers, and arrange content from the most relevant content at the top, downwards to the least relevant content on the next and bottom search engine result pages.
When anyone searches for a keyword or keywords on a search engine, the search engine hovers over its index for highly relevant content and orders them from the most relevant to the least relevant on its results pages, with the aim of providing information or solutions to each query.
The ordering of search results from the most relevant to least relevant is known as “ranking”. It can be rightly assumed that the more a search engine perceives that a domain’s content is relevant to a query, the more the search engine would rank it higher on its results pages.
To find out if a search engine has your domain’s pages, go to its search box and type “site:yourdomain”, and click “search”
Your domain or site has to be crawled and indexed by a search engine before its content can show up in the search engine’s results pages (SERPs). It would be a good idea to find out how many of your domain’s pages have been crawled and indexed by a search engine; the results would confirm whether the search has indexed your domain’s pages and has been discovering new pages on your site whenever you publish content.
To find out if your domain’s pages have been indexed by a search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.), go to the search engine’s search box and type “site:yourdomain”, and the search engine will either provide results or not provide any results; either way, it would confirm whether or not it has indexed your site. Figure 1 below shows the Google search results for “site:schmitt-trading.com”, while figures 2 and 3 show the Bing and Yahoo search results for “site:motivationenvironment.com”
Figure 1: Google search results for “site:schmitt-trading.com”
Figure 2: Bing search results for “site:motivationenvironment.com”
Figure 3: Yahoo search results for “site:motivationenvironment.com”
The number of results shown by a search engine gives an idea of a domain or site’s pages that have been crawled and indexed, and how they are showing up at the moment in search results. To get more accurate results, use the Index Coverage report in Google Search Console. You can sign up for free on Google Search Console, and also submit your site to Yahoo and Bing respectively.
If your domain’s pages are not showing up in a search engine’s search results pages, then it could be because of any of the following reasons:
1. Your domain is new and hasn’t been crawled and indexed by the search engine.
2. There are no other websites that have linked to any of your domain’s pages.
3. Your domain makes it difficult for a search engine’s robot to crawl it effectively.
4. Search engines have detected some basic code or crawler directives that have been blocking search engines from crawling on your domain.
5. Google has penalized your domain for using spammy tactics.
If you want your domain’s pages or content to be discovered by search engines, ensure that your domain’s content is accessible to search engines’ crawlers, and can be indexed, otherwise, it will remain invisible. Note: you can submit your domain to Google Search Console, and also to Yahoo and Bing respectively.