- It's important to understand how search engines discover new content on the web. As well as how they interpret the locations of these pages. One way that search engines identify new content is by following links. Much like you and I will click through links to go from one page to the next. Search engines do the exact same thing to find an indexed content. Only they click on every link they can find. If you want to make sure that search engines pick up on your new content, one of the easiest and most important things that you can do is make sure that you have links pointing to it.
One great way to do this is to create an HTML sitemap. Link to from the footer of every page of your website that mirrors the exact structure of your site with links to all of your important content. Another way for search engines to discover new content, is from an XML sitemap. XML stands for extensible markup language. And it's a different type of meta language that like HTML is used to share data on the web. Unlike the HTML sitemap, which is a list of links on a webpage.
An XML sitemap is a listing of your site's content in a special format that search engines can easily read through. You or your webmaster can learn more about the specific syntax and how to create XML sitemaps by visiting sitemaps.org. Once you've generated your HTML and XML sitemaps, you can submit them directly to the search engines and this gives you one more way to let them know when you add or change things on your site. Another important thing to recognize is that while search engines will always try to crawl your links for as much additional content as they can find, you may not always want this.
There can be times when you might have pages on your site that you don't want search engines to find. Think of test pages or members only areas of your site that you don't want showing up on search engine results pages. To control how search engines crawl through your website, you can set rules in what's called a robots.txt file. This is a file that you or your webmaster can create in the main root folder of your site. And when search engines see it, they'll read it and follow those rules that you've set.
Robots.txt blocks can help control bandwidth stream and make your site more crawlable. Helping to more readily surface important pages. But there's a downside, as well. A robots.txt block will not stop a page from being indexed or ranked. To stop pages from showing up in search engine results entirely, a noindex meta tag is preferred to a robots.txt block. Which method you use really comes down to why you need it. To control how easily a site is crawled, use the robots.txt file.
To ensure that pages are never returned in search results, use the noindex meta tag. And if you use the noindex meta tag method, be sure you don't also block the page in the robots.txt or the tag will never be found. With a robots.txt file, you can set rules that are specific to different browsers and search engine crawlers. And you can specify which areas of your website they can and can't see. This can get a bit technical. And you can learn more about creating robots.txt rules by visiting robotstxt.org.
Again, once search engines discover your content, they'll index it by URL. Which stands for uniform resource locator. As the name implies, URLs are the locations of webpages on the internet. It's important that each page on your site has a single, unique URL, so that search engines can differentiate that page from all the others. And the structure of this URL can also help them understand the structure of your entire website. There are lots of ways that search engines can find your pages.
And while you can't control how the crawlers actually do their job. By creating links for them to follow, unique and structured URLs, sitemaps for them to read, meta tags to inform them and robots.txt files to guide them. You'll be doing everything you can to get your pages in the index as fast as possible.
- Define search engine optimization.
- Explore the fundamentals of reading search engine results pages.
- Examine the essentials of understanding keyword attributes.
- Break down the steps for optimizing the non-text components of a webpage.
- Recognize how search engines index context.
- Explore an overview of long-term content planning strategies and how they can help keep content on your site fresh.
- Define your website’s audience, topics, angle, and style when mapping out your long-term content.
- Identify the steps to take when building internal links within your website.
- Recognize how to analyze links in order to measure SEO effectiveness.
- Break down the necessary components for understanding local SEO.