How to See if Your Site is Indexed by the Search Engines

A shocking revelation cascaded down upon me the other day. An “experienced” site manager thought you only needed to publish a website and it would be discovered by the search engines. The new website did not have an HTML sitemap or an XML sitemap. No external sites were linking to the new site and the site was not registered with either Google’s or Bing’s Webmaster Tools. There was no external promotion for the site and no Social Media blitz. It simply was published and expected to be discovered and indexed by the search engines. Never assume your point of contact for a website knows what they are doing even if you are informed they are experienced.

However, to be fair there is a chance the engines will eventually stumble upon the site by visiting domain registry sites. Long ago I purchased a domain, uploaded a test page and forgot about the site until I had to renew it 12 months later. To my surprise that one page was indexed, but since there was virtually no content it never received any search engine referral traffic, but at least the engines found it.

The site in question above however was part of a major marketing campaign for a very large gaming company. It needed to be discovered and indexed so it could generate organic referral traffic from the search engines. So how does the non-tech person know if their site is indexed asides from trusting the word of their “experienced” website manager? There is a simple search query you can enter in Google or Bing:

Google Index Operator

Now you want to see some search results which would appear like so:

Google Search Results

The search engine result page returns how many pages of my site are indexed and then lists each page. If my site had a thousand pages and only 55 were indexed then I have a problem and need to dig around to see why so many pages are not indexed.

Now you and your website are in big trouble when after entering the site: search query you receive this result:

Website Not Indexed

And if you do see this result you must immediately contact your website team and figure out what has happened. When your site is not indexed your site will not appear in the search engine result pages which means you will not get any organic search engine referral traffic. That mystery must be resolved as soon as possible.


Author: Garth O'Brien provides SEO, Social Media and Community Management consulting services. He can help boost the online presence of a small local business or global enterprise corporations in both Google and Bing.

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