When Google Webmaster recently announced their new submission tool for new or updated URLs, I immediately had several clients email me. Yay! We can submit URLs directly via Webmaster Tools now!
Of course, this is very cool, but for the majority of my clients, their sites were already being indexed healthily via the normal website spidering and XML sitemap process.
So – just when IS it a good idea to use this tool? Whenever your page content or URL structure changes. Substantially. If you tend to add a page every day, I guess you could technically use this tool to submit a new page every day, but there are a few important things to keep in mind here:
1.You can only submit 50 Individual URLs per week
So if you add tons of content on a daily basis, you need to also be sure that you update your XML sitemap on a daily basis and likewise publicize this content online and through social media channels.
2. You can only submit 10 URLs with Linked Pages per month
How is a URL with a Linked Pages different from an Individual URL? It’s basically telling Google to spider that URL, plus all URLs linked to from it. So if you updated an entire directory on your website, it could find all those other new URLs too.
3. This tool is *secondary* to the spidering process.
It should never replace it, nor should your XML sitemap. Your own internal linking structure will always be much more important than than any “tool” or “map” of pages you try to push on Google. If you don’t have a smart linking structure, you can submit URLs all you like but they still won’t ever actually get indexed.
Recently, we had a client launch a new website – so this was the perfect opportunity to use this new tool. As you know, I love screenshots, so here’s quick guide on how to submit URLs. Once you are logged into Webmaster Tools, head on over to Diagnostics -> Fetch as Googlebot. From this screen, you can add the URL that you’d like to submit:
If all is well, the next thing you should see is a notification that Google successfully fetched the URL. From there, you can click on “Submit to Index”.
In the case of my client below, I am submitting their new /about-us/ page. After I click “Submit to Index”, I have the option of just submitting this one page, or all linked URLs. I want to actually submit all Linked URLs, because they just redesigned the site, and I want Google to find new pages now contained inside their /about-us directory.
With this particular client, we submitted new URLs via Webmaster Tools as well as an updated XML sitemap. Within the first 24 hours they were already getting URLs from the new site indexed. SUCCESS!
Written by Sarah Mackenzie.