Hi Voice Users,
I've put live some updates to content searching, both within Voice itself (i.e, when using the Site Search of your website), and also with regards to Search Engines (i.e., Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo et al).
The internal search engine for Voice sites now includes more content. In particular, we now index text content in includelets as well as the main body text of a CMS page.
Also, calendar items also include the event date and all the extra data (such as location, cost, etc) in the search index, as well as all recurrences of events.
Go ahead and try it now on your site, and you should find that the search results are more comprehensive and useful!
Search Engine Submission
This is a totally new thing which should mean that your content is indexed on search engines much more quickly and thoroughly.
Voice now provides a sitemap XML file which is automatically read by search engines, and contains the URL of every piece of "proper" content on your website. i.e., CMS pages, blog/noticeboard posts, calendar entries, photos etc. (though not the index pages, such as the list/grid of calendar events)
This means that search engines will quickly find all relevant content on a site without having to crawl lots of potentially uninteresting pages to find it (such as the blog archives or going forwards/backwards through calendar months).
These sitemap XML files are automatically detected by search engines, as they're listed in the robots.txt file. Most search engines read the sitemap daily to find new content.
Furthermore, whenever new content is added to a site, Voice will inform the search engines about it straight away. This uses the IndexNow protocol for those search engines that support it, and by "pinging" the sitemap to those that don't.
In some cases I've found that content gets into the search engines in just a few minutes, but it can take a day or two. (Bing tends to be quicker than Google at adding content because it supports IndexNow.)
Edit: After adding this forum post, I was able to find it in the Bing index within 10 minutes.
Search Engine Ranking
Although Voice does its best to get content discovered by search engines quickly and easily, we have no control over whether they actually index the content, nor how well the content will rank in search queries.
Generally, the best way to get up the search rankings is by providing regularly updated and relevant content.
And now, you can do so in the knowledge that the search engines will know about your new content within just a few minutes of you adding it!