All content on Voice Online Communities websites is automatically submitted to the major search engines for indexing.
This is done in three ways:
1. Via Sitemap XML Files
Voice creates a sitemap xml file for every website, which contains the URL of every piece of "proper" content, including CMS pages, blog/noticeboard posts, forum posts, calendar entries, photos etc. This doesn't include the index pages, such as the list/grid of calendar events - just the main pieces of content themselves.
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.
It doesn't matter whether your site is using its own custom domain name or an e-voice URL. All new content will be instantly added to the appropriate sitemap file to be discovered by search engines.
The major search engines read the sitemap files daily, so typically using this method, new content is discovered by search engines within a day.
As an aside - if you want to see which URLs are discoverable in the sitemap, go to <your site url>/content-sitemap.xml in your browser.
2. Using IndexNow
IndexNow is a newish method to submit URLs directly to search engines.
Whenever new content is added, or existing content edited, Voice will inform the search engines about it straight away using IndexNow.
IndexNow is currently supported by Bing and Yandex, and thus also by other search engines that use this data, including Yahoo and DuckDuckGo.
By using IndexNow, new content on Voice sites can be found in these search engines within just a few minutes of publishing it.
You can try this yourself! Publish a new page, wait around 5-10 minutes, then search for some specific text from that page using Bing, Yahoo, or DuckDuckGo - you should find your page in the results!
3. By Pinging the Sitemap to Google
Unfortunately Google doesn't support IndexNow (though apparently they are considering doing so in the future).
To get URLs discovered quickly by Google, we "ping" the site's sitemap xml file to them whenever content is added or updated.
In this way, Google discovers new URLs much more quickly than it would do otherwise.
Unfortunately, although Google does re-read the sitemap straight away, it can still be some time before it then crawls and indexes new content. However, it should still happen within a few hours!
How to Improve Search Ranking
Of course, getting your content discovered by search engines is one thing - it's quite another to have those search engines return your page when someone does a search!
Getting to the top of the search rankings isn't straightforward - indeed it's why there's an entire industry dedicated to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)! There are lots of strategies and tricks that can be employed to boost your page's ranking.
Though, above all else, the absolute key is to provide regularly updated and relevant content.
Everything else is secondary to this. If your content is irrelevant or out of date then no number of SEO tricks will get you to the top of the search results.
Voice does its best to help your pages get to the top of the search rankings:
- Sites load quickly due to our caching technology.
- All site use https, even with a custom domain, because we automatically create a free SSL certificate for every site.
- Sites work great on mobile, tablet, and desktop devices.
- Sites have a clear menu structure and layout.
- All sites are listed in our directory.
By also submitting your content directly to search engines as soon as you add or update it, there is every chance that your pages will rank well on search engines, providing you keep it up to date and relevant!