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How long does it take to get listed in Google?

In a recent thread in an online forum webmasters discussed the question how long it takes to get listed in Google. A webmaster had submitted a web site with 15 individual pages to Google six months before and he was still not listed in Google although Googlebot visited his web site on a monthly basis.

It's normal Google behavior that a new web site is not listed in the natural (unpaid) search results for about six months. This Google practice is called the Google sandbox .

However, Google did not return any pages of this web site in its search results. Not even for obscure search terms or the company name.

Why was the website of this webmaster not listed in Google?

There were two main factors that prevented the site from showing up in Google's search results:

1. The age of the web site

Once a web site has been put into Google's sandbox, it takes six to eight months until it comes back to the normal index. It's likely that the web site of the webmaster is still in the sandbox.

2. The number and the quality of links to the web site

The webmaster admitted in the discussion that he only had a few links to his website and that these links didn't have high quality. Actually, a link popularity query on Google returned no links at all for that web site.

Yahoo showed only one backlink to the web site and the web site with the backlink was not accessible.

Google will only list a web site in its result pages if other good web sites link to it. If only a few other web sites link to your site and these web sites are of low quality, it will be difficult to make it into Google's search results.

You can find out the link popularity of your web site with this freeware link popularity check tool.

What does this mean to you and your web site?

There are three things you can do to get into Google's index:

1. Make sure that your web site is not in Google's sandbox.

As soon as you have finished your web site, submit it to Google. It takes about six to eight months to get out of Google's sandbox. The sooner you submit your site, the sooner you'll get in Google's normal search results.

2. Get high quality links from related web sites and Internet directories.

It's important that other web sites with similar content link to your site if you want to be listed in Google. A senior member in the discussion said it this way:

"Don't buy links... there's a good chance that they'll turn out to be dodgy in the long-term, and will do you more harm than good.

[...] search for sites that are similar or complimentary to your own, and send them a polite email asking if it would be possible to exchange links. Don't bother doing this unless you think your site is worth linking to.

DMOZ and Yahoo Directory listings are tremendously valuable, even though some might tell you otherwise, (usually because they couldn't get into them)."

An easy way to exchange links that way is our link popularity tool ARELIS.

3. Optimize your web pages.

It is important that your web pages are optimized for Google if you want to get high search engine rankings. Google must be able to find out what your web pages are all about.

A combination of optimized web pages and high link popularity leads to high rankings on Google. Make sure that your web site has both and you'll benefit from high rankings on Google as soon as your web site is out of Google's sandbox.

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March 2005 search engine articles