Submitting Your Website to Search Engines (When You Should Do It And How)

Getting indexed on Google and other search engines is one of the most effective ways of getting free traffic to your website. But you may be wondering:

How do I submit my website to search engines?

The short answer is: it depends on the search engine. The longer answer is that there are specific steps to follow for each.

But first:

Do I Need to Submit My Website to Search Engines?
Yes and no.

Search engines were not designed to rely on manual submissions. It’s just not efficient. That’s why their bots crawl the web to find websites to index.

In case you haven’t heard the term before: crawling is when search engines look for new links on websites and then “follow” these links. If a link leads to something useful (e.g. a useful website), that page is then indexed.

This means search engines are pretty good at finding new websites on their own, as long as they are linked to from somewhere on the web.

But with that being said…

Why You Should Submit Your Site to Search Engines
Here are a few reasons why you should manually submit your website to search engines:

Peace of mind – When it comes to SEO, it’s better to be safe than sorry. For how quick manually submitting your site is, it’s worth doing it.
Tell search engines about your site directly – Submitting your site via the methods below allows you to tell Google (and others) important information about your site, mostly about content updates and important changes.
It’s an easy improvement opportunity – By submitting your site you get access to various tools that can help improve your website. In addition, you can inform them that the content is now been updated and requires to be crawled again.
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Submitting Websites to Search Engines: Getting Started
Before you get started submitting your site to search engines, here are a few things you’ll need. First, you’ll need to be able to access and edit your website.

Backend access is not necessary to submit a website to search engines, but it may be helpful if you need to add things later down the line.

For example:

If the website doesn’t have a sitemap.
If website needs a robot.txt file.
If there’s no Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools implemented.
With access to a site, it makes being able to add them in a lot easier.

These are key requirements for getting a site indexed. In fact, having a correct setup sitemap is one of the most important things you can do to help your site get picked up by search engines.

Don’t forget that having access to the two main search engines toolsets is needed too:

Google Search Console
Before submitting your website to Google, you’ll need to set up Search Console and verify website ownership.

To verify your website, copy the DNS TXT record and add it to your domain name provider in order to verify domain ownership.

How to verify domain ownership using DNS records
How to verify domain ownership using DNS records
Verifying your site with the DNS record is the recommended method as you can leave the DNS record forever and it doesn’t add extra code to your site.

If you don’t want to (or can’t) verify your domain this way don’t worry, there are alternative ways to verify your account.

Bing Webmaster Tools
Bing makes setting up Webmaster Tools very easy. If you’ve got Search Console setup already, you can actually just import your sites.

Once you’ve signed up, just hit the Import button:

Import Search Console settings into Bing
This is an easy way to get your site into Bing Webmaster Tools.

So now you’ve got everything you need setup, it’s time to start submitting your site to all the major search engines.

Let’s start with Google.

How Do I Submit My Website to Google?
It’s pretty easy to submit websites to Google.

In fact, the only way to submit your website is by adding your sitemap to Google Search Console.

Here’s how:

1. Locate Your XML Sitemap
A sitemap is an XML file that lists all the pages on a website.

It can usually be found by going to:

If you are using WordPress to power your site and are using the Yoast SEO plugin, your sitemap will look like this:

Kinsta's sitemap
Once you’ve found your sitemap, you can move on to the next step:

2. Add Your Sitemap to Google Search Console
Open up Google Search Console and, under Index, select sitemaps.

Now, all you need to do is paste in your sitemap URL and hit submit:

Add a sitemap to Google Search Console
If you have multiple sitemaps, just repeat this process until all your sitemaps are listed in the submitted section.

You will need to have added and verified your site to GSC in order to do this.

If you need more in-depth steps, we have a Search Console guide that will walk you through everything you need to know. Likewise, we also have this guide on how to submit a site to Google News if you want your site to appear there.

Quick Note About Submitting Your Site to Google News
Google News’ content policies
Publishers no longer need to submit their site to be eligible for the Google News app and website. Specifically, according to Barry Adams:

Publishers are automatically considered for Top stories or the News tab of Search.

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3. Submit a Page URL to Google
What if you just want to submit an individual page to Google though? This is pretty simple too.

In Search Console, go to URL inspection and paste in your page URL you want to index.

If the page isn’t indexed, you’ll see that GSC says ‘URL is not on Google’. To get it crawled, just click on Request Indexing:

Use URL inspection to request indexing
If the page is indexed, you’ll see ‘URL is on Google’:

Indexed page in Search Console
If you’ve recently updated content and want Google to recrawl the page, you can click on ‘Request Indexing’ to index those page changes.

How to Check If Your Page Is on Google?
To see if your site has been successfully submitted and indexed, just search your web address on Google. If Google has crawled and indexed your site, it will show up in the search results.

You can try copying a paragraph or two of text from your site and searching for that in “quotation marks”. If your page is on Google, it should come up.

Another way you could use is the search operator command “site:” in Google. Just type:

How to perform a site search in Google
Google will know only show results from the domain you’ve entered. You can use the site search operator on the homepage or internal pages of your site.

How Do I Submit My Website to Yahoo?
Ok so this is the easiest one. To get your website to show up on Yahoo… you submit your site to Bing.

That wasn’t a mistype. Submitting your website to Bing automatically submits it to Yahoo also.

So you might as well go to the next section to get your site listed on Bing:

How Do I Submit My Website to Bing?
First, you need to go to Bing Webmaster Tools. You’ll need to make sure you have set it up for your site. If you need help, here’s our handy Bing WMT guide.

Just like Search Console, submitting your sitemap in Bing is simple. Just choose ‘Sitemaps’ from the menu, paste in your sitemap URL and hit Submit.

Submit XML sitemaps in Bing Webmaster Tools
Not only will this submit your site to Bing, but also to Yahoo (as they are both powered by Bings Index).

Bing URL Submissions Plugin
If your site is powered by WordPress, there’s an easier way for you to submit your content to Bing using their Bing URL Submissions plugin.

Bing URL Submissions WordPress Plugin
Free to use and easy to activate, the plugin will automatically submit your new or updated content directly to Bing’s search index after you’ve added your API key:

Activating the Bing URL Submissions WordPress Plugin
There are a few features you can play around with, such as:

  • The automatic submission feature you can toggle on and off, based on your needs.
  • Manual URL submission.
  • View recent URLs submitted through the plugin, which can be also downloaded as a handy list to keep track of.
  • The possibility to re-submit recent URLs.
  • How Do I Submit My Website to DuckDuckGo?
  • The short answer here is: you don’t.

DuckDuckGo automatically indexes the web, so you don’t need to manually submit your website to them.

In fact, it uses over 400 sources and Bing’s search results, so if you’ve followed the previous steps to submit to Bing (and Yahoo), you did all you needed to speed up indexing for your site on DuckDuckGo.

Avoid Submission Services
Getting your website listed on Google, Bing or Yahoo is free, so you should not be paying a submission service to get you listed.

Signing up for a search engine submission service is pointless. And if you are unlucky, you’ll be bombarded with spammy emails trying to sell your low-quality SEO services.

The search engines that matter provide useful resources to help as well as documented methods of getting a site submitted and successfully indexed on Google, Yahoo, and Bing anyway. You don’t need services to do this.

Additional Search Engine Submission Resources
Most search engines have specific ways of submitting web pages to their index. Here are links to the official pages for submitting your site to search engines:

Google and other search engines will eventually be able to find your website, even if you don’t submit it to them manually.

Nevertheless, submitting your site using a sitemap is highly suggested and if you don’t have one properly set up, it’s worth doing it. Why? It gives search engines additional information about your site, and in return, you get extra indexing data about your site (maybe even sitelinks).

Submitting a site to search engines has enormous value for signaling search engines about content updates and changes. Forcing a new crawl allows you to speed up the process to rank for your newly-added keywords instead of the old ones, which aren’t relevant anymore.

As SEO it’s an ever-changing field, getting your site and pages indexed is the bare minimum. If you want to grow your traffic, there’s much more that needs to be done (here’s an SEO checklist to start from) but you’re on the right track now.

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