How to Train Search Engines to Visit Your Website Often

Have you ever updated your website and wondered why it takes weeks or even months for your update to be indexed on search engines? Have you wondered how you can encourage search engines to update your website changes more frequently? If you are, this article is perfect for you as you learn how to train search engines to visit your website often.

The Problem. You don’t update your website very often and when you do, it takes forever for search engines to index the change. This can be very frustrating, especially if what you added is time-sensitive.

The Process. Search engines use what I will call “search bots” – actually they’re just little computer programs that scour the Internet, looking for changes and the like. This process occurs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You may have a website that you can find via s search engine, but the information the search engine is reporting is way out of date. You can check to see just how out of date it is by clicking the “Cached” link usually found just below the website information presented by a search engine

Back to our “search bots” – if one visits your site and nothing has changed from the last time they were there, they tend to not return as often, instead shifting their indexing resources to more active websites. Your job is to give the “bots” a reason to return sooner. Here are a couple of ways to do that – update your content and add a news feed.

Update Your Content. This must sound like a no brainer, but it is so true and so important. Ideally, you can be adding content to your website as you grow your website, over time. This content should be something relevant and that a search engine would care about. If you were a piano mover, you could add content about your piano tuning process or what to look for when selecting a piano mover. If you sold wild bird food, you could add an educational page that describes that suet is and how it benefits wild birds.

Add a News Feed. There are a variety of techniques for adding news feeds to your website. The method you use must be such that a search engine sees the text as coming from your web page. These news feeds update their content on a continual basis so that, every time a “bot’ stops by your website, your website content has changed, thanks to the news feed. I once received an e-mail from a vendor, thanking me for mentioning me on their website. Actually, it was the news feed that was on my web page that mentioned the vendor. Either way, it was good for both of us.

A helpful tracking tip is to place a date/time stamp down at the bottom of your page, off the main content area. In the search engine’s cached page, the actual date/time visited will be captured. This is best done with PHP or similar coding and not JavaScript because JavaScript “executes” within the cached page result and will show you the time you are viewing the cached page, not the time the page was cached..

Regardless of the method you use, maintaining an actively changing website, in terms of relevant content, trains search engines to visit more often. If every time a “bot” visits your website, something content has changed, the “bot” will accelerate their return visit schedule. It can go from every 3 months to every month to twice a month to weekly to twice a week to almost daily.

Many news services on the Internet are visited and indexes updated multiple times a day. While you may not achieve that level of repeat visits, you can certainly improve the frequency of visits by search bots. I have tracked client websites for a long while and I know for a fact that it works. Keep your content fresh, let search engines know you have made the initial change, and they will take if from there. Best wishes for fast return visits!


Bill Golden, founder of Golden Web Design Services, has grown up with technology since the early 1980s. As the first “PC Guru” for a US Midwest Fortune 500 company, he directed a variety of corporate development initiatives over a 17 year period. Bill then managed a technical training company before starting his own consulting practice in 2001, specializing in website development, marketing, and search engine optimization. If you are interested in learning more about how Bill can ...

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