The great thing about this SEO (Search Engine Optimization) question is that you can run tests of your own to verify our results. We have created and built hundreds of search engine tests to try to figure out how to get results and see results more efficiently. Our experiences are listed below in this article, and each experience is repeatable.
What Replaced Google+?
In the old days, if you had a new web page, you could post it on a semi-popular Google Plus profile, and it would be indexed within as few as two hours. Even if you submit URLs to the Google Search Console, it takes between two days and two weeks before you see any impact. Link to a page from a popular YouTube channel (YouTube being owned by Google), and it takes longer than if you submit a sitemap or URL to the Google search console.
So, what has replaced Google Plus?
The odd answer may be Facebook and you can run a few tests of your own. If you post a link to an un-indexed page on a followed Facebook profile, on a followed fan page, or into a Facebook community where you receive an additional share, then your page is indexed in as quickly as two to four days. Make sure the Facebook page is open to the public (aka, you do not need to sign in to see it).
Google may be monitoring Facebook more closely than it is letting on. Try an experiment for yourself but remember to run dry tests to see how quickly Google crawls your pages without you affecting the crawl rate.
Submitting a Sitemap to The Google Search Console
To start with, make sure you read an SEO guide on how to submit a sitemap for your website. It is easy to get wrong, and despite our own troubles submitting sitemaps, it is often easier than you think to submit a sitemap to Google.
Our results were very odd in this regard. For example, we submitted a sitemap for a Blogger blog called Reasons To Giggle. We were sure that it would be crawled and indexed quickly because it is running on the Google-owned Blogger and Blogspot system.
We later discovered that it took over 2 weeks to be crawled and indexed. What is more, only around five of its dozen web pages ranked inside of the 100,000 page result mark. We submitted using this line after the “Add/Test Sitemap” function:
We suspect that some of the website’s pages did poorly on the Google search engine results because they are a little on the short side. There is also suspicion that some posts had no easily quantifiable theme, which may have also hurt their search engine rankings.
Submitting A Second Sitemap to The Google Search Console
We submitted a sitemap from a website called, “Findoutfree.co.uk,” which is an older website with a very strong gaming-forum following. The SEO results showed it was indexed within 12 hours and its page update had also been cached.
We also submitted a sitemap from a financial news website, with 500% more online content and a smaller online following and it took three and a half days before we started to see results.
It seems that if you have numerous and different types of links from active websites, forums, social media pages, and online apps/tools, then your website is crawled more quickly when you submit a sitemap to Google.
Do We See Results from The URL Submitting Function?
This is the “Submit a URL” function at the top of the Google search engine results. We have noticed that it takes roughly the same amount of time it does to validate an error fix.
Our experience is that a submitted URL takes four working days. This is the same amount of time it takes when we have an error reported on a URL and we click the “Validate Fix” button on the Google search console.
Adding Meta Tags to Websites
The very notion of adding keyword tags and descriptive tags to websites was laughed at during the late 00s, and yet these days they are as important as ever. But, it is not because Google is using them to rank websites. Google ranks websites based on their popularity with each user, which is why your search query results may differ from that of another person who searches for the same thing.
Adding meta tags helps online tools, online software, apps, web spiders, and other websites to find and identify your web pages. This exposes your pages to more people, which makes them more popular, which help rank them up through the Bing and Google search engines.
How long does it take for your meta tags to have an SEO effect? They cannot take effect until Google and/or Bing have crawled and indexed your website unless your website is being monitored by certain web crawlers; such as how Amazon is frequently crawled by price-comparison websites.
In truth, the positive effect of meta tags can take between two weeks and years to have any effect.
Adding Alt Tags and Titles to Images
Some of our most exciting results have come through experimenting with images and Google.
Professionally sold and licensed images such as those on ShutterStock will often rank very easily on Google images and as a byproduct on Google’s primary search engine. If the image is already listed on Google thanks to the image selling company, then it will appear very quickly in the search engine results, which will help drive traffic to your website.
If you are using a picture that you copied (legally or otherwise) and that you didn’t buy from a major image seller, then your image will have very little effect on your SEO. In fact, other than improving the usability of our blog posts, we have seen less than a 5% benefit from adding images to blog posts.
However, if you take a brand new photograph, and you add a suitable title, and you add a descriptive (not too long) alt tag, and you upload it on your website, you will see it listed on the Google images search engine very highly. You may also see it listed for other keyword searches.
In short, a “good” and original image that has been correctly optimized can act as an ambassador (and traffic funnel) for your web pages. In terms of SEO investment, this is the most volatile (in a good way) method. It won’t help your web pages get to page one on Google, but it will draw traffic to your web pages and draw positive attention if it is done right.
The Obvious Conclusion is to Experiment A Little
What we didn’t expect was how much fun we would have while experimenting with SEO and how long it takes to see results. We were having ideas such as starting five new Twitter accounts and seeing if posting the same link on all five would have it indexed. We also considered starting experiments with competing websites where all meta tags on the web pages were deleted.
We encourage you to play around a little too. We are not living in an age where you can damage your website’s SEO too deeply (unless you start using black hat SEO), so we encourage you to experiment a little to see what new SEO tricks you can discover.
It is good to experiment for yourself but professional online marketeers already know what works. We offer a number of services to improve your SERPS. Create an account and get started today.