Google has a robust process in place by which it can automatically find, crawl, and index specific web pages or whole websites, making them available to search engines. But, how can you tell when a site was first indexed by Google?
In this article, we'll briefly explain indexing, then show you how to determine when a website was first indexed.
What It Means for Google to Index a Page
A page is said to have been indexed by Google if Google's crawler has discovered the page, visited it, analyzed its content, and listed it in its database of web pages.
Whenever a user searches for something, Google combs through its database of indexed pages in search of answers that closely match the query. Once found, Google serves them up as results, ranked by relevance.
Therefore, only indexed pages can show up in search results and as featured snippets.
How to Know the Date Google First Indexed a Page or Site
According to Google, it can take anywhere from an hour up to a few weeks to have your new site indexed. Others claim that it can take up to a year, depending on how easy it is to crawl your site and the number of pages involved.
To know the date a site was first indexed, you need to verify that it has, in fact, been indexed.
1. How to Check if a Site Has Been Indexed by Google
To know whether a site has already been indexed by Google, simply search for the site by typing site:yourdomain.com.
If it has been indexed by Google, you'll get an exact match URL in the search results as seen above.
If, on the other hand, the site has not been indexed, you'll either get other results with similar URLs and keywords as seen above, or none at all as seen below.
Once you've determined that a site has been indexed by Google, you can proceed to check for the date it was first indexed.
2. How to Check the Date a Site Was First Indexed by Google
Knowing when your site was first indexed can give you a rough idea of when it took off and how far you've come. You can also use this information and a WHOIS lookup tool to verify if a suspicious online entity is as old as it claims.
Here's how to check the date a site was first indexed:
- Run a Google search for the domain name using the site: yourdomain.com function.
- Click on the three dots button to the right of the site's URL.
- Scroll to the "Source" section of the "About this result" box, where you can view the month and year the site was first indexed.
- Sites first indexed over ten years ago are simply marked as "…first indexed by Google more than 10 years ago".
- You can also do this on your mobile by following the exact same steps outlined above and using any page of the website.
It's worth noting that this feature is still in beta, and records for some popular or new websites may not yet be publicly available or displayed.
Find That Indexing Information
Getting your site discovered, crawled, and indexed are necessary for discoverability and ranking in search results. Knowing when it was first indexed can help you reflect on your journey so far and estimate domain age in addition to a WHOIS lookup.
Web crawlers can also be used for so much more than indexing, serving, and ranking pages in SERPs. You can use them to discover and collect data from different websites.
Ever wanted to capture information from a website? Here's how to write a crawler to navigate a website and extract what you need.