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Why does it take time for search engines to recognise a new website?

eo and traffic increasing bar chart

After the launch of a new website, there is often an expectation from business owners that their site should appear in the search engines straight away and with a good ranking. It is not unreasonable to expect to see it listed, but it is important to understand that achieving a high ranking takes time and effort. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a complex and ongoing process that involves many factors, such as competition, the quality of the website’s content, the website’s structure, backlinks, and user behaviour. However, before we discuss the website ranking, we need to first consider that the website has to be indexed by the search engines. This will not happen immediately and to put it in context, it is estimated that there are over 1 billion websites on the internet and that approximately 0.25 million websites are created every day! So you can see the size of the task to index both new websites and also crawl existing sites. In our experience, Google normally indexes sites within a couple of weeks and in many cases, it can be in as little as a few hours. It should be stated that Google does not guarantee to index every site.
There are a number of reasons why it may take time for a search engine to recognise a new website:

The crawl frequency of the search engine:

Search engines prioritise the crawling of websites based on a number of factors such as the popularity, quality and relevance of the website, as well as the frequency of content updates. As a result, a new website may not be crawled and indexed as quickly as an established website.

The website's structure and content:

If the website is poorly designed or lacks high-quality content, it may be deemed less important or relevant by the search engine, which could result in a delay in the indexing process.

Backlinks and referral traffic:

Backlinks from established and reputable websites can help to expedite the indexing process, as they indicate to the search engine that the new website is legitimate and has valuable content. A quick win here is to create listings on the various business directories out there, such as Yelp, Yell, FreeIndex, MisterWhat, and Scoot, and of course, make sure you have a Google Business Profile setup for your business. All of the above have free options for your business but still give you the ability to have a link to your website. It is also worth searching for any industry-specific directories for your business category.

Technical issues:

Technical issues such as broken links, slow loading times, or improper use of Meta tags can negatively impact the indexing process, and may result in delays in the search engine recognising the website.

Domain age and authority:

Newer domains are often viewed as less authoritative and trustworthy compared to older, established domains. As a result, search engines may take more time to recognise and index content from new websites.

Domain age and authority:

Newer domains are often viewed as less authoritative and trustworthy compared to older, established domains. As a result, search engines may take more time to recognise and index content from new websites.


If the website is in a highly competitive niche, it may take longer for search engines to recognise it, as there may be many established websites with similar content that are already indexed.


Search engines use XML sitemaps to crawl and index websites more efficiently. (In simple terms, a sitemap is a file which lists the pages you have on your website that you want to have indexed.) If a new website doesn't have an XML sitemap or has an incomplete or inaccurate one, search engines may not be able to crawl and index the website's pages correctly, which can delay recognition.

The above are some of the main reasons why your site can take time to be indexed. However, rather than wait for the search engines to find and index your new site, you can help make it happen quicker by submitting your URL and sitemap to the different webmaster tools. In the case of Google, this is Google Search Console and in the case of Bing, it is Bing Webmaster Tools. Your web developer should offer to do this and it is worth checking with them.

After your site has been indexed, it is important for business owners to have realistic expectations and to understand that SEO is a long-term strategy. It can take several months or even years to achieve a high ranking on Google, particularly for competitive keywords and industries.

Furthermore, Google’s algorithms are constantly evolving, so it is important to stay up-to-date with best practices and make ongoing adjustments to your website and SEO strategy. By setting realistic expectations and taking a long-term approach to SEO, business owners can increase their chances of success and achieve a good ranking on Google over time.

We usually advise new clients to wait a few months and see how their website performs naturally before embarking on an SEO campaign. This is because your ranking will depend on multiple factors such as how competitive an industry you are in, what your competitors are doing with regard to SEO and the quality of your website content. The latter you can influence greatly and combined with good web design practises and on-page SEO (page titles, descriptions, heading etc.), you can achieve a lot without having to embark on an SEO campaign. If you are not getting the desired results, then the next stage is to investigate the options you have with SEO. We are more than happy to offer a free consultation to help you establish your requirements and determine what an SEO campaign could do for your business.

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