Google typically finds websites through backlinks or XML sitemaps, but can it find them other ways as well?
You can read more about this from this post on Search Engine Journal.
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We talked back in episode 33 that Google finds new sites via links and through sitemaps, but can they find sites any other ways? Google’s John Mueller recently answered this question, and admits that it’s tricky. Some possibilities he suggested include:
- Third parties that track domain registrations with links.
- Accidental backlinks from typos
- Toolbars that link to related content
- Your CMS may have generated a sitemap or RSS feed
The important point that John made is that Google could stumble upon a site a variety of ways. If you want to make sure that Google doesn’t index your site, you need to take some steps to be sure of it. The easiest way is to “noindex” the entire site. In WordPress, you can go into “Settings” —> “Reading” and check the box for “discourage search engines from indexing this site”. Google will completely respect this checkbox, so use it carefully. If you mistakenly leave this checked, Google will completely remove your site from their index and it’ll take a while to recover.
Regardless, while Google can find and possibly index your site from a variety of ways, you’ll need to follow SEO best practices if you want a chance to rank well.