Backlinks are still the most vital component for ranking on top of organic search.
And to move your rankings up, you must build high-quality links pointing to your site.
But just because you’ve built them today, doesn’t mean your site will jump on the first page tomorrow!
Google spiders take time to crawl these links to determine where your new position on SERPs will be.
Therefore, by knowing the duration of how long it takes Google to count links to your site, you temper your expectations better.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Backlink Indexing?
- 2 So When Does Google Index Your Site’s Backlinks?
- 3 How to Make Google Index Your Backlinks Faster?
- 4 Conclusion
Google spiders constantly crawl the web for new pages online to include in its search database.
Along with the page, they also crawl the links within it.
Doing so helps them understand the relationships among the pages linking to one another.
And by indexing these backlinks, Google finding out which pages should rank on top for which query.
As mentioned in our link building primer, Google treats backlinks as recommendations. The more recommendations your site receives from influential sites, the more Google will see your site as an authority as well.
There are different factors considered when Google indexes a backlink:
- Domain age – The older the domain where you got a backlink from, the more likely Google will crawl your link faster
- Authority – Similar to age, the pages and links from high-quality and popular websites are crawled more often and sooner compared to those from low-quality and brand-new sites
- Link profile – The quality of backlinks a site has affects its authority and popularity. The better the links of a site, the more authoritative it becomes
- Social shares – While there’s no correlation between SEO and social media, there is a relationship existing between social shares and higher SERP position
Ideally, you want to build links on websites that score high on these factors.
Kristina Kledzik remains the closest to reaching a concrete timeline when Google crawls backlinks.
In her Moz post, the average time a backlink got indexed is 10 weeks.
In this case, the quantity and quality of backlinks lend themselves to the increase in rank.
The more authoritative backlinks you build, the faster and higher a site’s ranking on SERPs will be.
Also, you need to keep building links to generate an upward spike like from the screenshot above.
Finally, pages that are ranking on the second page of organic search and onwards make a more impressive jump in rankings compared to pages that are already ranking on the first page.
Keep in mind that Kristina worked with a small sample size. This makes her test far from definitive regarding link building indexing.
She didn’t discuss on-page SEO variables such as site speed, internal linking, and others. Also, she exclusively used DA as the variable to determine the quality of a backlink and left out other vital factors such as relevance.
Still, her test shows one thing:
It takes time to get backlinks indexed.
You won’t see immediate results after acquiring a link for your site. You need to sit this one out and wait before substantial movements arise.
The question now is not about when Google will index your links, but how fast.
Search spiders crawl backlinks faster than others. While the factors that govern when Google indexes them remain unclear, you can build the best possible backlinks to your site instead.
Below are ways you can do it:
Make Sure that Your Site is Crawlable
If you’re building links to your site pages that Google can neither crawl nor index, then you have a problem.
It’s important to make sure that Google can find your site and its pages so you can rank on search results.
To make Google crawl your site pages, you must do the following:
Add Your Site Under Google Search Console
Google Search Console allows you to monitor your website’s online presence on organic search.
Unlike Google Analytics which shows you information about your web traffic, GSC tells you why and how you’re getting it.
And by adding your site here, you can take action to fix any problems on getting indexed by Google.
If you don’t have a Search Console account, click here to sign up first.
You then need to enter your site URL in the Domain text bar so you can monitor all the pages on your site.
Once you’ve added your domain, you must enter the DNS configuration on your site’s domain name provider. This verifies to Google that you own the domain.
Once you’ve verified, you can start managing your site here. It provides all the information for all types of GSC users.
From here, you can track and receive alerts regarding issues affecting your site’s online visibility. The warnings provide enough information to take action on each.
Create a Sitemap
Having a sitemap makes crawling and indexing your site pages much easier for Google.
Instead of going to your site pages one by one to extract information from each, search spiders can head on to your sitemaps and see everything there,
There are a variety of ways on how you can create a sitemap for your site so that that shouldn’t be a problem.
But what’s important is that you submit the URL of your sitemap on Google Search Console.
This file informs search engine spiders which pages in your site to crawl and avoid.
Here’s what a usual robots.txt with the settings above looks like:
This means that all web crawlers can check all the pages on your website.
If you already have a robots.txt file, go to the robots.txt tester that’s inside Google Search Console. Choose the property whose robots.txt you want to test.
Next, edit and tweak the file as you see fit before submitting it.
Since the goal now is to allow search spiders to crawl everything that’s in your site, use the above settings above.
Once you acquire a backlink, you can track its progress and see its status over time.
Tools like Ahrefs automatically crawl the backlinks for you to track on their database.
However, if you want a more hands-on approach to monitoring your backlinks, you can use Monitor Backlinks to help you track the backlink immediately after building it.
Log in to your account and click on the link icon on the side menu to view your backlinks.
Then click on the Add Links button to enter information about your backlinks. If you have more than one link listed down in a sheet, click on the Import Links button instead.
From here, you must fill out the details about the backlink so you can organize incoming backlinks accordingly.
Manual backlink monitoring ensures that you get to track all your backlinks.
And the great thing about Monitor Backlinks is it shows you backlinks in your profile that aren’t indexed.
To view these, create a filter that shows you warnings of pages not indexed by Google.
You can add parameters into your filter to cover other warnings.
If you set it up properly, you will see something like this:
As shown in the screenshot above, Google didn’t index these links because they are either new or low-quality.
For links from new domains, you need to monitor their status for weeks before they get indexed.
For low-quality and spammy backlinks whether new or old, consider disavowing them.
You probably have these links because your competitors built them specifically to lower your rankings. And it’s possible that Google finds indexing your page and backlinks harder because you’re linked to a ‘bad neighborhood’.
One of the best ways for Google to index your backlinks is to also link back to them.
You don’t need to launch a separate link building campaign for these. Sending a mix of manual citations, social signals, and comment links should be enough to give your new backlinks a boost.
But if you want to go big, create a second tier of backlinks leveraging Google properties. Create Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more from your Drive and link out to your backlinks.
By giving your links some love, you also strengthen them up. Due to the tier 2 links you’ve built, your backlinks wield more authority and can help make a much bigger impact on your search ranking.
As you can see, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.
The tips above should help Google crawl and index your backlinks faster than usual. And if you have more ideas, feel free to chip in my commenting below.
However, the real challenge is playing the long game by raising your organic ranking link by link.
Once you built enough backlinks over time, you need to check how they affect your rankings.
Using your rank tracking tool gives you a clear picture of how your campaign is turning out.
At this point, you need to isolate your links as the only controlled variable affecting your organic ranking.
Keep your site the same while building your links as much as possible. From here, you can determine whether your initiative is a success based on how much your ranking increased during this period.
Finally, following the best link building practices should also help your cause.
If your position on SERPs tanked following your campaign, you need to identify the bad backlinks and remove them from your profile.