Q and A: Do search engines index Free sites?



I’ve heard that the search engines won’t index free sites, such as verizon.net. Is that true? Is there any way to encourage them to index those sites?

Regards, Jan

Dear Jan

I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “free sites” but the site you’ve mentioned www.verizon.net is certainly indexed by Google (In fact it currently has 124,000 pages indexed – see this Google Search)

The search engines will try to index just about all pages on all sites – with a few exceptions. The only pages that are really excluded from indexing are ones that are not accessible to the search spiders (because they are in members-only or password protected areas), or the site owner has specifically requested pages or sections not be indexed (through the use of robots.txt or header tags for example). Typically all sites and pages would be indexed – spammy and even some penalised sites would still be indexed – but they may not show up well (or at all) for most search results.

Indexing vs Ranking

I should also highlight and important difference between indexing and ranking. Getting a site indexed is relatively easy – it is simply a matter of notifiying a search engine of the site’s existence .. and waiting. Just because a site does not appear on page 1 .. or page 5.. or even page 30 of the search results, doesn’t necessarily mean that it has not been indexed.

The easiest way to see how well a particular site has been indexed is to use the “site:” operator in your search query. If you enter the query site:yourdomain.com as a Gooqle query, it will return a list of all the pages currently indexed by Google on the yourdomain.com website.

Achieving good rankings for a site – is a very different matter – one of the primary goals of SEO is to improve the rankings of indexed pages.

As far as “encouraging” search engines to index a site ? The best way for a spider to find your site is for it to follow links form other sites. The more links to your site from other related sites, the faster your site will be indexed – and the better it will rank. The best way to get links to your site is to provide good quality, unique and useful content, and the best way to have search engines return to your site regularly to re-crawl and index your pages is to regularly, change, update, expand, enhance and develop your content.


Andy Henderson
WebConsulting Optimisation and Design (Brisbane)

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