The days of submitting your websites and pages to Google are long gone, but you still need them to find you. How do they do that? The biggest way is through links, but they can also find your content through sitemaps.
You can read more about this from this post at Search Engine Roundtable.
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Earlier this year, Google removed the form that you could use to let Google know about your new website. It wasn’t a big deal, because it hadn’t really been useful for years. But if that form isn’t needed, then how does Google find new sites and content?
At PubCon last week, Google’s Gary Illyes said exactly what we expected (with a bit of additional clarification). He said that the number one way that Google finds content is through links, and the number two way is through XML sitemaps. Let’s look at each of those a bit more.
Having links pointing to your site is still a major piece of helping it rank well, and it gives Google a quick way to find you too. A new site might not have any links pointing to it on day one, but any new content on that site in the future will usually have a link from other pages on the site. For example, if you have a site with a blog that Google knows about and you add another post, Google will find that new post from the link on the front of your blog.
The other way that Google finds new sites is from XML sitemaps. These sitemaps don’t help you rank any better, but it’s always good to give Google information like this to help them better understand your site. The best way to submit a sitemap to Google is through your Search Console account. If you’re not familiar with that, reach out to your web team and they can help.
If Google finds your content through a sitemap but you don’t have any links pointing to it yet, you probably won’t rank very well, but it’s still a good first step.
At the end of the day, these aren’t groundbreaking revalations from Google, but it’s good to gain additional understanding into areas like this.