One of the most common causes for confusion with website owners is how Google works, so I thought I’d just write a little explanation!

When you have a website built, you have a domain name address ( where you and other people can visit your website.

The way to get to your website is through the address bar on your Internet browser – which might look something like this:

browser address bar

You type in the domain name and your browser looks it up. Common browsers are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Chrome. You can read more about finding out what browser you use here.

And that’s your website, and that’s the proper way to get to it.


There also happens to be this company on the Internet called Google. And they offer a service where they list websites and help people find them. They are a search engine, and there are other search engines too – such as Bing.

How Google works.

Google are basically like a big directory of websites, and you use the directory by typing in search terms/keywords for what you are looking for. Google then looks through it’s listings that it’s got on record and displays results for you.

Where the common misconception lies, is that Google somehow is the Internet and will know about your website as soon as it goes live. This isn’t the case; Google can’t know about your website automatically anymore than BT can know to update the phone book the day you move house.

The difference with Google and BT is that whilst you have to tell BT that you’ve moved, you don’t need to tell Google – it will find your site itself using it’s clever system of robots/spiders.

(You used to have to tell Google, and “submit your site” but now Google’s gotten pretty clever and just says “you know what, leave it to us, we’ll find it”. Or you can submit a sitemap from Google Webmaster Tools.)

How long does it take?

There is no correct answer to how long it will take Google to know about your site – it is a complete unknown quantity! Years ago people said it could take 3 months – I tend to find now, if you build a website in a search engine friendly way, then it takes a few days.

What can you do to help?

If you want to be found in Google really really quickly then you could offer Google a branch to find you, such as getting your web developer to add you to their portfolio or write a blog post about your new site. Or you could just update a Facebook page or Twitter profile. Something that’ll give Google a link to follow.

You could pay Google and appear in adwords, but that’s another article! And seeings Google is pretty good at finding well built sites quickly, it’s not really worth using Adwords for that reason unless you’ve got a big launch or something and you’ve cut it fine!

When you update your website.

The second part of the misconception with Google, is that when you update your website, Google will automatically instantly update it’s listing. And this really isn’t the case either.

Google checks it’s listings/the sites it has on file regularly and is constantly updating it’s records. However, it is just a free standing independent company – it is not the Internet. So it can’t be everywhere at once/know about every web page update.

In time, Google will update it’s record of your site, and then record the update.

It is possible to tell Google, in the code of your website, how often you update your site. So if you update your site nearly every day, Google knows to come back often and check you and refresh it’s records. However if you don’t update your site very often then it’ll just come back to you as it’s doing the rounds and may take a bit longer.

Being found in Google for more than your company name.

This article is really just about Google knowing you exist, rather than full optimisation (being found for keywords). So coming up for your company name is just basically what we’re referring to here (you really should come up for your company name! If you don’t, you might want to look at your site!).

But you will then want to turn your attention to coming up in Google and other search engines for keywords/terms people may search for. You or your web developer should have considered these keywords when designing and building the site and writing the content, which is known as “on page SEO” – things that are on your pages to help with search engine optimisation.

So once your site is live, then you want to turn your attention to off page SEO – which is building your presence around the web, including things such as getting other sites to link to you. If you’d like a hand with this ongoing process, please contact us.