SEO, how long does it take to get indexed?

I often read or hear people talking about Search Engine Optimizations (SEO) and how to get their site at the top of a search engine list. I’m not going to repost the good ideas (see for a good introduction) or go on about all the nonsense and superstition surrounding the subject but merely share my experience with two major search engines, MSN and Google.

After launching a site and sending the details to both MSN and Google the speed to getting an index was dramatically different. MSN showed the site after only a few weeks whereas Google took close onto 10 months to becoming fully indexed. At the start I used Google Alerts to register my interest in the words used by the site and got the odd alert about unrelated sites. During this time the web logs were showing that Google had indexed the site but no index and no alerts. Then after the 10 months the site was suddenly indexed and I started to get a steady stream of alerts for each of the pages of the site. I’d never claim to understand how Google works or how it will work tomorrow, but my observations are that Google does seem to index a site and at some point later the index becomes public knowledge. Now whether this is down to the well touted Sandboxing of sites or simply a queue of indexes I can only guess. But if you’ve designed your site correctly and are tearing your hair out wondering why you’re not getting a Google index, then don’t fret too much but be prepared for a wait. Maybe just everyone you meet to use MSN 😉

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