How can I get my website on Google for free?

"I recently started a new publishing website and I want to get listed on Google so that people can find it. When I try to figure out how to do this, I find sites that want to charge me money. How can I get my website on Google for free without having to pay someone?"

Letting Google know your site exists doesn't cost anything, although there may be reasons you want to hire someone to help you improve your ranking through search engine optimization, particularly if you are publishing on a competitive topic. There are a number of things you can do to help Google find your site and get it listed in the Google search index.

Create a sitemap with your content management system.

One thing you wan tot be sure to do is create an XML sitemap with your content management system. This is a file that lists all the pages on your site and how frequently they change, which you then submit to Google and Bing so that the search engines can find all the pages easily. If you use a CMS like Wordpress, you need to install a plugin to create a sitemap automatically. I use Movable Type for publishing, which simply requires creating a template to automatically make a sitemap.xml file to submit to Google. Each CMS is a little different, so you may have to do some research depending on how you create your site.

Submit your site and sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools

Google provides some great free tools for people who manage websites in a collection called Google Webmaster Tools. You need to create a free Google account to access Webmaster Tools. Once you are in, you can submit your site. There are instructions about how to verify your submission in the Webmaster Tools account. You also want to submit your sitemap.xml file here so that Google can be aware of all the pages on your site.

Ping Google Blog Search

If you have a blog as part of your site, be sure to ping Google Blog Search. This lets Google know about your blog so that it will check for updates.

Some additional ways to get found in Google more quickly including posting a tweet to your Twitter account letting your followers know about your new site. When appropriate, comment on your favorite blogs, with the URL to your new site as the URL you include as a reference to yourself. Add your new website to your LinkedIn profile page so that the people in your network can find it (they might link to it if it's interesting).

Find the influencers in your topic area and reference what they are writing about on your blog, by linking to them. This lets those folks know you exist and may result in them linking to your site to. One of the keys to succeeding in Google rankings is to get links from relevant sites. And if you want people to link to you, you need to be sure you are providing value to them.