Google has always been pretty tight-lipped about what it does to discover websites and what it does not. However, we have always been wondering how exactly does Google find your website. And one of the answers that webmasters would give you is the backlinks would help Google discover your site. But then, there is the question of how does your website get discovered by Google if you have not had any backlink from any website.
Talking about backlinks, Google finds the website if a link from different website points to another website. This means that the more backlinks you have, the more Google knows what your website is about. So it is usually said that you need to create more backlinks to get ranked. Coming back to the point of having no backlinks, it usually happens that website owners who are not familiar with SEO don’t bother creating backlinks or their website is not such that you are obliged to give a link back.
On this question, Google’s Joh Mueller says that it’s “tricky” to discover sites which do not have a backlink. However, Google and every other search engines still include them in their search results. So how do they do that, let’s get the answer. But first, let’s understand what the question was.
“How does Googlebot find a site if no one is linking to the site, and it’s not been submitted to Search Console?”
Here is the answer given by Google’s John Mueller on the Reddit thread. However, he just responded saying that it is “tricky” but did tell that it might be because of third-party track domain registrations or typos or toolbars or CMSes such as WordPress.
“No one is linking” is a tricky state — it’s really hard to determine absolutely. Sometimes it’s 3rd parties that track domain registrations (with links), sometimes it’s linked with typos out there, sometimes it’s toolbars that people use (again, that link to related content), some time’s it’s just your CMS being helpful (say with a sitemap or RSS/Atom feed). In short, if you don’t want something indexed, use noindex, don’t assume that just because you didn’t promote it, that no search engine would ever make it there. If you want to launch something new with a bang (assuming that’s what you’re trying to do with a new & unknown domain), one idea could be to use the site removal tool to hide the site in search, and then to cancel that request when you’re making it live — that lets Google crawl & index the content ahead of time, but prevents it from being shown in search. That’s a bit faster than switching from a noindex to indexable content for search, but of course other search engines or even users might still see it.
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