Unindexed backlinks are not particularly helpful for SEO, because search engines like Google generally won’t consider them.
Fortunately, there are several effective methods that force search engines to index your backlinks asap. Discover them in the rest of this guide.
This guide will mainly focus on indexing backlinks in Google but will be helpful for indexing them in other search engines as well.
Let’s get the basics out of the way first. Backlink indexing is a process that involves search engines like Google, Bing, or DuckDuckGo discovering and adding backlinks to their index.
The index, on the other hand, is a database that search engines use to show info in the SERPs.
👉 So, in other words: if your backlinks aren’t added to the index, they won’t affect the SERPs - which means they won’t have any effect on your site’s credibility, rankings, or organic traffic.
But how do backlinks get indexed in the first place? Here’s a quick walkthrough of the process.
Backlinks get discovered and, potentially, indexed together with the pages that contain them. So, if your backlinks are contained on an unindexed page, they won’t be indexed either. And vice versa.
So, you always want the pages that host your backlinks to get indexed as fast as possible. The only problem? This can take anywhere between 4 days and 6 months.
But here’s the catch: there are methods you can use to force search engines to discover and crawl your hosting pages as fast as possible. This means they'll also index your pages - and your backlinks - asap unless they contain errors.
We'll show you how you can speed up the process below.
Although search engines can index backlinks on their own – with no manual effort on your part – there are two methods you can use to nudge them to get started.
Both methods come down to submitting the pages hosting your links for review. You can choose between submitting their URLs via:
The first method only works if you can access the site hosting your backlinks through Google Search Console. That means you’ll probably need to own that site or be given access by the real site owner.
There are also some additional pros and cons of each method you should be aware of. We’ll discuss them in more depth below – so let’s dive in.
As mentioned, you’ll need to connect your Google Search Console (GSC) account with the site hosting your backlinks to use this method. If you don’t have access to it, check method #2.
Now, if you meet the prerequisites, let’s see how you can get your backlinks indexed.
Start by entering the URL hosting the links you want to index into the inspection bar at the top:
From there, you’ll encounter one of two scenarios. The first is that your URL will turn out to already be on Google, i.e., indexed.
In that case, your backlink has probably gotten indexed together with your page. We’ll show you how you can double-check this further down in the guide.
But, for now, there’s nothing more you can do via GSC. Feel free to check another URL or jump to the next section of this guide.
Alternatively, you may see a message saying that the URL is not on Google:
This means your backlink isn’t indexed either. To get both your page and your backlink indexed, click “Request indexing” in the right-hand corner (see above).
Wait for a few seconds. If the page you’re trying to index doesn’t have any errors that need to be addressed prior to indexing, you should receive the following message:
Congrats – you’ve just successfully submitted your page and backlink for indexing!
Give Google around a week to do so. If your backlink still hasn’t been indexed by then, check if your page has any newly-discovered errors you need to address.
Another method you can try to get your backlinks indexed is to use professional link indexing services.
Unfortunately, these services aren’t free. However, they may be your only option if you want to index backlinks hosted on sites that you can’t access via GSC. They also have some other pros we’ll mention below.
For now, let’s mention a few popular link indexing services. Many people recommend:
To be completely transparent, we’ve never used these services ourselves — and we do have to say their websites look ill-maintained, if not fishy.
However, as seen above, they do promise end-to-end backlink indexing services, including pinging, creating RSS feeds, XML sitemaps, and additional “secret” services.
Still, we suggest you play it safe for starters and test the waters with OneHourIndexing. To our knowledge, they’re the only service providers offering a free trial.
Simply submit the URLs you want to index and see what happens. It’s risk-free.
The above two methods showed you how you can “nudge” the search engines in the right direction by manually submitting your backlinks for indexing.
However, there are a few more things you can do to further speed up the process. Let’s go over them one by one.
Similarly to the GSC method, this technique will only work if your backlinks are hosted on your own site.
If so, you can speed up the indexing process by creating internal links to the pages hosting your backlinks. This implies adding links to the pages you want to index from other pages on your site.
For example, here’s an internal link coming from one of our blog posts – What Is A Link Wheel and Does It Work for SEO? [+Free Template!] – and linking to another:
To maximize your efforts with this technique, make sure to use descriptive anchor texts – i.e., anchor texts that accurately describe the content of the target page and, preferably, include your main target keyword.
Unlike the previous method, this one will work regardless of whether or not the backlinks are hosted on your site.
It comes down to building new links to the pages hosting the backlinks you want to index. And you can do so no matter if you’re the site owner or not.
Preferably, you would build backlinks on trustworthy sites with high domain scores – like, for example, Harvard Magazine. Such links are considered high-quality and will get the needle moving faster.
However, this method has an obvious con: building high-quality backlinks is difficult and, often, expensive. This may be particularly problematic if your backlinks are hosted on someone else’s site. In that case, you’ll essentially invest loads of time and effort just to build backlinks that help their site, not yours.
If that doesn’t sound like a fair deal, try technique #3.
Even low-quality backlinks can help pages and other backlinks get indexed faster.
The easiest way to build them is to share links to the page you want to index on social media.
Want a pro tip? Let your readers help you by adding social share buttons to the pages you’re trying to index. The easier you make it for your audience to share your content, the likelier they are to do it.
The last thing to try is notifying the search engines of new content – and backlinks – on a website. This is an old-school technique that, admittedly, no longer works as well as it used to.
Still, it’s worth a shot – especially because there are a ton of pages that allow you to do so for free.
Our favorite one is PingFarm. It’s pretty straightforward: simply copy and paste the URLs you want search engines to crawl, and hit the mass ping button below.
If you want, you can also add some additional details, such as your target keyword or RSS URL.
Below, you can also see which services PingFarm will ping.
Use ping services wisely, though. Creating too many pings in a short timeframe can raise a red flag with search engines – and potentially label your site as spammy.
So, you’ve taken all the steps we’ve described above. Kudos to you!
Now, how can you check if your backlinks are actually indexed? We’ve got a couple of ideas.
The easiest way to check if your backlinks are indexed is to copy and paste the hosting URL into Google. If Google doesn’t return any relevant results, your backlink has not yet been indexed – and vice versa.
Unfortunately, this method only allows you to check one backlink and search engine at a time.
Checking whether multiple backlinks are indexed on multiple search engines would probably take more time than you can afford to spend. In that case, it may be wise to invest in specialized tools.
Tools like Monitor Backlinks let you check the status of multiple backlinks at once. Here's a screenshot of some of our backlinks, together with information on their indexing status:
You can get more information about each individual backlink by hovering over the “F” (follow) or “NF” (no-follow) icon:
As far as we know, there’s currently no free tool offering this functionality. But the investment may be worth it if you’re serious about link building.
Without knowing whether your backlinks are indexed or not, you have no way to gauge your progress – and doing so using the copy-and-paste method above will quickly become tiresome.
Yes, some backlinks do get indexed faster than others. In general, backlinks that get indexed the fastest share these few common characteristics:
Follow these guidelines to get your backlinks indexed as fast as possible.
Backlinks can take anywhere between 4 days and 6 months to get indexed. However, according to some sources, the average waiting period is 10 weeks.
Google and other search engines may not index backlinks for a multitude of reasons. The most common ones include:
Links of higher quality don’t just get indexed faster. They also yield tangible SEO results more quickly as well.
This has been proven time and time again. As opposed to low-quality links, higher-quality backlinks can start boosting your rankings in as little as four weeks. They’ll also help you move higher up in the SERPs in the long run.
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