If there’s one thing webmasters have learned over the past decade, it’s that Google trends come and go. In some cases it’s not even worth noting certain changes in the Google-sphere because they are truly so unpredictable!
In this case, the ‘Submit URL’ tool is one resource that all webmasters should be keenly aware of. While the future of the tool is of course, unknown, there is a strong chance that it (or a derivative) will survive for many years to come. And its value is so high that it’s something you’re going to want to remember (and pray that it doesn’t go away soon).
The below video explains it best, perhaps. The important thing to note is that the newer, rather secretive Submit URL tool is NOT something that’s included within Google’s traditional Search Console (Webmaster Tools)… or, at least NOT YET anyway. In other words, it does NOT function in the same way that the older ‘Fetch as Google’ tool works, which for whatever reason, does not seem to have as good results when submitting pages to Google’s index (and/or re-crawl requests).
The tool is as simple as it gets: you simply copy and paste any URL into the form, click “submit”, and you’re done. In many cases, the page will be indexed into Google search results within seconds, but in other cases it could take minutes, or even hours or days, if the domain is not very reputable. But in most every case, the link WILL INDEED be indexed, sooner or later.
Likewise, you can also use the tool to ask Google bots to re-crawl an already existing URL too. The reasons for doing this are numerous, but include such things as a page’s title being changed, or page content being changed, or so forth. Sometimes it can take Google weeks or even MONTHS to properly update their cache of pages, so using this tool is a nifty way to speed up the process greatly, which can be invaluable in certain situations.
Take for example a business that sells Halloween costumes online. Unless you are Amazon.com, there’s a strong chance that Google will not “see” your brand new costume products (“pages”) for at least several days after you’ve published them. But imagine your competitors are ALREADY indexed into Google and selling costumes like crazy! In situations like these, its quite obvious that rapid indexation is an advantage in most cases, whether for business or otherwise. Similarly, if your team accidentally labeled a certain costume’s page title, you could use the Submit URL tool in that case to request a “re-crawl” and get your site’s listings in Google search results properly updated in a timely fashion.
Now, why is Google offering this tool? The answer is simple. Over the past several years many “spammy” services have popped up offering to get your pages rapidly indexed into Google, using techniques like bookmarking, RSS feeds, or temporary backlinks from high PR domains. As Google hates nothing more than the manipulation of their algorithms, and as they realize that a human-submitted link (captcha test to be sure!) has a pretty good chance of being worth indexing… it makes perfect sense that they have created this tool. Now, let’s just hope it sticks around for a while!