How Google Discovers New Registered Domains For Indexing

How Google Discovers New Registered Domains For Indexing

March 17, 2024
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Google Has Been a Registrar Since 2005, and It Has a Large Database of Domain Record

Have you ever wondered how Google discovers new domains? It all starts with the Domain Name System (DNS). When you register a new domain, it's important to understand how DNS works and how to properly set up your A record so that Google can easily find your website.

Steps Google takes to discover new domains through DNS

  1. Google's web crawlers constantly scan the internet for new content and websites to index.
  2. When a new domain is registered, its DNS record is updated to include the nameservers where the website is hosted.
  3. Google's crawlers follow the DNS chain from the root domain to the top-level domain (TLD) to the domain itself to identify the IP address associated with the domain name.
  4. Once the IP address is identified, Google's crawlers can then access the website's content and begin to index it.
  5. However, if the domain is a subdomain or is using a CNAME record, Google may encounter difficulties in identifying the correct IP address associated with the domain name. This is because subdomains and CNAME records point to a different domain or subdomain and may require additional DNS lookups to find the correct IP address.
  6. Additionally, if a domain has a history of spam or other violations of Google's webmaster guidelines, it may be flagged and subjected to a manual review before it can be indexed.

Overall, Google's discovery of new domains relies heavily on DNS records, which provide the necessary information for web crawlers to locate and index new websites. However, subdomains and CNAME records can complicate the process, and websites with a history of spam or violations may face additional scrutiny before being indexed.

DNS 101 - What's DNS Record?

DNS records are like instructions for a website. They tell computers where to find the website and how it should work. These instructions are written in a text file called a zone file and stored on a special server. The text is easy to read and edit, so people can make changes to the instructions easily. There are many different types of instructions, and each one does something different to help manage the website. When someone tries to access the website, their computer uses Recursive DNS servers to find the right instructions.

The DNS Hierarchy (source: Julia Evans)
How different server plays its role in a DNS Look Up (source: Julia Evans)
DNS Briefly Explained (Source: Cloudflare)
DNS Record Type Briefly Explained Reference Links
A record The record that holds the IP address of a domain. Learn more about the A record
AAAA record The record that contains the IPv6 address for a domain (as opposed to A records, which list the IPv4 address). Learn more about the AAAA record
CNAME record Forwards one domain or subdomain to another domain, does NOT provide an IP address. Learn more about the CNAME record
MX record Directs mail to an email server. Learn more about the MX record
TXT record Lets an admin store text notes in the record. These records are often used for email security. Learn more about the TXT record
NS record Stores the name server for a DNS entry. Learn more about the NS record
SOA record Stores admin information about a domain. Learn more about the SOA record
SRV record Specifies a port for specific services. Learn more about the SRV record
PTR record Provides a domain name in reverse-lookups. Learn more about the PTR record

Why a Proper A Record Setup is Important

A proper A record setup is important for Google to find and discover new domain records because the A record is the primary way to associate a domain name with an IP address. When a website has a proper A record setup, it means that the DNS record points directly to the IP address of the website, making it easy for Google to crawl and index the website.

On the other hand, if a website uses a CNAME record, it means that the domain name is an alias of another domain name, and the IP address is resolved by following the chain of CNAME records until an A record is found. This can make it more difficult for Google to crawl and index the website, as it needs to follow the chain of records to get to the IP address.

How does CNAME work, Source: Julia Evans' Twitter
How does CNAME work 2, Source: Julia Evans' Twitter

Furthermore, when it comes to subdomains, Google may have a harder time discovering them as they are often hosted on separate servers or have different DNS configurations than the main domain. For example, my chat AI project uses CNAME and is hosted from Vercel, which is different from my actual website host. This can cause issues with DNS caching and delay Google's ability to find and index the subdomain.

Overall, a proper A record setup ensures that Google can easily discover a website and its associated records, making it easier to crawl and index the website.

By setting up an A record that points directly to your website's IP address, you can help Google bypass any potential roadblocks like CNAME records or subdomains.

This Is Not New and Kinda Disappointing

I must say that I feel a bit disappointed to learn that Google's primary method of discovering and indexing new domains is still by digging into known DNS records and domain histories. While I understand that this is not a new approach, it seems like there could be a more efficient way to crawl the web. I can't help but agree with some commentators who have pointed out that there are likely many unused domains out there that would not be worth crawling.

In my humble opinion, a more proactive approach, such as using the IndexNow API or sitemap crawling, would be a more effective way for webmasters to inform Google's bots about the existence of valuable content that should be indexed. I believe that this approach would not only save time and resources but would also lead to a better user experience overall.

Conclusion - Balance Your Subdomain Usage Hosted From External Sources & Use Trusted, Popular Host For New Domain

Understanding how DNS works and properly setting up your A record can help Google discover your new domain and index your website quickly. By taking the time to set up your DNS records correctly, you can ensure that your website gets the attention it deserves from search engines like Google.



Technical SEO
Dean Long | Expert in Growth MarketingHongxin(Dean) Long

Dean Long is a Sydney-based performance marketing and communication professional with expertise in paid search, paid social, affiliate, and digital advertising. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Information Systems and Management and is also a distinguished MBA graduate from Western Sydney University.

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