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We've developed a Firebase Web App like Wikipedia for students, where each page is an essay that they write for their course assignments and link to one another.

Firebase offers multiple third-party search engines for full-text search. However, we're looking for a way to use Google Programmable Search Engine instead, so that while students search through each other's essays, Google indexes their essays, and they get more public visibility on Google search to motivate students to learn to be impactful to their society, rather than just writing to pass course requirements.

The main issue is that Google Search takes a really long time to index our pages and when students post their essays, it takes a few weeks until their classmates or themselves can find their essays in the list of search results. What do you suggest as a solution?

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    I think a whole other important question to consider is why it's taking so long to index your pages. Feb 19 at 22:58

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Using Google Programmable Search won't help Google index your site better. Google doesn't use searches in programmable search to influence indexing. If Google is taking too long to index pages on your site, I'd go with using one of the other search engines for site search and in the meantime work to get your site indexed more quickly. Programmable search works best as an internal search engine once all your content is already indexed in Google.

There are two main factors that make Google index content quickly (see Why aren't search engines indexing my content?):

  1. Site Reputation - Google indexes pages right away from established sites with lots of inbound links. If your site is new, or no other sites link to it, Google won't be enthusiastic about indexing new content on it.
  2. Information Architecture - How content is linked on your site has a major impact on how quickly Googlebot finds it and how quickly Google decides to index it.
    • You say that essays link to each other and that is great for information architecture. Ideally for IA, each essay would get links from about 10 other essays and in turn link to 10 other essays. If that doesn't happen organically, you will want to nudge that along programatically like this site with the "Related" list of questions in the right sidebar.
    • It also needs to be possible to quickly click to new essays from the home page. If a new essay has a prominent link on the site (like from the home page), Google is much more likely to index it quickly.
    • You should also submit an XML sitemap of essays to Google. This should trigger Googlebot to crawl all your essays. As your site gains reputation and as Googlebot sees that the sitemap gets updated frequently, it will use it to quickly crawl new content. XML sitemaps don't usually help Google decide to index your content, but they will get the process started by getting the content crawled. See The Sitemap Paradox

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