How To Get Listed On Google
By Jack Stevens
I often speak to people who are not even sure how you go about getting your website listed in the Google Search Results Pages (SERPs.) A lot of the time Google will start to pick up website without them being “submitted” however it is best to have a strategic approach to how and when you get your website listed in Google. The process is relatively simple, however it always helps to have someone whom is an expert and can help you through the process if they have been through it many times before.
1. Get a website
Now, this one might seem pretty obvious, but if you don’t have a website, then how do you expect to be found in the SERPs (definition above!) Creating a website is the first stage of this. Most people already have a website in place or have the wheels in motion however if you don’t then you need to and if you need help with that, then I can help there too.
2. Make your website better
So you have a working website, great. Now make it better.
One of the most important factors that Google takes into consideration is how “good” your website is perceived to be to its users. Why is it going to show your website above your competitors’ website? You need to ensure that you offer something to your visitors so that they can engage and enjoy your website and most importantly get out of it what they start out to find.
Having great content is so important, and a lot more important than it was a couple of years ago. If users land on your website, don’t like the look of it, don’t like the content and leave straight away, then this signal is passed onto Google that this website is not providing users with the information they want and this can be harmful to your search rankings.
One of the key things here is ensuring that the content is not only compelling however it is relevant to your audience. That is why keyword research is so important for every page of your website, so you know the set of phrases you are trying to obtain traffic from. This will make sure that when users are searching for your key terms and they find your website, they are then shown a page that is relevant to their queries. There are many ways to do “keyword research” however one of the main ones is by using the Google Keyword Tool. This is primarily used for PPC Campaigns however it provides some useful insight, such as what the search volumes are for each term. This can be a key influencer on the decision of which key terms to choose. The higher the volume, the more people are searching for this term, however the higher the competition, so finding the right balance between competition and volume is very important.
This can all sound a bit daunting, so getting help with keyword research is probably a good idea if you are unsure exactly how to go about it!
3. Install Google Analytics (Or Universal Analytics now)
Google Analytics is a free tool that enables you track web visitors. You need to be able to track how your website is doing and if you are doing any marketing campaigns, on or offline, then you are able to track how your visitors are coming to the site. It is important that you are able to track this from day one and so this is why the installation process should come right at the start. There are many customisation options available so that you can extract the data that matters to you most and you are able to apply filters to the data. You can exclude yourself, any of your computers and devices and any other people who may work for you so that you don’t use that data to make unjustified assumptions about your user’s web behaviour.
There is a new version (for use of a better expression) of Google Analytics that has been released by Google which is called “Universal Analytics.” The Premise is exactly the same; it is a piece of web analytics software which tracks user behaviour on site. The only difference is the way in which it tracks visitors has improved and there are a few other features that are slightly more sophisticated. If you have Google Analytics installed already you have probably been asked to transfer to Universal already. This is fine, however bare in mind that it does NOT transfer over historical data. So if you need to do Year on Year comparisons, then you cannot do this.
If you are setting up a brand new site, then it is recommended that you install Universal Analytics from the start so that you can start to collect the data immediately.
4. Ensure it is properly optimised
This is quite a broad heading, however there are literally hundreds (well, 200ish) signals that Google takes into account when ranking a website. Getting the basics done well from the beginning can get you off to a good start when trying to build your reputation as a great, high quality and valuable website. So, here is a list of the 200 factors that Google uses to help rank website…
Only joking, I am not going to list them all, but there is a pretty comprehensive list of all the ranking signals here that you can read if you want to!
Just some of the main ones you can focus on at the start include:
- A well structured website
- Tag it up properly; title tags, meta description, alt tags on images.
- All pages are unique
- Link between pages on your website
5. Start off site activity
Along with having a top website, that is optimised well it is important that people and other websites recognise this and share your website and its content around the web. Having your website set up on all major social networks is always a good place to start, as this gives you the opportunity to link back to your website and start generating some buzz.
Always be careful of ANYONE or any SEO “expert” who says “I can get you 200 links per month” or who include any promises regarding volume of links they can provide in any given period of time. Can they do this? Yes, however this is absolutely the wrong thing to do. One thing they will learn is that QUALITY WILL ALWAYS OUTWEIGH QUANTITY!
In most cases, getting loads of other websites linking to you in a short period of time is going to show up as unnatural in the eyes of Google and in worse case scenarios, can result in penalties. The last thing any website wants is a penalty, as it is extremely difficult to fully recover from this.
The important thing is to just have a few good links to start off with that point people to your website. I can help you find the best kind of links that would be suitable to your business if you need help with this.
6. Robots & Sitemap
This might sound a bit technical, and in some ways it is, but there are tools available to help you do this. A robots.txt file is the first place that a web spider, like the Google Spider should go before crawling your website. This lists where your sitemap.xml file is and it lists any web pages or directories in your index that you do not want Google to index. This is often things like account pages, or checkout pages etc.
The majority of the time, the best place for your robots.txt file and your sitemap.xml file to be held is in the root domain, so would be www.yourwebsite.com/robots.txt and www.yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml however this is not always the case.
There are WordPress plugins that generate sitemap.xml files for you, and if not there are a number of tools that generate sitemaps for you around the web if you are not using WordPress. This will provide you with an xml file that you then need to upload to the root domain.
7. Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools, or GWT for short, is a great free tool that Google provides details about your websites’ visibility within Google. This is where you need to go to submit your website and your sitemap.xml file to Google so that they can find out what pages you want to index, and they can start crawling it.
You will need to set up a GWT account, and get it verified, which they provide instructions on how to do when you sign up as there a number of different ways depending on which one suits you the best.
When you are happy with your site, and everything explained above you can start to send the information to Google. This is the first step to achieving many great rankings for your website or websites. When you publish a new page or blog post, you are able to submit individual pages to the index using the “Fetch” function, which is clearly labelled within GWT. There is also an option to remove URLs that you no longer want to show for whatever reason.
GWT can potentially be your best friend, if you treat it right. It is a free tool and will provide you with a lot of information that you probably didn’t know before such as 404 errors, missing tags and many other things. Keep your log in details safe, as you don’t want these falling into the wrong hands.
8. Hire an SEO expert!
All of the above may sound simple, or it may sound gut wrenchingly difficult. Some of it you may be able to do yourself, some you may not. Either way, that is what Shine Search is here for. I can help you to get your website listed on Google to day. If you want me to explain your options in more detail then don’t hesitate to contact me, and we can have an informal chat with no pressure!