So, you’ve built a website for your business or brand. You’ve spent countless hours making sure it looks just right, either building it yourself or working with a designer. You’re thrilled with how it looks and how it reads, plus you’ve gotten great images and nailed the perfect logo. There’s just one major problem.
Your website isn’t showing up on Google.
Now you’re frustrated because nobody can find your website, and if nobody can find your website, nobody can find your business. After spending all that time and possibly money setting up your website, you want it to be a tool to draw customers in.
How do you get listed on Google? It isn’t about what you are doing, but rather it’s more about what you aren’t doing. This is by no means an exhaustive list of what Google specifically looks for when deciding which websites to rank higher, but fixing up your website to these standards will definitely help improve your ranking.
1. Google hasn’t indexed your website
How would you know if Google hasn’t listed your website? Do a quick Google search by using this prefix: site:yourwebsite.com. Don’t include the “https://” or “www” when searching. If your website comes up in the search results, then you’re fine, and your website is listed. However, if you aren’t showing up at all, then Google likely hasn’t indexed you.
If your website is brand new, the reason you might not be able to find it on Google is that Google simply hasn’t indexed your website yet. It will eventually happen on its own, but it might take a couple of weeks. You can speed up the process by entering your website into the Google Search Console.
If your website is not new, make sure you’re allowing search engines to index your site. Some DIY website builders like Wix have an option in the settings tab to allow indexing, so make sure that box is ticked. If you don’t get Google index you, how can you be found through a search?
2. Your website isn’t mobile-friendly
It’s almost impossible to argue that mobile usage is overtaking desktop since 87% of people say they browse and search for products to buy online via their mobile devices. Google penalizes websites that aren’t mobile-friendly, so double check your website is responsive with their mobile-friendly Test tool. It will tell you if your website passes or fails the test.
If it fails, what can you do to remedy the situation? If you’ve built your website using a WordPress theme, you may be able to buy a plugin to make it responsive, or just simply use a new theme that is responsive. If you’ve worked with a designer, talk to them about making it responsive, and hopefully, it won’t cost you too much to do. There is a chance it could be worth it to just start over rather than convert an old website, but regardless, it’s incredibly important to have mobile-friendly designs for both Google ranking and user experience.
3. Your content isn’t optimized
When writing your website content, did you take search engine optimization into consideration? You need to have a keyword strategy for your content so that Google can index your website according to what users—your potential target market—are searching for and what exact words and phrases they’re using.
You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to help with your Search Engine Optimization strategies by finding out which keywords people are using to search and then incorporating them naturally into your content. Be careful of keyword stuffing, since search engines have started penalizing websites for overtly filling content with keywords. This technique should see more traffic driven to your website.
4. Your meta and title tags aren’t optimized
Every page on your website has its own set of meta tags which need to be optimized so you can tell Google and other search engines what the content is all about. Search engines use metadata to figure out—and tell other users—what your website is, so without optimized tags, they won’t know what your site is for. This could deem it a low-quality website, and push it down on the rankings.
Additionally, metadata shows up in search results and is usually the first content people searching will see before deciding to click through to your site. If you don’t provide them with information, they won’t know what you’re offering them.
Title tags are just as, if not more important for impacting search rankings. Make sure you’re including keywords you want to rank for, keep the length under 55 characters, and use short sentences.
5. You don’t have any backlinks
Backlinks are exactly what they sound like – a link that points back to your website. It adds credibility to your website, showing Google and other search engines that your content is worthy of other websites pointing to it.
Backlinks, also known as link building can be built up very strategically, and while you can’t necessarily control the number of backlinks your website receives, there are still a number of tips and tricks to earn more. By writing articles around the link, you can strategically put your link on other websites that already are reliable sources so you can try to gain the attention of their audience that you might never have reached before.
The more backlinks you have, the more chance you have of reaching more people but remember the importance of quality over quantity. You need to ensure that the articles that your link is included in are well written. It also helps when they are written by an expert of that particular subject.
By building up this credibility amongst other sites, you can be rest assured that more and more customers will become aware of who you are and what you sell. It’s also a good idea for a long-term strategy to focus on creating engaging content that others find useful and want to share.