How To: Get Your Website Noticed By Google
We all want our websites on page 1 of Google. We all want to master SEO and have Big Brother Google notice our awesome websites and the fantastic content and products we’ve slaved over for so long. We want that organic traffic and customers to come rushing into our businesses and overwhelm us with work.
The unfortunate truth is that if it were that easy, page 1 would be 1000 entries long! There are no quick solutions here.
SEO, Search Engine Optimisation, is a long game.
But first you need to set it up right and that means becoming familiar with Google’s Search Console.
1. Is your website on Google?
Do this simple test to see if Google is already aware of your site or not. Type into the Google search - site:yourwebsite.com, eg site:lilanigoonesena.com
If your site comes up, awesome!, skip ahead to #2 below. If not, then you can either wait around for Google to find your site, which it eventually will, especially if you’re loading fresh content onto it regularly. Or, you can speed things up by registering your site yourself. Don’t worry, this process is very quick and simple!
Go to http://google.com/submityourcontent and start with the first option - Add your URL.
2. Verify your website with Google Search Console
The Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) is where you’ll find your Google Analytics information, to track the performance and engagement of your website. There’s a bunch of other tools there too.
Recently Google announced that it's about to roll out a whole new analytics interface which is great because it’s all a bit boring and difficult to navigate at the moment.
Now to verify your website. You’ll need a google account to do this.
Click to get into Google Webmaster.
Verifying is not quite as simple as clicking a box that says “Yes, that’s my site”. You’ll need to will need to either be able to access the backend of your website as an administrator, or your domain name provider account.
Click “Add a property” or “verify” next to your website name.
You’ll be given 4 options. I usually pick the Google Analytics tracking code method and manually copy and paste the google tracking number into the backend of the website.
3. Submit your sitemap
A sitemap is the layout of your website with all its pages. It’s important so that Google can see if you’re making changes to your pages and update them.
If you’re with Squarespace, your sitemap is simply http://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml.
Lots of platforms, including Squarespace and Wordpress automatically update your website’s page information with Google every time you make changes, so you don’t need to.
You can add a sitemap by going to the Google Search Console > Crawl > Sitemaps.
4. Consider your page layout
Google discovers the pages of your site just as a reader would, by following links on your website. So make it easy for Google to discover your content through a clear structure of navigation menus, internal links and clear page titles and descriptions.
RELATED POST: Squarespace: How to Optimise Your Site For SEO
5. Produce quality, regular content
Googlebots are constantly crawling the internet looking for fresh content and reporting back it to the mothership. So, the more you update your website and its content, the more your pages will pop up in the googlebots’ sweeps.
After all, wouldn't you prefer to visit a website with lots of new and relevant content than one that was last updated in 2015? You betcha. And Google is no different.
Try to produce new and relevant content regularly for your website, through blogging, a news page or even a linked social media newsfeed. And Google will reward you for being a happening and useful website with more search results and a better ranking.
And every time you write a new post or update your page content, let Google know. Sure, they'll find it eventually but you may as well give them a heads up that your site is alive and kicking.
Hop onto the Google Search Console > Crawl > Fetch as Google. Type in the URL and click Fetch and Render. When it's loaded, click Request Indexing. Bear in mind that Google is now prioritising mobile sites.
6. Start link building
Link building is simply building links between your website and someone else’s. It’s one of the ways Google checks the validity and relevance of your site. It’s easy to get tonnes of normal links but backlinks are a little tougher.
There’s loads of ways to get regular links between your site and others. Blogging, social media and commenting are just a few.
Every time I write a blog post, I include links to other sites and resources. This post has 10 links in it already!
Posts on social media don't count as regular links. Which is a huge bummer. But what social media can do is draw readers back to your site. As well, readers can link to and share it among their networks. It’s like a ripple effect and the higher the level of engagement and sharing, the more SEO juice comes trickling back to your website.
Finally, commenting on other people’s websites or blog posts, especially through an account like Disque, links your site to theirs. This is why it’s really important to make sure your social media profiles are correctly filled out with your website URLs included.
Backlinks are links that connect from other sites back to your own. It’s like an independent verification; another site trusts you enough to link to your site.
One great way to get good quality backlinks is through your work.
If you’re in any form of service industry, you will very likely have online content floating around the internet in one form or another. Blog posts, articles, photographs, websites, logos, etc. If you’ve worked for an online business, really try to get your byline or credit on that website as a "follow link" which connects back to your website.
The bigger and more established the business, the better the backlink quality.
Say, for example, you write articles for a big newspaper like the Sydney Morning Herald with millions of readers. They then republish your bylined story on their online site. Google considers this a good quality backlink.
In my work, I always ask my clients to let me put a credit on their websites that links back to me. It used to be the fashion to put site credits in the footer but now Google finds that too spammy so I pop it in the About or Disclaimer pages. Similarly, I link to other businesses who I used to develop my own website in my disclaimer page:
7. Get informed
Google itself works hard to support its users in their journey through its ginormous overload of information. Check out the free learning resources at the Webmaster Academy for a start. There's also Kate Toon's SEO courses, Moz, and loads of other online courses and training.
Start making some noise on Google!
About the author: Lilani Goonesena is an Australian freelance writer, SEO copywriter and Squarespace web designer based in Vientiane, Laos. She loves boosting freelancers and small businesses with web design, SEO content and digital marketing strategy. She writes an awesome weekly newsletter on digital marketing, social media, blogging, web design and "all that online stuff". Lilani also blogs at the delectable Eat Drink Laos, just for fun.