We create a lot of websites for startups and new businesses. High on their list of priorities and expectations is appearing high up on Google. Yet it can be hard to manage expectations, so here’s some very basic information on the subject.
First, let’s tackle those expectations
Google isn’t a directory of websites yours gets automatically added too. Nor is a a directory you can add your site too. It’s a search tool that has to do two things:
- Find your new website by itself, which can take days or weeks.
- Make its own decisions about how high your site should rank in its search results
It has do do this for millions of websites. It also has to do this on a regular basis, as the web doesn’t stay the same for long these days.
What does this mean for you? It means that getting up there on Google’s search results isn’t simple or quick. New websites are at a distinct disadvantage, so some businesses spend a lot of time and effort getting there, or staying there. Your situation could be hard or easy, depending on a lot of factors.
So what should you do?
First, know that Google considers things like:
- How long your website’s been around
- How many inbound links you have from other, established websites
- How well optimised or useful your text and images are
The first two of these aren’t something you can do much about when your site is new, but the third one is something you can, or that we can help you with.
Technical things you can do
1. Create a sitemap – Adding an XML sitemap is a basic step you can take, as it helps Google index your website. If you have a WordPress website the quickest way is via WordPress’s own Jetpack plugin.
2. Use Google’s tools – There are free tools and methods to manually help get your website showing up in searches (beware these can get a little technical though, if you’re not used to dealing with data and technical tools):
- Add your business to Google’s local listings – If you are mostly just targeting searches on your business name, or local searches on a subject, this is one of the best things you can do.
- Add your website to Google’s Webmaster Tools – These are free tools to help you maintain a Google-friendly website.
- Manually add your website or pages to Google – Google lists ways to do this.
Non-technical things you can do
1. Decide on your keywords – There’s little point just making sure just your business name appears in Google. Most potential customers aren’t searching for that (unless they got referred to you without a web address). More useful to you is when they search for what you offer, and find you as a result. So think hard about what that might be and use it consistently in text around your website.
2. Plan regular content – Google is looking for high-quality content that benefits the searcher. It’s not interested in keyword-packed pages as that only benefits you. How does it know what’s good quality? Mainly by the number of other websites or social media posts linking to your website content. Plan to create regular blog posts, or other content that’s useful to your customers. Bonus points for including your keyword phrase/s at least once each time.
3. Build a network – New websites or businesses lack an audience, such as a blog following or an audience on social networks. Having a network of people who will share your links will help improve your Google rankings. And we don’t mean your friends and family on Facebook…