Frustrated that your site isn’t showing up on Google when and where you want it to? You’re not alone.
Having your website show up on Google is one of the most impactful things you can do for your business, with more than 80% of all purchases influenced by a search engine query.
In this guide, we break down why your website isn’t showing up, and why SEO is virtually always the right answer.
Why Your Website Isn’t Showing up On Google
Google can be tricky, with more than 200 minor updates to its algorithm yearly, and dozens of major adjustments, it can be tough to figure out what you need to do to stay ahead of the curve.
Although SEO can be tough to manage on your own, below are the most common reasons why your site isn’t showing up on the search engine:
- Your site might not be indexed in Google
- Your site isn’t well-optimized for search engine crawling and categorization
- Your pages aren’t well-optimized for the keywords you’re targeting
- The keywords your page(s) target are too competitive for your site’s level of perceived authority by Google
Indexing and Google
The internet grows exponentially every day, making it increasingly difficult for Google to keep up with indexing. Luckily, there are some things you can do to help Google do its job better (and faster).
- Create a Free Google Search Console Account HERE.
- Register your sitemap (sitemap.xml) and point Google to where to find it.
- Try adding your URLs to Google and ask them to crawl/recrawl the pages at: http://www.google.com/addurl/
- Build Links to your pages – links on authoritative sites and social media are often crawled faster by Google’s spiders, alerting them to the existence of your pages
Optimize Your Site for Crawlers
Many of the questions about how and when your site shows up on Google all come down to how easy you make it for search engines to crawl your site.
- Make sure that all of your important pages are included in your Robots.txt file
- Be wary of redirect chains (redirects that go to redirects)
- Regularly monitor for and clean up any HTTP errors on your website
- Add URL parameters to Google Search Console so that Google understands that the URLs are for the same page, but use different URL parameters
- Keep your sitemap updated
- Make sure to use Hreglang tags to inform Google about any localized versions of your page(s)
- Be mindful of ‘infinite spaces’, such as a calendar that links to an infinite number of pages or infinite pagination, even if infinite pages don’t exist.
- Disallow Googlebot from pages and actions it is unable to perform (i.e. login pages, contact forms, admin areas, etc.). This can be done in Search Console.
- Canonicalization: make sure Google knows which page is the important version to index
PRO TIP: Make sure you’re not accidentally blocking crawlers from your webpages
If using WordPress, there is an integrated feature that gives you the ability to tell search engines like Google NOT to index your site.
This feature is automatically enabled.
In order to turn it OFF, go to Settings > Reading > then check the box next to the ‘Search Engine Visibility’ option.
Optimize Your Pages for the Keywords They Target
Google’s algorithms might be complicated and complex, but one surefire way to help make sure your site shows up when and where you want it to is to optimize each page for the desired search phrase and/or keyword.
Simple Steps You Can Take to Do Some Basic Optimizations Include:
Make sure that your primary keyword or phrase is included at least once (naturally not stuffed) in the first 100-150 words of text.
Each primary and secondary keyword should be incorporated in the H-tags of your web page to help Google better understand what each section is about.
A whole book could be written about schema, but the basics of it are that certain types of information and types of web pages can be ‘marked up’ with schema (HTML) that search engines can programmatically read and understand.
- More information on how to test your schema can be found here: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/structured-data
- More information on how to write schema for your site can be found here:
Trust and Authority: Backlinks
Google’s algorithms rely heavily on how authoritative and trustworthy your site is. A big part of that has to do with not just how many sites link back to (i.e. recommend) yours, but also the authority and relevancy of those sites.
As part of any SEO strategy, backlinks provide the fuel that ignites rankings, and when combined with highly relevant, engaging, and optimized content, is the 1-2 punch needed to knock out the competition and make your site show up first.