A Quick Guide to Making your Website More Visible to Search Engines
Is your website getting the search result spotlight it deserves? Here's what you should know about increasing your visibility in online searches.
Think of the last time you tried to find something online. Chances are, the first place you turned to is Google. We all rely on Google’s powerful search engine to essentially help us run our lives. Can you imagine a life without being able to source information within a few easy clicks on Google? If you run a website, you need to consider how people are using search engines to find you, and whether you’re doing enough to be visible at all.
How can I make my website more visible on Google?
After you publish your website you need to ensure your audience can find it online. If they know your URL, then finding it clearly won’t be a problem. If they don’t, however, you have to make sure your website is visible in search engines — achieving this is trickier. The first step in making sure that your website shows up Google as well as other search engines is to let them know that your website exists in the first place. And, if you want your site to show up in the search results at all, then it needs to be indexed.
What is indexing?
When your website is indexed, it means it’s been added to Google. In essence, Google discovers new web pages by crawling the web, and then they add those pages to their index. If Google doesn’t index your website, then you’re pretty much invisible and won’t show up in any search results. Website indexing is a process all search engines use to comprehend the function of your website and each page on that website. This is process is completed by a bot (each search engine has its own). Search engine bots analyse the HTML code of your website, among more than 200 other conditions and parameters. Of all of those, the three most important ones are:
- Metatags (description, title, h1, keywords, p) and their appropriate layouts.
- Link building
- The speed of your website (how quickly it loads)
- User experience (namely mobile friendliness)
To find out how exactly to add your website to Google’s index, read on below.
Why is my website not showing up on Google?
The process of indexation can take from weeks to months, that’s if you wait for it to happen naturally. Normally, Googlebots re-index all websites within 45 days. If the website has a lot of pages, then it’s likely that not all of those pages will be indexed simultaneously, but rather over several crawls conducted by the bot. And, if your website lacks something within its code that does not agree with the search engine bots, the indexing process can take even longer.
So, if you’ve recently published your website, you can expect to wait a little while until it begins to show up in search engines. To speed this up and start showing up in search engine results as soon as possible, you need to manually add your website to Google’s index.
How can I speed up the process of search engine indexing?
If you want to show up in search engines ASAP, your best bet is to sign up with Google Search Console. This is a tool that helps you measure your site’s search traffic and performance, fix issues, and make your site show up in Google search results. When you use Google Search Console, you’re effectively telling Google that you’ve added something new to your site and that they should take a look at it.
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How can I add my website to Google?
Follow these instructions in Google Search Console to add your website to Google.
Step 1. Head over to https://search.google.com/search-console/.
Step 2. Log in (you must be registered with Google Search Console).
Step 3. Enter your website’s address on the left-hand side and click ‘add property’.
After you’ve done this, enter your address into the right block and press ‘continue’.
Step 4: Confirm your domain rights. The easiest way to do this is via an HTML tag (although you might need a web developer’s help for this), however there are other options. Pick the right one for you:
Step 5: Once your website authentication is complete, you’ll receive a notification.
It’s also important to check whether Google has permission to index the website. You can do this by checking the text within the file robots.txt. To do this, enter the following address in your browser: url-your-site/robots.txt. There, you’ll find something that looks like this (it can be bigger or smaller depending on the size of your website):
You need to ensure that you don’t see ‘Disallow’ within this file. ‘Disallow’ means that search engines don’t have permission to index your website. If this is the case, contact your web developer and request for them to remove it.
Done! You’ve successfully added your website to Google’s index.