Why isn't my site showing on Google?
One of the most common questions we get asked when we put a site live is "why can't I find my website on Google?" It's a natural enough question - we think it's entirely understandable that once your site is live you'll want to be able to find it. Unfortunately, the reality isn't quite as instant as we'd all love it to be!
It's important to remember that while Google is smart, it's still trawling millions of websites every day. It finds those websites, tries to decide what they are all about, then compares them to other websites in similar topic areas to decide which are the most relevant. After doing all of that it decides an order to put the websites into and presents that back to us as our search results. It's very clever stuff.
The first thing that needs to happen is for Google to find your website address and acknowledge your site exists at all. Over time this will happen automatically...in one of Google's many crawls across the internet it'll find your new url/domain/website address and put it into it's database. If you want to speed that process up, you'll need to submit your site to Google using their Webmaster Tools (ask your web designer about these, or just Google "submit site to Google"). If you've got a really unique company name like "Jiggy Jumpy Jobs" and your website url is unique as well ie "jiggyjumpyjobs.co.nz", then pretty much as soon as Google has crawled your site you'll be able to search "Jiggy Jumpy Jobs" and your site will pop up at the top of the list. However, if you have a generic company name or website address (eg "New Zealand Jobs" - newzealandjobs.co.nz), then you'll have to wait longer for your site to appear high in the search results. Why? Because Google will compare you against all the other New Zealand Job websites out there.
Once Google has done an initial crawl and your site has made it into their database, you'll be eager for it to move up the rankings in the important search terms your company works in. So Jiggy Jump Jobs will obviously want to hit the top of that New Zealand Jobs search, because that will get alot more search hits (and potential customers) than just a jiggy jumpy jobs google search. That's where online advertising and in particular search engine optimisation comes in. By saying the right things in the right places and constantly monitoring your website you can try to shortcut to the top of those important results. It's something that can't really be covered in one blog post, and you'll usually need some expert advice on it, but it's definitely worth considering.
The summary and tips
Posts on Google My Business
If you have your website on Google My Business, earlier this month you may have received an email giving you the opportunity to run specials and deals on your business listing. This is a new feature for most, so we thought we’d just quickly run through how you make those posts, and what they might best be used for.
First the how:
So why would you use it?
At it’s core it’s just another way to get your key message out there. The idea behind the feature is to let businesses quickly and easily share specials or promotions – potentially even on a daily basis. At the end of the day it’s up to you though, you can showcase your top products, share an event, or even try to get more sign ups to your e-newsletter if that’s your goal.
Should we do it?
The question really is why wouldn’t you do it. It’s free and it’s easy to setup and change. How much you use it will be more the question, and that will all come down to your business time allocation.
NZ Google Shopping
Over the last few days there have been headlines hitting the major news outlets that Google Shopping will now be offered to New Zealand businesses. As with any big development in the Google world, that could present a big opportunity for online retail businesses (big or small), so here is a quick run down on what you need to know.
The first question - do you sell your products?
This is the major one. If you don't have some sort of e-commerce platform, you can probably stop reading now and be happy you've done your due diligence! Google Shopping effectively puts you products straight into the search results in a product carousel (see the screenshot from Google's page below). In our opinion, getting into that newsfeed with your quality product, at the right price, should give an immediate bump in sales.
For those companies that sell products in store, but don't have an e-commerce website, the platform might still be useful, but because you might not have the structure that an e-commerce site gives you for setting up with Google Shopping, you might find it a bit trickier to get to work for your benefit. That said, there are local targeted adverts that include stock numbers nearby if you do go to the effort - which should help get people through your shopfront doors.
How does it work?
Google will basically take all the important data about your product - the image, the price, the name of your store, where you are located, product deals, as well as product reviews (if you have them) and present them at the top of the search list in a carousel format. To do that, you'll need to tell Google what to look at - creating a Merchant Account and 'hooking up' your products to the Google brains trust. The technical way to do that is using an API, which you'll generally need a developer or someone experienced with API's to hook up, but Google does offer you the ability to upload directly with a file that you download straight from your e-commerce platform. With that set up, you'll also need to hook up your AdWords account and create a Shopping campaign. To find out more it's probably best to have a dig around Google's explanatory site, or chat to someone in the know.
Does it cost?
Like everything Google - the answer is yes and no. No, it won't cost you to sign up for a Merchant Account, and by doing that you'll have at least given your product information to Google. However, YES, it will cost for you to advertise that shopping info in Google Shopping. It's basically a more direct version of AdWords advertising (pay per click), except with your product front and centre.
Is the juice worth the squeeze?
This is the question we always ask with any type of advertising. How much time and money will be spent on any campaign, versus the potential upside. Google Shopping falls into an interesting category. We definitely see huge potential upside, but if you don't have your product pricing, and product offering right, then that upside will largely fall flat anyway. There is also a fair amount of setup that will go into the campaign, and to do well you'll probably need to monitor it quite heavily - it won't be a set and forget type thing. So it all comes down to the time factor. Can your time be better spent on another aspect of your business than on this type of advertising? That'll be a decision each business owner will end up having to make themselves, but it is definitely worth a serious look for all online stores.
Why doesn't my site show on Google
It's been a crazy couple of months in the business world as many of us start the year wanting to get ahead of the curve and notch off a few tasks that got put off in 2016. For a lot of people that has meant starting new businesses and creating websites to help publicise their new idea. We love working with entrepreneurs and business people that are just starting out - they are absolutely full of enthusiasm and excitement that becomes infectious along the creative journey. However, with that enthusiasm comes a tendency to look for immediate results and an expectation that sales and growth happen straight away. We totally get it - when you start a company you have a sense of belief that on day one orders and sales will come walking through the door (or flying into your email), but as most of us in business can attest, there is alot of hard graft in getting a company going - and creating a business venture is no different. So today we want to answer one of the most common questions we get from new business owners the day of, or day after, we put their website live - "I just searched google, why isn't my website showing?"
Why isn't my new website appearing in searches?
I suspect as you read this some of you will have a knowing chuckle at this point....most of us have probably been in this position. As customers and consumers, when we search for something on google, it shows it to us straight away - so naturally our assumption is that when OUR website goes live, it'll get shown to everyone else straight away as well! Unfortunately - that's not quite how the internet works. To use the Yellow Pages analogy I've thrown on this site a few times, if you were to open a store halfway through the year and get a new landline, that landline wouldn't appear in the hardcopy version of the Yellow Pages straight away... the Yellow Pages would need to find out about your new number, then have it printed in the next version of the book. The internet works the same way - just alot faster. When a website is put live, Google doesn't know about it immediately, so it can't automatically put it into search results. Rather, search engines regularly crawl the internet sniffing out new pages and new content to add to their results. Your site won't register with a search engine in any form until that search engine finds it on one of it's crawls.
How often does Google crawl sites?
How often Google crawls sites varies alot. For a big news outlet, Google will potentially be crawling the site every few minutes or seconds, whereas for a local business the time between crawls can be days - meaning new sites and changes to websites can take a painful amount of time to appear. There are a few things you can do to speed up this process:
But I want to hit the top for certain search terms now!
If you realise the value of a google search, you'll want to hit the top of the results of the keywords in your industry...and you'll want to do it fast. So how can you do that? We tend to say one thing outright - there is no guarantee of hitting the number one spot in Google (and anyone telling you they can get you there fast is probably doing something that will damage your site rankings long term). What you can do is give your site the absolute best opportunity to move up the rankings you can through doing some organic search engine optimisation (basically saying the right things in the right places on your site). We help our clients with this for a $150 per month fee, or offer a lower rate to give you access to a search engine optimisation tool that will help you monitor your own SEO if you want to give it a go yourself. Either way we're always happy to have a chat - get in touch with [email protected].
And last of all - there is a cheats way to get onto that search list quickly - but like everything these days it costs. Google Advertising can shortcut your journey onto the result list for your major keywords, but you do have to pay for it, and when you stop paying, your result drops off the search results page. That said, given it will only costs you hundreds, versus the thousands you can end up paying in conventional advertising, it can definitely be worth the investment. As always, we're happy to help out here as well!
All in all, when your web designer puts your site live, cut them a little bit of slack and don't expect to Google for your company 5 minutes after it goes up and expect to see your site in search results! You'll get there eventually, and if you employ a few SEO techniques well, you might even be able to hit the top of some search lists in your industry.
Submitting your site to search engines
One of the questions we get asked quite regularly when we put a brand new site live is "I've just typed the name into google and it isn't showing up - why not?" It is a fair question, when someone creates a website for a new company there is an expectation that if they search for themselves, they'll be able to find themselves. Unfortunately it is not quite as straight forward as that.
We often use the phonebook as a great analogy for search engines. In this case, if it was twenty years ago and you had just set up shop with a new company, you'd have organised a new landline, with a new phone number on it. Now, even though that phone number exists, the phone book may have already been printed, and your number obviously wouldn't appear until a new print of the phone book was put out. That was a fairly established logic, but in a world where we expect instant search results, and incredibly fast feedback, there is also often the impression that your website will automatically appear on the internet.
To put it simply, search engines need to first find your site, then look through it, before they put the site into search results. This will eventually happen, google as an example is constantly crawling the net, but there is ALOT of information out there for it's algorithms to work their way through, so it can take time to find your site, and register it on search engines. There are ways to shortcut this process however; you can submit your website address to be crawled through google or bing, and it's definitely advisable to make sure you have a google my business profile established.
You'll find that the first time your site appears you are likely to only find it if you search specifically for your company name/website name, even if you have submitted the site for a crawl and got your google my business profile up and running. The challenge then really starts - figuring out how your site can start to appear in searches for products/services that are relevant to your business and knowing what those relevant searches are.
Just like getting a phone number into a phone book, having your website appear immediately in search results is not something that is likely to happen overnight, but if you do the right things you might just be able to shortcut the wait, and eventually start to appear in search results that will be hugely beneficial to your business.
Google My Business
Every business gains huge benefits from being at the top of the Google pile...but getting there is easier said than done. The checklist for a well optimised site for Google can be pretty huge, but the first step is a really significant and easy one to get right. Tell Google who you are and where you are based. Simple right?!
This one is actually brilliantly simple thanks to Google continuing to refine their user interface for this side of things. Simply head to https://www.google.co.nz/business/ and have a search for your company name. Google will either find it in their maps database, or not - either way you'll be able to 'claim' your business, update the profile and make sure all your contact details are correct. You'll be able to link a Google + business account, add photos, hours of business and your logo, and it should all take you only half an hour or so - depending how detailed you'd like to be.
Doing well on Google is complicated - but it doesn't necessarily need to be hard. The above is a great first step, if you'd like to drill down deeper into your Search Engine Optimisation, just email [email protected] .
Not everyone has the budget to employ a high-flying search engine company to get their website off the ground. Below are our tips on what YOU can do to get your website SEO ready. If this all seems a bit too much and technical for you, 543 Designs can certainly help out and give you the boost you need.
GOOGLE WEBMASTER TOOLS
This is a simple but important first step. One which 543 Designs are more than happy to help you with. If you want to do it yourself though - here are your instructions:
Once you've verified your website lets submit a a sitemap in Google Webmaster Tools. This lets google constantly check your site for updates to its structure, and tells Google where everything is on your site. After a few days, Google will start indexing your site.
Alternatively, from the Google Webmaster Tools dashboard, click the drop-down menu called 'Crawl' and then select 'Fetch as Google'. Enter your URL, click 'Fetch' , submit the result to the index and the site should be indexed in minutes.
If you want to be truly thorough, you can also index the site with Bing Webmaster Tools. It is a similar process, but Google covers so much of the internet traffic it's more a "value add" than a necessity.
ANTI VIRUS VERIFICATION
This is an often forgotten step, but verifying your website with Norton and McAfee can be very important. Put simply, people are more likely to click through to a safe site, and Google will push you up the search rankings if your site is acknowledged as safe.
To verify your website with Norton:
To rate your website with McAfee:
Backlinks help search engines know that your website is popular. You should try and get as many people as possible to link to your website. Aim for quality links, if you have links to your website from other websites that Google sees as reputable, your search ranking should jump up. Similarly, if you have links to your website from disreputable, spammy websites, Google will penalize your website. Ask around common companies and websites and ask to have your website included in exchange for them including yours.
Major databases like the Yellow Pages are a good place to start being listed - have a search for relevant databases and directories to be included in. These may be worth checking out: 543 Designs will generally link to your website as an example of our work, and in return include a link in the footer of your website back to us!
The 543 Designs team have done what we can for you in terms of speed. Check out our blog on Images to make sure any uploads you make are helping the cause, and our blog on Cloudflare as a little extra step you can make to get the site super speedy.
Keywords' refers to words that people tend to search for. To find out what people tend to search for in your subject area use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner.
Be sure to list your company with Google Business and claim your address to pop up in any local area searches. This is how you get on "the map" when an individual search for something in a particular area in Google.
SEARCH FOR SEO TIPS & SEO TOOLS
By no means let this blog be total gospel and the only SEO research you do! Hit the web, google SEO tips and see what some of the pros have to say. You might be surprised at how easy it is to take simple actions that pump up your search result and help out your businesses profitability.
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The founder of 543 Design & Online gives his thoughts on everything web and branding.
We're always happy to have a chat about anything you read on here - just get in touch!