Technology is always changing and one of the tech giants of the world absolutely loves to stay at the forefront of that with it’s search engine algorithms. Recently there seem to have been little tweaks to the Google search result engine monthly, weekly or even daily, so we thought we’d just take a quick look back at April and May, have a look at what changed, and put a bit of context around why having a reliable company keeping an eye on your website and SEO is so important.
The big one came in April, with Google confirming it released a ‘broad core algorithm’ update – something they do reasonably regularly throughout the year. So what did that update do exactly? Google claimed that ‘pages that were previously under rewarded’ would see a benefit in the search results. Google has posted on Twitter that it released a “broad core algorithm update” this past Monday. In reality, that saw things like tabloid newspapers lose places, while digital first publishers pop up the rankings. What we can draw from that is that Google is rewarding great, original, online content – so get your blog and article writing into top gear and your site should benefit.
May saw Google confirm a smaller, but no less influential update. Five months ago, the company confirmed that they were going to show longer search result snippets (the little paragraph blurb shown under each search result). In May, they reversed that, pushing the average length of a search snippet back towards the 160 characters it used to be. What Google have indicated is that the search engine dynamically generates snippets based on what it considers to be the most relevant information. That may mean it cherry picks from your longer meta description – so there is no big rush to go back and shorten those descriptions.
That’s just a quick peak into the Google search result looking glass, and shows how often search engine results change. We run monthly SEO campaigns at a low cost for some of our 543 Design clients to stay on top of these changes and keep pushing their sites up the rankings. Get in touch if you think you might benefit.
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.
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] .
What domain name
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.
Our Tech Blog
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!