How to appear in search results and on Google
We've all been there...constantly checking Google to see if our site is showing up and wondering where it could possibly be. After all, surely Google should know about what you do and make sure you are shown along side your competitors? Below we take a look at a few of the reasons you might not be appearing in search results, as well as providing a few little tips on what you can quickly do to jump up the rankings.
Does your site have no ranking at all?
The first thing that needs to happen before your site can work it's way up the search rankings is for the search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo and the like) to crawl the site, read the text on it, and understand what the site is about. If you have a new site, the simple answer may just be that Google is yet to crawl the site. If you do nothing, it could potentially be weeks before Google picks it up in one of it's crawls and actually indexes it. Their is no real way to force that crawl, but you can give Google a nudge to make sure it does look at the site. By creating a Google Search Console account, submitting a sitemap and requesting Google 'fetch' the site - you'll be making sure the search engine knows to crawl it.
If your site has been live for a while (months), or still isn't appearing in any search results after a Google Search Console submission, then it's possible there is something on your site telling the search engines not to crawl it. This 'no index' feature may be coded into the site, or it may simply be an option in your content management system you need to make sure is set correctly. Have a look in the backend and see if you can find that option and make sure your site isn't set to not be indexed.
Is your site ranked, but you can't find it?
If you have a pretty unique or clear brand and website address, finding your site by searching it's name shouldn't be too much of an issue, but if you keep searching for your company name and coming up empty - that can be concerning. The first thing you should do is a site specific search with Google - by typing in site:yourwebsiteaddress.co.nz. If the result comes up empty, then your site just hasn't been indexed by Google. If it does show up though, then chances are it's just a long way down the search results so you haven't been able to find it. There are plenty of reasons that may happen - time, not having relevant text on the site, or having an international domain instead of a local domain name (for example, we have seen lot's of companies go for yourname.co instead of yourname.co.nz - .co being Colombia). Making sure Google knows what location you are in will immediately help your results in that location. Along with making sure you have a local domain extension like .co.nz, we'd always recommend you create Google My Business profile - it is definitely a shortcut onto the search results and ensuring your site is crawled.
I can find my site searching my company name, but not generic terms.
This is the last and most common reason we hear of people not being able to find their site in rankings. Alot of people will expect that Google will automatically know what a company does, so show a site in the search rankings for that topic area immediately - and near the top of the results. The reality is Google only knows what you do based on what it is reading on your site. If your site is poorly optimised to relevant search terms for your industry, then you will always struggle to see it appear in those search results. You're also always in competition with other people wanting to appear in those searches, so while a 'do nothing' approach to search engine rankings can work, it generally takes a bit of effort to keep a site appearing in the rankings.
So what do I do?
There is ALOT that goes into search engine rankings (and a load more things to do to appear high in search results) but the above are the basics you should think about implementing. If you need more guidance, or want to get 543 to help you with your search engine optimisation plans, feel free to contact us any time.