Original Content Isn’t Enough: How To Get Google To Index Your Site

We always talk about the importance of content marketing, but today we’re here to tell you that just creating original content isn’t enough. Yes yes, we know that “Content is King” and the key to success if communication and engagement with consumers, and the way to communicate is through original content that is written for your readers.

That being said, if you want to rank highly on Google (which you do) and you want to get noticed online, simply creating original and engaging content won’t cut it.

Say hello to SERP; also known as your Search Engine Result Page. It’s basically the holy grail of marketing and what you’re actually talking about when you say “I want to be first on Google.”

SERP Study

See where the red links are? Those sites take up most of the web traffic!

SERP is the listing page that appears when you search something on Google (or bing, yahoo etc). The SERP page is an immediate response to your search and includes items like the page, short description and link. Your goal is to climb higher and higher on the SERP ladder – which basically means to be ranked closer and closer to the top.

There are three components to SERP, but we’re going to focus on the most important one (in our humble opinion): your organic SERP listing.

Just for the record – the other two are the actual search query or string that the user typed and the paid SERP listing which is all about advertising.

Organic SERP listings are based on a lot of the metrics we’ve mentioned in the past – like content – but it is also based on how the search engine ranks your page; is your page relevant to the search terms? Do you have a lot of backlinks leading to your page? Is there relevant social media activity?

If you’re overwhelmed by this, don’t worry. We’re about to explain everything (and eventually get to how to get google to index your site).

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Now that you know all about SERP (or basically enough to get you on the right track), we’re going to talk to you about indexing. One of the most common problems site experience is not being indexed correctly. If you’re not indexed correctly, you basically don’t exist for Google. In slightly more techy terms, this means that the GoogleBot can’t crawl your website and therefore can’t scan your content to see what your site is about or even attempt to index it.

Quick terminology breakdown:

  • GoogleBot – we’re imagining a cute little minion in a google shirt. Are you? Anyways, the googlebot is the robotic software Google deploys to scan websites and documents on the world wide web
  • Crawling – think back to your days as a toddler. And now imagine the GoogleBot doing that to every single website on the web and coming back to momma Google to report its findings
  • Indexing – kind of like the dewey decimal system for Google. It’s basically how Google processes and organizes all the information the GoogleBot found.

 

How to get Google to index your site:

  1. Make sure you have an XML sitemap that google can access.

A sitemap is basically a document on your server that lists all the pages on your website. One would think (or hope) that this would be done automatically, but unfortunately GoogleBot is still a ‘bot’ so you need to help it a bit. If you’re using wordpress to host your site, you can intal one of the Google XML or Yoast XML plugins to have the site automatically index each new page you create. Of course you can use Google’s own XML sitemap generator because the folks over at Google were kind enough to create it for you. After you create your sitemap, be sure to submit it to the Google Webmaster Tools app. This is a free tool for anyone with a Google account and lets you notify Google about all your published pages.

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  1. Install Google Analytics

We mentioned in our previous post that Google Analytics is one of our favorite freebie tools for small business owners, and now we’re here to tell you that Google Analytics is so much more than you though. Google tends to favor its own tools, so by signing up for Google Analytics (it’s free!) you’re kind of waving your hand in the cyberspace telling Google to check you out.

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  1. Create and update social media

You already know you need to update your social media account in order to engage with your consumers. What we’re talking about is actually linking your website to those social media pages. That means add your link to your company Facebook page, Twitter page etc. Since Google loves their own, don’t forget to show Google+ some love (and Google will probably show you some back).

  1. Backlinking is a big deal – you should probably start doing it

100-dollars-for-seo-memeBacklinks are inbound links from external websites that send a link back to your site. Very simple. The more backlinks you have, the more the GoogleBot will say ‘hey, lots of people link back to this site. They must really know what they are talking about; lets pay more attention to them.” Ok maybe not really, but that’s basically what happens. The best way to get backlinks to your site is by sharing content and actually having people reference your site. Don’t be tempted to use a scammy solution. Google will find out and penalize you. Instead, try reaching out to blogs, other sites etc. and ask them (kindly) to link to your site. Usually a simple request plus promise of reciprocation can do a lot.

  1. Share your content on other sites

A great way to get backlinks, and to get noticed by Google, is to create offsite content. What that means is that you should create content that links to your site, but instead of posting it on your site, share it somewhere else! You can share it as a guest blogger, in an online journal, on a social media site – anywhere worthwhile really. Again, don’t be tempted by spammy sites – Google has a “tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are” policy when it comes to spammy sites.

  1. When you do create original content, make sure it’s optimized.

When you’re done creating your masterpiece of original and engaging content (or when you get something you’re happy with from your content writer) you can’t just let it sit in your documents folder. Be sure to upload it to your site and enter all the relevant SEO information. If you’re using a site like wordpress, find an SEO plugin that lets you insert an SEO keyword, SEO title and description that will be pulled up when your site does appear.

  1. Submit your site to website directories

A great way to get your site indexed is by submitting it to website directories. There are a ton of sites out there that serve as wesite directories and let you submit your site (and Google really likes that). Some of our favorites? Aexa, Google+ and Alltop!

 

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