Can’t find your website on Google? How to be a search sleuth
You’ve had your website built by a developer or designer. It’s a big investment in your business and probably took way longer than you hoped it would but it’s done.
The site is now live and you are waiting for the leads to roll in but…crickets. Nothing. In fact, when you search for your site in a search engine, you can’t even find it. Or, you can find it but it is on the 5th or 6th page of search results when you type in related search terms. So how can anyone else find it?
The reality is that many website design packages include the design basics but exclude a bunch of other key actions that are critical to visibility of your business in organic and local search results.
Getting your website found is a complex process and requires a systematic and long-term approach, especially if you want to outrank your competitors and be found on page one in your region or for certain products or services. However, it is possible to play detective yourself – by working through the five items below, you can carry out your own investigation and hopefully improve results for your site.
1. Get your website indexed
For Google to find your website, it needs to be indexed. This essentially means that the pages on your website are visible to Google and able to be found and displayed in organic search.
While most website platforms index automatically, the timeframes and effectiveness of the process vary. I never trust them and always manually index my sites through Google Search Console. This speeds up the process and gives you control over the timing.
It’s also important to re-index your site after any major content improvements or upgrades (such as adding a new page, service or product range). I generally re-index after adding a new blog post as well.
2. Write customised Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions
Customising your meta titles and meta descriptions is not just best practice these days, it provides critical information that helps search engines display your site in relevant organic search results. The meta title is the blue title that appears first in your organic search listing while the meta description is the more detailed description of the content that is on the page.
Customisation also gives you some control over what search engines displays in search results at a site level and an individual page level. Failing to customise means the site may still be found in search results but how the meta title and meta descriptions appear may be automatically generated by search engines based on information from the page.
Every website content management is different so refer to the guide for your platform on how these can be customised. Some systems have different options for how meta titles can be displayed (for example Site Title – Page Title or simply Page Title). It is best to manually customise these at both site and page levels.
Ideally, this should be done as part of a broader Search Engine Optimisation Strategy and not in isolation. Contact us for a discussion on how an SEO strategy can help improve your organic search results.
3. Set up Google My Business
This one is almost a no-brainer. Google My Business has become an absolutely essential tool for business owners. What is it? It’s the business information that pops up when you search for something on Google (to the right-hand side on desk top and generally at the top of results on mobile), outlining the location, opening hours and other information about the business including a link to the website.
As local search becomes increasingly important in terms of ranking for organic search, having a Google My Business Account is no longer an option, it’s an essential part of doing business online. It provides businesses with a significant amount of extra real estate in Google at no cost. It’s fully customisable so images and logos can be added as well as the latest news about your products or services.
Having a Google My Business account can help to enhance your organic search results. Find out how to set up your account.
4. Review the suggestions for your platform
Most website content management systems (such as SquareSpace and WordPress) have inbuilt suggestions for optimising a website for SEO. While these do not go far enough to make a website really work for your business, they should be completed as a minimum baseline. Some platforms will give you a score out of 100 for SEO. This usually relates to a couple of basic tasks. There is however a lot more to SEO than ticking these boxes which is why I recommend a more structured, long-term SEO strategy.
5. Optimise for local search
If you are aiming to attract customers in a particular geographic area, then optimising your website to be found in local search results is critical.
A study conducted by Google in 2014 found that 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day. Local searches are more likely to lead to purchases than non-local searches. The types of information customers are generally seeking on mobile are business hours, directions to a local store, and a local store address. If your website is not coming up in local searches, it could be it is not optimised to be found in search results for your region. This is especially important for businesses servicing local customers such as trades, service industries and local retail stores.
If you have had a new website built and have transferred a domain from an old site to a new one, the site could potentially lose some ground on organic search initially and may take some time to recover.
Managing all of these elements for your online presence can seem a little overwhelming so if you need someone to do the detective work for you, please get in touch.
If these suggestions have been implemented and your site is still not showing in search results, or not appearing in the first few pages, you may need to engage the services of a super sleuth, an SEO specialist who can troubleshoot any issues and implement a dedicated organic search strategy for your website. That’s us! Get in touch with one of our sleuths and we will be happy to help.