This might be my favorite question a customer has ever asked us. We had launched their website, but they were having a hard time finding it via Google. That even made them think their website wasn’t live (let’s not forget they knew their own domain name).
Here’s the thing. Google is Google. You can’t tell them what to do unless you play by their rules, follow their system, and try really really hard for them to listen to you. Plus, things take time to be crawled, indexed, and updated.
However, there are a few basic steps you can follow when you launch a new website to help get your site be found on Google (just not like 10 minutes later):
- Use meta titles and descriptions. It’s an industry term, so let me explain. Look up at the tab for our page. There you’ll see the title of this blog post and Hexcode Designs. That’s the meta title. If you were to search and find our blog on Google, you’d see a little description to go with the page title. This helps searchers decide whether or not they should click on your link (instead of the 10,000 other results) and it also helps Google know what’s on your page.
- Utilize keywords and key phrases. You don’t want to make this the focus of your SEO strategy, but while Google’s algorithm and functionality moves away from just the keyword, sprinkling a few throughout your page and blog posts helps their spiders understand whether or not to display your content. If you think someone would search for it and you want them to find you if they do, use that within the copy of your website. But for heaven’s sake make sure it makes sense.
- Blog. Yea, I’ll keep preaching this until everyone understands how important it is. I am not even going to try and pretend we’re perfect with this, but the basic point is Google likes fresh content in part because it shows your site is active and has relevant information for its searchers. The easiest way to provide fresh, relevant content is to blog on a regular basis. It’s a great time to use those keywords and phrases, too, and have it be organic and natural.
- Submit your sitemap to Google and install analytics. Another kind of industry-specific thing, but very important. In short, Google really loves itself and loves when you use their tools on your website. After you launch a new website, it’s important to make sure you have a Google Analytics account on your site to monitor and study your traffic behavior, and it’s important to submit the sitemap to Google so it indexes your site faster. After all, you’re basically giving them the skeleton of your site and helping them shortcut so they can crawl it quickly. It’s really a win-win.
The good news is, any time we do a website, we follow these basic steps throughout the process to give you that one step ahead. We see a lot of our competition that won’t even cover the basics like meta titles, and that’s just poor customer service. We may not make you #1 on Google for online shopping, but by golly we can help you get on the search engine and get found by your buyers.