Let’s face it: the online stage is a fiercely competitive arena. Unlike traditional advertising platforms, where marketers can physically thrust their messages into consumers’ faces, it can be hard to get yourself noticed on the world wide web.
If you’re feeling frustrated that your website still doesn’t seem to be showing up on Google, it might be worth re-assessing a few design and structural elements.
Some of the key reasons sites don’t rank are:
- The homepage is devoid of content
- The business is tackling a highly competitive keyword market
- The website has violated Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and has consequently been penalised
- Or quite simply, the website is still too new for Google to index
So, what can you do?
Optimise your homepage content. Search engines approach websites in a very different manner to that of visitors. They send a spider to crawl your site, scanning it for keyword saturation and the inclusion of relevant, high-quality content. However, many web designers are inclined to simply slap a beautiful big picture on their homepage rather than accompany it with that all-important text. Unfortunately, this won’t do much good in Google’s eyes, therefore it’s important to ensure you add a healthy dose of well-written content to your homepage that incorporates keywords (i.e. words that relate to your business) and appropriate links to other pages on your website.
Target a less competitive keyword market. It’s important to analyse your keyword competition before writing up those pages of content, lest your website disappears among the millions of similar businesses vying for the same target audience. There are a couple of really nifty tips to guide you towards smart keyword selection – for instance, try adding a few more words to create a keyword cluster tailored to your exact service or product on offer.
Play by Google’s rules. With so many websites being submitted to Google every minute of every day, the search engine giant has to find ways to make sure its users are receiving credible information. Google’s Webmaster Guidelines outline a couple of strict rules that websites must abide by if they want to rank, such as creating original content and providing genuine backlinks. When websites fail to comply, they may be deindexed (the domain is completely removed), penalised (the domain or page still exists but cannot be accessed through direct search enquiries), or sandboxed (your website traffic from Google suddenly drops dramatically).
If your website is new, be patient. The speed of the digital age has created this misconception that everything should happen instantaneously. However, this can’t always be the case – even for one of the biggest tech giants in the world. Due to the volume of websites submitted, Google simply cannot make any predictions or guarantees about when a site will appear in its index; however, to give a rough guideline, it can generally take a week or two for a website to be indexed after a search engine has crawled it.