When it comes to online visibility, Google undoubtedly reigns supreme. But what happens when your painstakingly crafted website fails to make an appearance on the search engine giant? Frustration sets in, doubts arise, and questions start swirling in your mind.
Fear not! In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind the mysterious absence of your website from Google’s search results and provide you with an actionable eight-step checklist to ensure that your website gets the recognition it deserves in 2023 and beyond.
1. Verify Your Website with Google Search Console
Google Search Console (GSC) is a free tool provided by Google that helps you monitor your site’s presence in Google’s search results. Verifying your website with Google Search Console is the first step towards ensuring that Google can find and index your site.
Let’s say you own a Costa Mesa-based bakery called ‘Costa Cakes’; you should verify your website with Google Search Console to ensure that your delicious cakes and pastries can be found by potential customers on Google.
- First, go to Google Search Console and sign in with your Google account.
- Add your website as a property.
- Verify your website by following the instructions provided by Google. You can verify your website using several methods, such as uploading an HTML file to your website, adding a meta tag to your homepage, or using your domain name provider.
2. Submit Your Sitemap to Google
A sitemap is a file that lists all the web pages of your site (such as blog posts, categories, tags, author pages, etc.) that you want search engines to crawl and index. Submitting your sitemap to Google helps its crawlers find and index your web pages more efficiently.
- Create a sitemap for your website. You can use an online sitemap generator or plugins such as Yoast SEO if you are using a content management system like WordPress.
- Bear in mind that you should have set up your GSC account before submitting your sitemap to Google. Go to ‘Sitemaps’ under ‘Index’ in your GSC dashboard and enter the URL of your sitemap.
3. Check for Crawl Errors
Crawl errors occur when Google’s crawlers are unable to access or index a page on your website. These errors can prevent your website from showing up on Google.
- Go to Google Search Console and check for crawl errors under ‘Pages’ in the ‘Indexing’ section.
- Fix any crawl errors that you find under the “Why pages aren’t indexed” category. Common crawl errors include 404 (Not Found) errors, server errors, excluded by the ‘noindex’ tag, and blocked by robots.txt errors.
4. Optimize Your Website for SEO
This is the common step that many new site owners ignore. Performing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a pretty basic process to make your website Google-friendly. A well-optimized website is more likely to show up on Google.
- Use relevant keywords in your content, meta titles, and meta descriptions.
- Optimize your images by using descriptive file names and alt tags.
- Use internal links to link to other relevant pages on your website.
- Use external links to link to authoritative websites.
- Structure your content with H2s, H3s, H4s, bullet points, etc.
5. Check for Duplicate Content
Duplicate content can negatively affect your site’s visibility on Google as it can confuse search engines about which version of the content to index and rank.
- Use a tool like Siteliner or Copyscape to check for duplicate content on your website.
- Rewrite any duplicate content to make it unique.
6. Make Sure Your Website is Indexed
At times, despite submitting a sitemap, Google may choose not to index your site’s URLs. If this sounds like your case, you should consider submitting each URL to GSC.
To check what pages have been indexed by Google, you can run a ‘site: search’ on Google. For example, let’s say your website is costacakes.com; you can do a search for site:costacakes.com on Google. You will find the number of URLs that have been indexed.
If certain URLs are not indexed, submit them to Google for indexing via Google Search Console one after one. Go to ‘URL inspection’ and enter the URL of your website.
7. Check Your Website’s Loading Speed
A slow-loading website is nothing but a conversion killer and can negatively affect your site’s visibility on Google. Google uses page speed as a ranking factor, so it is important to ensure that your website loads quickly.
- Use a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix to check your website’s loading speed.
- Optimize your website’s loading speed by compressing your images, minimizing your code, and using a fast and reliable hosting provider.
8. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to check if your website is mobile-friendly. Make your website mobile-friendly by using a responsive design, optimizing your images for mobile devices, and making your buttons and links easy to click on a mobile device.
By following this 8-step checklist, you can diagnose and fix the issue and improve your website’s visibility on Google. Remember, it may take some time for your website to start showing up on Google, so be patient and persistent. If you are still unsure of how to proceed, consider working with Tusk Creative Studios to ensure your site’s visibility.