It can be frustrating when you’re trying to promote yourself online to discover that you can’t even find your own website. How is anyone else going to find you if you can’t find it yourself!
This is a common situation particularly for businesses with a brand new website.
But don’t stress, nothing’s broken and it will show in time but it helps to understand a little about how Google adds websites to its search pages (SERPs).
Before we look at how Google discovers your website and displays it in the search results, how are you trying to find it? Many use Google Search to attempt to open their website directly. This is actually not the correct method. The website name, such as pogostick.co.nz, should be typed into the address bar, not the Google search box.
How does Google find your website?
Firstly a brand new website is just one of thousands going live every day. Each day, an average of 139,344 new websites go live so you’re not the only one competing for Google’s attention.
Of course Google is well equipped to deal with the billions of new web pages it needs to discover, or index. And it will often do that quickly using automated spiders (or bots) that crawl the web.
In a lot of cases the bots find websites without any outside assistance, such as following a link from an existing website in its index to your new site (a good reminder to ask other website owners to setup links to your site).
You can also add it directly to Google using their submission url: http://www.google.com/addurl/ – this sends a request to Google to have your website indexed as soon as possible. The process takes less than a minute to do yourself so avoid companies that offer to submit your site to the search engines for a fee!
All PogoStick websites are submitted for indexing when built using a sitemap xml file – this not only advises Google that your website is ready to be added to its search results but also provides information on which are the more important pages, or which ones may change more regularly.
How can I check if Google has indexed my website?
Google moves quick and a brand new website can often be indexed within a matter of days. The easiest way to check if the index has been completed is to do what’s called a site search.
To do this go to the Google homepage and type this into the search box:
Don’t add a www if your website doesn’t use that prefix.
If you see search results listing pages of your website, this mean Google has indexed your website. If you don’t get any results then there is possibly a problem with Google accessing your site, such as a tag blocking its search bots.
Are you promoting your website?
While it does take time to achieve the magical first page of Google’s search results, it doesn’t come without some hard work and patience. Just because your website is live on the internet Google will not automatically deem it relevant for people searching for whatever your selling. Remember you’re competing with millions of other websites and many of them are already well established online.
It has also been said that Google has a ‘sandbox’ that holds back brand new websites from appearing in search results for several weeks to discourage spammers.
But don’t despair! In time, and with a good online marketing plan, you can carve out a profitable niche for your website. Here are some suggestions to get your site in front of the right people and build up web traffic:
- Consider Google AdWords – This is a fast, effective way to put your website in front of relevant customers, and you only pay when someone clicks your ad.
- Promote your website offline – Tell customers about your new site, run an online promotion or add it to existing signage such as company cars or business cards. Think of all the different ways you can encourage visitors to your site; give them a reason to visit!
- Develop an SEO strategy – This is a long term project but sometimes it pays to get good advice from the get go so you don’t end up wasting time and money with a poor SEO strategy. Many clients tell us they have spent big dollars with SEO companies that have done nothing for them (except take their money) so be careful! Try to verify whatever claims they make and get them to explain clearly what work they will undertake (not just what they hope to achieve – ultimately they have no control over Google search results – they can only try to influence them).
So if you’ve just got a brand new website and can’t find it in Google, don’t panic! Give it time, follow a promotional plan and commit to getting the most from what is an incredibly valuable tool to boost your business.