Websites need to attract traffic and convert leads, but how can you achieve the goal if your website is not visible on Google?
Make your brand visible on Google. Lead more consumers into your business.
Exceed your expectation– this guide is long, but it will be worth it!
Steps to take:
1. Verify Website
2. Submit Sitemap to Google
3. Check for Google Penalties
4. Ensure Website is Mobile-Friendly
5. Ensure Website is HTTPS
6. Check Canonical URLs
7. Make Website Load Faster
8. Optimize Site Structure
9. Add an ALT Text to Images
10. Enable Breadcrumb List
11. Optimize Page Titles
12. Create Meta Descriptions for All Pages
13. Revise Page Headings
14. Add Structured Data Markup
15. Optimize Content for Google Featured Snippet
16. Publish High-Quality and Relevant Content
17. Target Long-Tail Keywords
18. Guest Posting
19. Boost Posts on Facebook and Other Social Media Platforms
20. Promote Brand Online
Step 1: Verify Website
Although Google is excellent in finding new websites and content, you can help Google discover your website and content faster by using Google Search Console.
Google Search Console is a compilation of FREE tools and reports by Google. It helps webmasters help improve the performance of their website in SEO and visibility in Google search.
To get started with Google Search Console, you need to add and verify your website. After adding and verifying your website, check for crawl errors. Ensure that Google can crawl and index your pages without issues.
How to add and verify your website on Google Search Console?
1. Create an account on Google Search Console. If you have a Google account or a Google Analytics account, you can use them. It is best to practice having one Google account for search console and analytics.
2. Add your website. Along with the list of pages, click on the search property. There will be a dropdown list of features you can do. Click on add property at the bottom portion of the options. Enter the URL of your website and click continue. Note that four variations of websites– http://, https://, http://www and http://. Add all four variations of your website.
3. Verify website ownership. There are five methods on how you can verify your website ownership– HTML file verification, HTML tag, Google analytics, Google tag manager, and domain name provider.
4. Repeat the process in step three on ALL website variations.
That’s how easy to add and verify your website on Google Seach Console. You can quickly go to settings to check the ownership status, add, delete, or modify the users who can access your web properties.
Step 2: Submit Sitemap to Google
The sitemap is a root folder of the essential files of your website. It contains the list of your URLs or permalinks that the search engines need to know about. The sitemap will not directly influence your search rankings.
However, it helps Google crawl and index your pages and website quickly. Moreover, the sitemap will tell Google which URLs to index and when each page is updated.
Create and optimize the sitemap for SEO and submit it to Google by one of the three available methods– using Google Search Console, robots.txt, command line.
Step 3: Check for Google Penalties
Free or avoid your website from having Google penalties.
If your website violates any of the Google webmaster guidelines, Google may impose manual or algorithmic penalties.
For example, you are manipulating the Google ranking algorithms by purchasing links from low-quality websites because you want to improve your website’s Google search position on Google search. Although you may achieve the results you desire, Google will soon know about it and remove your website from their index.
Thus, before you proceed with the next steps, check your website if Google has penalized it. Take the steps needed to recover from any penalties.
Step 4: Ensure Website is Mobile-Friendly
Websites with higher rankings are mobile-friendly. Most users search on Google through their mobile phones. Thus, if you want to rank higher on Google, you need to optimize your mobile website, following Google’s mobile-first index.
Run your website on Google mobile-friendly test and check if there are issues. Take a step further by optimizing your content for mobile. You have to adjust the meta description length to ensure that the search snippets are mobile-friendly. The images on the content should also be optimized to the right size and resolution, and remove the elements that are not compatible with mobile devices.
Review the Google analytics device reports and improve your website’s mobile performance based on the analyzed different metrics. Metrics include bounce rate, exit page, and time users spent on your pages.
Step 5: Ensure Website is HTTPS
An SLL on a website is a known ranking factor. Google rewards secure websites by increasing their search visibility. Users trust HTTPS websites most. If your website does not have an SSL installed yet, do not skip on this. Check out the guide on how to migrate to HTTPS without affecting your website SEO negatively.
Step 6: Check Canonical URLs
Although these URLs refer to the same website, they are considered two different websites in Google’s eyes. If you think of using the non-HTTPS URLs, you will have four different variations for a single domain.
Thus, you need to inform Google which you prefer, or else it might get confused. You need to set the canonical link element to have it considered by Google.
Follow this HTML code:
<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.bluewaterdigital.com.au/get-found-on-google” />
The HTML tag should be added to all of your website pages that specify the preferred version.
If you need to set up your CMS to respond to URLs that start with “https://www,” then your webpages’ canonical URLs should reflect this.
Do not overlook the importance of canonical URLs. It helps eliminate duplicate content issues and consolidate incoming links to a specified URL.
Step 7: Make Website Load Faster
Users are not the only ones who like a fast loading website; Google appreciates them too. Nobody wants a longer waiting time for a page to load. That’s why Google included loading speed as a website’s ranking factor.
If you aim to be on the first page of Google search results, it has to load as fast as possible. Google considers websites that can load in less than 3 seconds on mobile. That’s not easy to achieve. Web owners may need help from experienced web developers.
Optimize your page loading speed. Start by analyzing the website’s performance with the use of the Google mobile speed test.
Step 8: Optimize Site Structure
Website structure is a critical factor for rankings. However, most webmasters ignore it. Instead, they concentrate more on their website’s visual elements to forget about optimizing its site structure.
A good website structure should have the following characteristics:
- It follows a hierarchical format shown in the diagram above.
- Every page on the website is accessible from the homepage in less than three clicks.
- The website has a simple navigation menu.
- It has SEO friendly URLs
- Content is grouped into logical categories.
Step 9: Add an ALT Text to Images
Most websites have several images on their pages to do the reading and comprehending content easier. Pictures also help webmasters present their products or ideas in a visually appealing way.
Add ALT texts to your images to increase the possibility of ranking on Google image search. The ALT text should describe the image as it is added to the ALT HTML tag.
An example of which is:
If you optimize your SEO images, you have a greater chance to increase web traffic as users can easily find you through related web searches.
Another method to make your website’s navigation structure friendlier to Google and to your users is to use breadcrumb lists.
Breadcrumb trails are the small menu that appears on top of the webpage. It helps the users navigate to the previous step.
Google encourages to use the breadcrumb menu that they even have it in the search results to make the users understand their site structure better.
Step 11: Optimize Page Titles
Perhaps every digital marketer can say that page title optimization is the most critical SEO element. Since the beginning of Google, page titles is one of the SEO factors that hasn’t changed.
You have to create a good page title for your content. It has to describe your page content accurately using the language related to what most users will search on Google.
Page titles that have a closer match to the user’s search terms are most likely clicked. Before you go further, review the page titles for all of your pages and ensure that:
- Each page on your website has a straightforward yet unique title.
- The title length should not exceed 80 characters.
- Keywords should be included naturally on page titles.
Do not overlook the importance of this step. Give time to this task. It is a crucial element that can help your webpages be found easily on Google.
Step 12: Create Meta Descriptions for All Pages
Next to page titles, the meta description tag is another vital element for on-page SEO optimization.
Meta descriptions are shown as search snippets on Google search results. It gives the users an idea of what the page content is about. At the same time, it gives you the chance to advertise your page.
Follow these best practices:
- Create a unique meta description tag for each of your web pages.
- Blend keywords and texts to best describe the page content.
- Do not repeat the title in the meta descriptions.
- Avoid using generic or automated descriptions.
You can check the performance report from Google Search Console to determine which pages from your site ranks on the first page of Google search yet has a slow CTR. Optimize its meta descriptions to attract more clicks.
Step 13: Revise Page Headings
Another SEO element that’s critical in Google’s eye is the page heading. Page headings help Google understand your content better.
A web page can have several headings. When using several headings, ensure that it is organized in a hierarchical structure.
The title page serves as the H1 (Heading 1 tag), and the rest of the headings in the content are H2, H3, and so on.
If you create long-form content, headings make it easier for users to find the information they need. It is useful for readers who only skim read for information.
Take this content for example. The title is set in H1 tags, and the rest of the steps are in H2 tags.
Step 14: Add Structured Data Markup
If you are unfamiliar with schema markup and structured data, they are the modern way to describe your data to search engine crawlers. Major search engines have a set of common rules that webmasters have to follow. This set of rules will make the crawlers understand the context of your content.
Let’s say you have a page that sells an online course. You can use the product schema to inform the search engine about the title, description, and product price. You can inform the search engines by adding codes into your HTML. These codes are known as structured data.
Step 15: Optimize Page Titles
As you have added a structured data markup in the previous step, your pages have a higher chance of appearing in a Google featured snippet. Google featured snippets are shown on top of the results. If your page is featured, it translates to a higher CTR and more web traffic.
Structure your content to secure a featured snippet on Google search. Google will collect pieces of your content and show it on the featured snippet.
Step 16: Publish High-Quality and Relevant Content
All of the steps you did deals with technical and on-page SEO. Another crucial element to have Google search visibility is the quality and relevance of your content. You can create high-quality content if you follow the rules below:
Keyword Research: Do research and look for keywords that your target audience searches for. Create content that answers their queries related to the keyword.
One topic per page: Try to maintain discussing one topic or keyword per page. Do not mix up several keywords on a page. Google will get confused about which keyword you are focusing on.
Create long posts: Long posts allow you to fill in more information. However, please do not make it exaggeratedly long. Create content based on relevance. You can cover a topic or answer a query in 800 words.
Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness (EAT): You have to prove to Google your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Add author bio to all pages, create an about us page, and get backlinks from trusted and related websites to prove your authority.
Step 17: Target Long-Tail Keywords
Every digital marketer and webmasters want to be recognized by Google and easily found on Google. It is possible to have this achievement; you need high volume keywords. You can get the top ranks on Google search for keywords with a great number of monthly searches. Without a doubt, it will have a huge impact on your website.
However, these high volume keywords are highly competitive. It cannot guarantee websites to get on top of Google for those terms. The possibility might have disappointed you, but there’s a way out of this– use long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords have lesser search volume and lesser competition compared to head keywords. Long-tail keywords are search queries that have two or more keywords.
Let’s say the head keyword SEO has a high volume for search queries. Instead of using the head keyword, you can make it into a long-tail keyword: SEO tutorial for beginners.
Using long-tail keywords will guarantee a high rank as it makes up 70% of Google searches. Adjust your content marketing strategy and target keywords that will rank.
Step 18: Guest Posting
We are on the last three steps, and all of these steps have to do with off-page optimization. In off-page SEO, you will promote your website and collect backlinks through guest posting.
What is the guest posting? When you guest post, you:
- Look for websites that are related to your niche. These websites should have high rankings and high authority in Google.
- Have to contact their webmasters and offer useful and relevant content for their audience.
- Insert or add links that point to your website below the content or within the content.
When the guest posts are published, Google will consider the links as votes of trust. It will help improve your page ranking on Google.
Another method to promote your website is through Facebook and other social media platforms.
Create a Facebook Business page. Write a post on Facebook about the published content on your website and use Facebook’s “boost post” feature to promote your posts to your target audience.
If you promote your website through Facebook, it will help improve your website’s Google visibility.
How can Facebook and other social media platforms guarantee your search visibility? Most web users have social media accounts, and they are more active on these platforms. They can easily share your post if they can relate to it.
Step 20: Promote Brand Online
Last but not least, to become visible on Google is through brand promotion. It plays a huge factor in helping your content rank in a higher position on the search results page.
Google loves branding, and they appreciate it by showing the brands that people like in their search results.
Thus, besides the typical factors to have higher SEO rankings, Google scans your website and determines what people think about your brand.
If your brand is discussed heavily and frequently in forums and social networks, your brand will likely do well on Google search.
Moreover, it would be best to encourage your brand’s promotional activities online in your digital marketing strategy. Get as much mention as you can from other reputable websites. Although the last step is indirectly related to Google rankings, it is best to know how to promote your website beyond Google. If you can successfully do it, your website will rank higher than you expected.
How to Avoid Penalties from Google?
Well, the best way to recover from Google penalties is to avoid it in the first place. Most webmasters, especially the new ones, always look for shortcuts on how to get higher rankings. However, their efforts to get higher rankings quickly result in doing things that Google does not like.
If you want to achieve the best results with Google, you have to be patient and play by the rules. Do not believe in easy ways to increase your website rankings. Those tricks might get you in trouble.
The efficient methods on how to have a higher search engine ranking successfully are:
- Publish high-quality content
- Adhere to ALL the webmaster guidelines Google provides.
- Determine and improve the changes that affect SEO.
- Promote websites and content through white hat channels.
If you do these efficient methods consistently for months, you will start to have more organic web traffic. Content with high organic traffic will attract natural links, and it will improve your Google rankings.