How do I get my site on Google? Part I

4 February 08 ,

Upon nearing the conclusion of their website project, many clients have asked me this question. Sometimes, they have searched for their name or company name, and wonder why they don’t see it in the search results. This is understandable, since Google does seem to be so good at finding anything. So why doesn’t a site immediately show up?

Well there are a couple of reasons. I’m not an expert on search engine optimization (SEO), but I’ll share my understanding with you.

First of all, Google doesn’t know about your site unless either 1) you tell it, or 2) its “spiders” find it as they crawl the web. When I created my first website (for myself) back in 2001, even though I submitted it to Google directly, it took several months to be added to their index. Now this process is much better, and as a matter of course I submit all my clients’ sites to Google (along with a sitemap, which I’ll cover in Part II. )

To test whether your site is included in Google’s index, do a search for the full url of your site, formatted like “site:www.norabrowndesign.com”. By including the word “site,” you will be able to see all the pages from your site that Google has indexed.

Secondly, there may be hundreds or thousands of sites ahead of yours in the search ranking, depending on what search terms you use. For example, my name is “Nora Brown” but obviously if I search on “brown,” I may be in the results somewhere…but probably towards the end of the 563,000,000 other listings. If I search on “Nora Brown” however, I have better luck, showing up on the first page and sometimes as the first listing. Similarly, on a search for “brown web design” I’m nowhere to be seen, but with “nora web design,” I come up on the first page.

Thus the uniqueness of your name and site content can have an impact on your ranking for those search terms. It would be a lot easier to find info on an old school chum named “Jocelyn Hertich” than on one named “Steve Jones.”

Read Google’s article for more about how Google indexes sites, or for info about improving your Google ranking, check out How do I get my site on Google? Part II.


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