It’s the biggest F in the FAQ of SEO. The most frequently asked newbie question: “How can I get my website indexed by Google?” The answer is simple. It will get indexed on its own if it’s any good and you do any promotion.
As Neil Patel puts it, “You can take the ‘tortoise’ approach – just sit back and wait for it to happen naturally.”
Like all things in life, you had best read the fine print. Those are two huge “ifs”. Let’s take a look at each one.
If it’s any good. “But of course it’s good,” you bristle. “I just paid a web designer $2,500 to make it good.” Well, yeah. Let’s agree that your 5-6 pages of product offerings, contact details and sales pitch are very good at what they do. You have a great online pamphlet to sell your products.
That is not Google’s definition of good.
“Google wants to send people to websites they will like. Websites they find useful. The last thing Google wants is somebody hitting a back button, because they did not find what they were searching for,” explains SEO specialist ErenMcKay.
Very few people will type in a search for “that guy’s online pamphlet”. Your site will be “good” in Google’s eyes if a few things happen:
- The code is clean.
- The site is responsive (mobile friendly).
- You haven’t blocked Google by accident.
- Other people think it’s good.
And that’s where the other “if” comes in.
If you do any promotion. When you do promotion, people see your website. When they see your website, they might mention it on social media. Or they might link to it from their blog or website. Those social media mentions and blog links give Google something to follow and find your website.
If your website has none of these, it’s an orphan. If Google sees several of them, that’s a signal that this is a good website.
If it has clean code.
If it’s responsive.
If…yes, that’s right. Back to the first “if” again.
So it certainly helps to have some content on your site that is actually interesting or useful. Unless your product is so original and amazing that people can’t help but talk about it, your product is not content.
What sort of content would work?
- lists of tips
- case studies
- how-to instructions
- trivia related to your niche
- ideas on how to use the product
- non-promotional video of the product in use
Let’s suppose you don’t want an interesting website full of great content and you don’t really care about the code, as long as the website can be seen. How do you get indexed in Google?
Before going any further, let me state very clearly that even if you do nothing right, Google is capable of indexing your website.
A number of years ago, I was involved in setting up a website on a development server. I don’t recall the reasons, but we did not want Google to index it before its time. We had it safely tucked away. The only way you could find it would be if you knew the address and had the password. Yes, we had the site password protected.
And Google indexed it anyway!
It’s like Google was playing a game. “Think you can hide from me, eh? I don’t think so.”
And so, pages were indexed, even though nobody could view them without a password. That sort of thing is not supposed to happen. I don’t recommend password protecting your website to get it indexed by Google.
Google generally doesn’t index orphan websites. Instead, here are some quick and dirty ways to help Google find your website:
Neil Patel’s top piece of advice is to start a blog. He calls blogs “hard-working SEO machines”. I could not agree more. Check out this graph that he published.
Create a social profile, such as Twitter or LinkedIn, where you get a link to your website right in the profile. You’ll need a few followers, because an orphan profile won’t necessarily be found by Google (unless you password protect it, perhaps?).
Even easier, ask everybody you know to post a message on their social media accounts about your website.
Submit your website to a few local online directories.
Release some news. Surely you have some news to release that you can submit to press release websites. A new location. Sponsoring a Little League team. Anything newsworthy.
Find a blogger to write a story about you or your company. Try to think of the most interesting thing about yourself. If you once won a lemon-pie-eating contest, that could be the hook. Any story about you will surely mention that you run your company, and link back to your website.
Add some interesting visuals to your website, then submit them to Pinterest…and get friends to share them on Twitter and FaceBook.
Hire a content marketing company to give your website some traction. If nothing else, they can make sure that people in their network post links on Twitter, FaceBook and other social media.
So many ideas. So little time. So much to be gained. Why remain an orphan?
Written by David Leonhardt
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