One of the first things you may do when your new site goes live is search for it on Google. People are surprised, however, to find that immediately after their site’s launch the brand new web pages are nowhere to be seen.
To understand why this is the case it is first necessary to understand how search engines work. Search engines are huge indices of web pages. They don’t just store information, they also hold information about how different web pages link to one another. When one page links to another, a search engine counts it as a ‘vote’ for that page. All votes are not equal either; a search engine will look at the context of the page (the relevancy of the subject matter) and the quality of the web page (how many pages have already ‘voted’ for that).
Because of the volume of information searched and the way in which it’s linked together it is not possible to search in realtime. So search engines have special automated programs called “spiders” that “crawl” the web, indexing web pages. The spiders create a snapshot of the page periodically. So when you conduct a search on Google, Google is actually searching the snapshot (which is held on its own servers) rather than what’s on your site.
If your website is not appearing on any of the popular search engines, it has probably not been indexed. You will need to optimise and submit your website in order for this to happen.
* Tip: to check whether Google has indexed your website, go to web search and type in “site:” and your web address, e.g. site:example.co.za. Click search. If you get an error or no results it means that your site has not been indexed.
There are many ways to optimize your website for search engines. It’s important to utilize all of the methods for search engine optimisation that are legitimate and avoid SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) companies that employ deceptive or disapproved methods. In other words, you should organically optimise your website.
Below you will find 8 SEO methods that will assist in increasing your page ranking:
- Get indexed. While you can submit your website to leading search engines to be indexed, there is no definite time span of when this will happen. As a spam prevention mechanism, Google is never too quick to start listing new domains so the important thing is to be patient. It can take weeks or even months. You can speed the process up by following the methods below.
- Avoid “Black Hat” SEO. This is the dark side of SEO. It involves deceptive measures to trick both customers and search engine robots. Methods like “cloaking” and “spamdexing” will not only frustrate users, but may get you lower search engine ratings in the long run.
- Use appropriate keywords. When users are looking for your website, they’ll use keywords or search terms. Pages with many relevant keywords in the first 50 to 70 words will show up higher on the search results.
- Understand inbound links. Inbound links are another fundamental way that search engines rank websites. Essentially, an inbound link is a link from another website to yours. The more relevant inbound links you have, the more popular site appears and the higher it gets rated.
- Optimise on-page content. This involves fine-tuning the contents of the website to make it *friendlier to both users and search engine robots. Optimise keyword density, including meta tags and structuring the website will help a site rank high in the search engines.* Tip: Avoid addressing several different topics or themes on the same page. This confuses search engine spiders. Instead, create a separate page for each topic.
- Add new content often. One of the ways that Google bases your page rank for specific keywords is the frequency of updated content. For instance, a page that has its content updated on a regular basis will have a higher page rank than a page that has only been updated once or twice. Therefore, you need to ensure that you add new content to your website on a regular basis to keep the search engine spiders coming back repeatedly.
- Create articles for syndication. Developing informative, unique content and then sharing it with other sites is an excellent way to build back links.
- Send out press releases and e-newsletters. These help build link popularity and awareness of your site as well as encourage previous customers to return.
Top 5 Positive Ranking Factors:
- Keyword Focused Anchor Text from External Links
- External Link Popularity (quantity/quality of external links)
- Diversity of Link Sources (links from many unique root domains)
- Keyword Use Anywhere in the Title Tag
- Trustworthiness of the Domain Based on Link Distance from Trusted Domains.
Top 5 Negative Ranking Factors:
- Cloaking with Malicious/Manipulative Intent
- Link Acquisition from Known Link Brokers/Sellers
- Links from the Page to Web Spam Sites/Pages
- Cloaking by User Agent
- Frequent Server Downtime & Site Inaccessibility