You have a new website, but it isn’t showing up on Google.
And getting to this point has been a process, for sure. You didn’t realize that while you’re not the one building it, you still have to invest quite a bit of time, thought, and energy into your new website before, during, and after its completion.
The great news is that your website is complete— the result of your due diligence in choosing the right web design team and your efforts in telling that team your story is finished, and it was all worth it! Your new website is beautiful, it’s appealing to you and your target market, the messaging is on point, and the overall visual organization will offer your visitors a smooth user experience. You couldn’t be happier!
…Until you Googled your business, that is.
You searched for terms that should have returned a page topped by your new website. Instead, your new site is nowhere to be found on any page, much less the first one.
What went wrong? Did you choose the wrong website design team? Before you start popping antacids as you ponder what this means for the future of your business, let’s talk about the reasons you can’t find your website on Google.
You have a new domain too.
What’s a domain? It’s your URL, your address for your home on the web (https://www.yourdomain.com). Just as the mail delivery person has to receive notification to deliver your mail to a new address when you buy a new house and move, so do search engines like Google and Bing. Unlike the postal system, though, Google can take a little longer to start delivering people to your website based on search results.
You hired the right web design team, though.
If you’re working with Off-Center Design, then be at ease: Google will index your new website. You will be able to find it in search results. How do we know that with such assurance? Because at the end of every website build, Annie submits a sitemap to Google.
What is a sitemap and why does Google need it?
If you’ve ever filled out a change of address form for the post office, you know you have to either check that the whole family is moving or list each person who is moving to the new address. This is what helps the post office to deliver mail to every member of your household at the new address. A sitemap is kind of the same thing. It’s a listing of every page and blog post on your website.
Why does Google need this? Well, Google doesn’t technically need it. Your website would eventually be indexed. But given the number of new websites and web pages created around the world hourly, it could take a very long time (weeks, months, years) before Google notices there’s something new that hasn’t been indexed.
Google’s index is like the post office’s list of addresses with current occupants. But Google’s list includes topics associated with each address. Your sitemap, submitted to Google, signals Google (and Bing, because we submit to Bing for you too) that each of the pages on your list belongs to your domain and that those topics go together like a family. And it triggers the very first step to being indexed: getting crawled.
What is getting crawled, and does it need to sound so creepy?
Don’t worry, we are 100% scared of spiders too. Your website will be crawled by Google’s ‘bots. While having your website crawled does sound creepy, it’s the first step to showing up in search results.
It’s called “crawled” less because of the existence of some spiderlike virtual ‘bot and more because the internet is, after all, called the world wide web (which is where “www” comes from). There isn’t a more accurate, better way to describe the interconnectedness of the internet than a web.
Before we launch into a detailed explanation of the internet (because, you know, we’re nerds, and it’s just so fascinating to us), let’s get back to the point.
Your website is well on its way to showing up in search results.
My website has been live for a day. Why isn’t it showing up in search results?
As we mentioned before, once your website is complete, Annie will create a sitemap and submit it to Google. The thing is, though, that Google doesn’t always instantly crawl your website and index it. It’s like your website is visiting the DMV: You take a number, wait your turn, and hope the line moves more quickly today than it did last time. And you’d better hope you didn’t forget your ID, but that’s a discussion about SSLs we won’t get into right now.
We’ve seen Google index a site in as little as 24 hours. We’ve also seen it take up to four weeks. Once you’ve been indexed, that doesn’t guarantee you the top spot in results either. But don’t worry, you hired the right team. So your website should start to rank well soon because Annie designs for the user experience and her writers write for SEO.
Some DIY Steps to Take
While you’re waiting on the Google ‘bots, consider taking matters into your own hands. One of the best ways to increase your ranking on Search Engine Results Pages (aka SERPs) is to drive traffic to your website. Ask your family and friends to visit your website. Put your domain name on your business cards, email signatures, and digital advertisements, and encourage your clients to visit your website for information that may be relevant or interesting to them.
Create a Google Listing, and share your website on social media pages like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Engage your customers. Don’t ask people to view your site for selfish reasons. Give them information that they want to read. Teach them something, show them something they may want to purchase, or entertain them. Get creative with it; think outside the box!
Start blogging. Everytime you give your website viewers good, relevant information with keywords that pertain to your industry, you’re helping Google and other search engines to know what you offer your customers. You’re letting them know that you’re still here, you’re still helping clients, and you’re giving search engines more insight into what your business provides. The better Google knows your business, the better they can rank you when a potential client searches for something related to your business.
All Summed Up
New websites need to be submitted to Google. Google will then crawl that website and index it, ranking it in comparison to other websites with similar topics according to Google’s own algorithm. As you receive more and more traffic, Google adjusts your ranking over time.
So be patient and keep an eye on the results, but do your due diligence in driving traffic to your site while you wait.
If you are interested in evaluating your overall rank and looking for ways to continually improve your SEO score, ask Annie about SEO tracking and evaluation.