“GOOGLE!” he shouted at his laptop at half-past one in the morning. It’s frustrating when you have spent lots of time and money on a shiny new website, but you go to google and well, nobody else has noticed.
So, grab another coffee and a Twix (other chocolate bars are available, but Twixes are the best, send us Twixes) will see if we can help you and find out what does google want?
Make Googlebot your best friend
One thing we can certainly be sure of, Googlebot needs to find your website and find it quickly if you want to make it a success.
Googlebot is the name of the WebCrawler that google uses to crawl over the internet. Like an enthusiastic librarian, it looks for websites, what is on those websites and files the information in a big virtual cabinet. Ready to pull the information out when someone does a google search.
As the internet is on the large side, to say the least, it means that Googlebot has so much to look at, so you want to find ways to make sure that he/she/they find the information on your website ahead of others.
But how do we get the attention of Googlebot? Well, there are some things you can do…
Create a site map
We have left the library and we are now in the tube station; we want to go to Oxford Street but in this rather tenuous link, there are no maps of the London Underground anywhere.
Sure, there is information around, a leaflet here, a torn timetable up two flights of stairs, but no way of seeing all the stations at once.
A site map is a bit like that, it collects all the different stops and stations on your website and puts them into one easy to understand, site map. The Googlebot likes maps.
There are different site map creators available, the most popular is the google sitemap generator for WordPress.
Use Google Webmasters
Google Webmasters is where you can assess the performance of your website. You can simply enter your website address and it looks for things you can do to improve the performance of your site. For example, by adding a site map.
There’s a cool google search video on what it does and how it works. Don’t worry it’s only just over a minute long so you will have time to watch it!
Now it’s times for some robots so…
Not quite as exciting as that I’m afraid but you’re still reading so we will carry on.
As Google looks at EVERYTHING if there are files or sections of your website that you don’t want to be searched or visible you can add a robots.txt file.
This will tell Google what to look at, or not as the case maybe. You may want google to look at all of it and a robots.txt file can tell google to do that too.
The good people at Moz have created an excellent robots.txt explainer.
While we think about it, if you haven’t already, bookmark Moz.com. They are one of the most valuable resources out there. Always be sure to check in with them at least a few times a week.
No that isn’t a typo. You see 65 is the maximum number of characters that people see on the SERP (search engine results page)
Any more than 65 characters and google isn’t interested. Not one bit.
As Google is looking for unique content and unique content is ranked higher you need to make sure each of your web pages is unique within those 65 characters.
If your 65 characters basically show your main web page and for example ‘our brand new products page here’ then google will decide that is similar or duplicate content and while that isn’t technically penalised it tends to get discarded, so your website would slip down the rankings of the relevant search results.
After Google has looked at all your page titles it wants to know more, so looks at the page description. Now page descriptions won’t technically improve your site rankings but think about it this way, when you search for something Google and you look at the results page, for example, ‘holidays’, the results will list lots of sites with ‘holiday’ in the title. It’s only when you click through to the website you get to see more.
But the meta description normally appears too, doesn’t it? Under the title. It’s like a little advert and a chance to get attention “look at us guys, we are so much BETTER than everyone else”.
So, spend some time on nice little descriptions aka meta tag, for each of your web pages. No more than 160 characters are recommended.
Google likes to read
Like watching Spanish Films on Netflix, google likes to read the subtitles. In fact, like watching a dreadful Spanish Film on Netflix, google only reads the subtitles.
Every single picture on your website needs a brief description of what it is.
A good example is if your website sells different types of the same product. So, the model or item number should be included in the description.
Some pictures will autogenerate titles like piciii8889990 which will be discarded completely by Google. So, make sure they all have descriptions aka alt tags.
Content, always content!
Google just can’t get enough of content. If it could eat nothing but content all day with a pint of content it would do.
So, the more content you have the more the Googlebot (remember him?) will read.
Make sure you have plenty of content on your website, but not just any old content. Oh no, that would too simple, wouldn’t it?
Google isn’t very keen on repeats; it doesn’t hate them but changes the channel and looks at something else. It’s got to be original content. Now we know it can’t ALL be original content we know but the more the better. If you want googles attention, get that content published as often as you can.