Worried About Google Rankings? Here’s your first simple step.
You feel panicked. You’ve been Googling, attempting to see where your website ranks in the search engines.
You feel like you don’t show up anywhere. In fact, you know it.
Three, four, five, six page into the search engine results pages and you’re still no where to be found. What gives?!
First, stop and take a deep breath. Like any digital marketing, SEO needs time, patience, and commitment.
Next, stop Googling yourself. These results are inaccurate at worst and skewed at best.
Now it’s time for the simple first step that so many entrepreneurs miss when it comes to SEO and rankings.
In fact, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve worked with clients who were concerned about their search engine rankings when, lo and behold, they weren’t even getting indexed. 😳
What is search engine indexing?
When you do a Google search, the results aren’t showing you the live internet…that would take far to long to serve up.
Instead, search engine results are a copy of the internet. They’ve been indexed by search engine spiders and can now be shown in a results page for searchers.
The simple problem so many website owners have
Many entrepreneurs are concerned about rankings when there’s one far bigger problem: the site isn’t indexed.
How to check if your website is indexed
The good news: it’s super simple to check if your website is indexed in the search engines (and this trick can be used for any search engine).
1. Go to Google/your favorite search engine.
2. Type in site:yourwebsite.com – make sure there are no spaces
3. Review the list of indexed pages by going through each search engine results page.
Does it seem like all the pages are there? or are there some missing?
Are all the pages legitimate? or are there some weird pages getting indexed?
How to get your website indexed
More often than not, getting your website indexed is simpler than you think. Here are some of the most common problems I’ve seen:
YOU’RE BLOCKING SEARCH ENGINES
Whether your website is newly launched or has been launched for a little while, one of the most common reasons a website isn’t getting indexed is because it’s being blocked from the search engines.
On WordPress, here’s where you can control that setting. Go to Settings > Reading > Uncheck “Discourage search engines from indexing this site.”
You can also check whether you’re blocking search engines by going to yourwebsite.com/robots.txt
It should look something like this:
Not like this:
YOUR WEBSITE IS TOO NEW
If you’re not having a problem blocking the search engines, your site may simply still be too new.
Getting crawled by Google and the other engines can take time — I’ve seen the process take as long as 2 weeks in some cases.
But the good news is there are ways to speed the process up. Here’s how to get indexed faster.
YOU MIGHT HAVE DUPLICATE CONTENT ISSUES
If you’re seeing some pages, but not all pages on your site, you might have duplicate content issues.
Search engines don’t like to show copies of the same (or too similar) website pages for searchers. It’s bad for usability, and that’s exactly what duplicate content is.
We see duplicate content the most in Ecommerce websites, where products are often similar. This can be challenging, as you’ll need to differentiate the content on each page enough to show Google that each page is unique and each one needs to be indexed.
You can check duplicate content with a tool like Siteliner. My rule of thumb is when duplicate content is 20% or higher, it needs some help!
YOU MIGHT HAVE A GOOGLE PENALTY
Very rarely, you might be experiencing the effects of a Google penalty. You might’ve purchased a domain name where the previous owner made some questionable SEO choices.
In this case, you’ll need to install Google Search Console, then check under “Manual Actions” to see if you have a penalty.
Ready to dive deeper?
Check out this free SEO masterclass
From indexing issues to technical SEO problems to content issues, learn the top 3 reasons why no one is finding your website on Google.