Why Google is your best friend when it comes to discoverability + a few key tips on how to help Google find your website.
Are You + Google = a match made in heaven? If not – you should be. That’s because of the simple fact that if Google doesn’t love your site, nobody will – because they won’t be able to find it.
Luckily, Google has plenty of useful tips for how to ensure your site can be located.
First up, it’s critical that your website is indexed by Google. This is not as hard as you might think but it’s an often-overlooked step. We’ve got more detail about how to do this here in our handy website performance improvement guide.
If your site is NOT indexed, then you’ll need to create a Google Search Console account. This is well worth the effort because in addition to managing processes such as indexing, Google Search Console (previously known as Google Webmaster Tools) has loads of other useful tools to help you improve your website search engine ranking, measure your site’s search traffic results, check its mobile usability, and identify and fix issues with your site. (Another awesome tool for measuring website metrics is Google Analytics – read more about that here).
Google Search Console is also THE place to get the information you need to improve your site’s search engine ranking. One of the first rules of optimising your website content for Google searches is to ensure your site’s page titles and meta descriptions contain the information that Google needs to deliver them up in response to search queries. So DO ensure you include a clear and concise description of the page’s content, the location of your business or service (if relevant), and some keywords that you know your visitors are searching. The other trick is to simply provide content that’s packed with information that your target audience will find useful. (Here’s our recent blog on optimising website content and SEO).
Another good thing to know is that the easier you make it for users to navigate your site, the easier it is for Google to discover your content. This is because Google discovers your content the same way site visitors do – by following the links on your site. This also means ensuring there are no errors or 404 messages, which you can check using Google Search Console. (By the way, 404 errors can be turned into a positive – read our 404s Gone to the Dogs article here).
If your business has a physical location that’s useful for customers to know, such as retail or hospitality, it’s a great idea to register your business on Google My Business. This means Google is aware of your business and its location, which is great for local searches like ‘order pizza’ or ‘shop kids shoes’. It also means your business will have a listing on Google Maps, which also increases your business’ visibility.
One thing that can really slow Googlebots (the tools that ‘crawl’ your site to find relevant information in response to a search query) is a slow server hosting your site, or loads of large images on your site. You can improve these elements by choosing a better hosting platform, ensuring your site is built for mobile, and using only necessary images (not too big, either!).
You can also help Googlebots crawl your site faster by improving your site’s caching and adding an XML sitemap – but these are things you might want to chat to your web developer about, unless you’re a dab hand at website building! You could also check your site on Google’s Page Speed Insights tool.
The bottom line
If Google can’t find you, nobody can! Luckily, there’s plenty you can do yourself, including things like checking that your site is indexed by Google, making use of tools like Google Search Console and Google My Business, and ensuring your site is built for mobile. Taking steps to ensure you’ve set up your page content in a way that’s easy for Google to crawl and index will help your site appear higher in Google organic search results and help increase traffic to your site.