The Google Visibility Checklist For New Websites

Robots.txt. Make sure your robots.txt file is not inadvertently blocking search engine crawlers and bots from the content you want Google to index. If you’re not familiar with the robots.txt file, you can learn about it here. The person or company that built your website should know how to check your robots.txt file to make sure it’s set up correctly.

WordPress Dashboard. If your website is built on the the WordPress platform, there is a setting in your WordPress dashboard saying “discourage search engines from indexing this site”. It is common to have this setting turned on when a new site is under construction and you don’t want search engine crawlers trying to index your site. But after launching your site, you must remember to turning this setting *off*.
Google Search Console. Connect your site with Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools). This is a free service offered by Google that analyzes your site and notifies you of any errors. Google Search Console allows you to submit your sitemap and/or individual page URLs directly to Google for consideration for indexing in their database.

Google Analytics. Make sure to integrate Google Analytics with your site. Like Google Search Console, this is a free service but it focuses more on logging and analyzing the traffic to your site. Connecting your site to Google Analytics is another way to “ping” the Google ecosystem to let them know you exist.

On-Page SEO. To show up on Google, your pages must be formatted correctly so they’re search-engine friendly. It’s beyond the scope of this article to tell you everything you need to know about On-Page SEO, but here’s a good On-Page SEO checklist to get you started. Perhaps the most important part of On-Page SEO are the meta tags — specifically the title tag and description tag. Although there are no guarantees, if you configure your meta tags correctly Google will often use your meta tag info word-for-word, which means you’ll be able to sculpt how your search listings appear in Google.

Local SEO. Remember to set up your free Google My Business listing. If you need help with this, here’s a great resource. Google My Business is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get visibility in your local market. Even if it takes a few weeks for your site to show up in Google’s organic SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), at least you can occupy some first page real estate on Google with your Google My Business listing.

Backlinks. Another way to get Google’s attention is to have as many other websites as possible linking back to your site. The more, the merrier. You don’t need to resort to any spammy, blackhat SEO tactics to get backlinks. All you need is a little time and elbow grease. Start with the obvious. Go to all your social media properties like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and make sure they all link back to your website. Then start updating your profiles on places like the online Yellow Pages, Manta, Yelp or your local Chamber of Commerce. There are tons of opportunities for easy backlinks if you just roll up your sleeves and dig a little bit.

Content. Publishing high-quality, useful content on your website helps your search engine visibility in two ways. First, it gives Google’s search engine crawlers raw data to consume and index in their database. One well-written piece of content could result in page 1 listings on Google for many search terms. Second, a high-quality piece of content can result in backlinks to your site from other website owners or bloggers. Remember, backlinks are one of the main ways Google keeps score to determine if website content is valuable and deserving of a page 1 listing.

If you implement this checklist, the likelihood of showing up on Google sooner rather than later increase tremendously versus just sitting there doing nothing.

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