I bump into many business owners who get frustrated with Google. They’ve followed all the guidelines, written some posts on their blog, yet just don’t seem to show up in Google’s search results. So what’s stopping these websites getting on Google?
When I run an website audit, I firstly check to see if the website’s housekeeping is in order. In fact, I often find it’s the lack of basic housekeeping which stops a website getting found on Google.
Here are 3 common errors I find on websites which, when fixed, will significantly increase the chances of a website getting ranked on Google:
1. XML Sitemap
An XML Sitemap gives Google a list of all the pages on your website you want to be ranked. All on one page which Google likes. Google recommends you have one, and without it, there are no guarantees Google will find all of your webpages.
Read my article on XML Sitemap. Am I Bovvered? for more detail and how to get your sitemap installed.
2. www Redirect
a www.redirect makes sure that www.leapfrogim.co.uk redirects to leapfrogim.co.uk. Or vice versa if www. is the default website address. If not, google thinks 1 page is 2 pages – the www and non-www version of the same page. And Google doesn’t like duplicate content, even on the same website.
If you’re running a WordPress website with version 3.6 and over, wordpress handles this for you. If the www redirect isn’t working, you might find a plugin is conflicting with the base wordpress installation. Ask your webmaster to fix it for you.
The robots.txt file (example here) is the first thing Google looks for on your website. It’s like a signpost where you tell Google where it can look (including your sitemap) and where it can’t go looking. Help Google find the content you want it to find, and Google might return the favour and rank those pages on Google. I did say might !
Check out my article on Robots.txt – why your website needs this itsy-bitsy file for details on how to install this small file on your website.
If you want to easily check if your website has these 3 things in place, I’d recommend using a free audit tool like woorank – it takes about 30 seconds for the tool to run, and you get a nice report on what needs improving.
Hopefully taking these steps will allow Google to love your website that bit more. Please contact me if you want to improve your website’s online performance, but not sure what the cost-effective options are.