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How To Submit Your Website To Google

How To Submit Your Website To Google

Why do you need to submit your website to Google? Well, you have spent a great deal of time developing an amazing site. All of your valuable content has been placed strategically in all of the right places of your site, your design is immaculate, and you have gathered a ton of feedback. You have determined that now is the time to share it with the world! Submitting your website to Google will speed up the amount of time it takes to get in front of your target audience.

The common mistake that most businesses make is they assume that as soon as they publish their new site for the world to see, all of their content will immediately start showing up in Google. However, it’s never just that simple. It happens to take a little more than just hitting the publish button. In order to get your site listed, you’ll need to move methodically through a checklist.

How Google Finds Your Content

Essentially, Google uses a huge set of computers to crawl billions of pages on the web. This crawler, called the Googlebot, begins with a list of web page URLs generated from previous crawls and then augments those pages with sitemap data provided within Google Search Console. The Googlebot looks for new sites, updates to existing pages, and any broken links during the crawling process.

This is why maintaining a sitemap is crucial to the success of your website. If new and updated pages are listed in your sitemap, Google will discover those pages and crawl their content. Then, Google will potentially list the page within search results based on its evaluation of 200+ criteria.

Once the crawling process has been completed, all of the results are fed into Google’s index. Any new sites or updated content will be listed accordingly. Google looks at information on your page such as title tags, meta description, alt tags, and more as those results are being processed. If you have dynamic content on a page, the Googlebot may not be able to read it and will crawl the default version — it is recommended that your default version is optimized for search.

As a result of Google’s crawling, you may never need to submit your website as it will be discovered automatically. The downside to this approach has always been that it’s reliant on Google’s timeframe to crawl and index your site content. This means that a crawl of your website may not happen as quickly as you would like.

If you want a quick way to check and see what has been crawled and indexed by Google for a particular website, all you have to do is begin your search with “Site:Sitename.com.” For example, here’s what is displayed in Google for BestSEOMasters.com:

Google search results for SEO marketing agency Best SEO Masters in Idaho Falls

If no content is indexed yet for a site, Google will let you know that your search did not match any results. If no content is found, your next step should be to create a sitemap that can be submitted to Google.

If you want more information about sitemaps and how to create a sitemap, take a look at this post.

How Long Does It Take to Index Content?

A lot of research has been done in this area. You may find some information varies from blog to blog but two of the most reliable sources are HubSpot and Moz.com. When publishing content without manually submitting an updated sitemap, it was noted that it took Google 1,375 minutes to crawl, while Yahoo took 1,773 minutes. To put those numbers into perspective, that’s roughly a full-day just to crawl your content.

graph showing the results of crawl time with no sitemap submitted to google

Source: Moz.com

On the other hand if you are launching a new website, or adding a number of new pages, it may be worth submitting an updated sitemap. According to the same study, it was found that after submitting an updated sitemap to the search engines, the average time it took for a bot to visit the page was 14 minutes, compared to 245 minutes for Yahoo. As you can see, your new page can start generating organic traffic and conversions on the same day.

graph showing the results of crawl time with a sitemap having been submitted to google

Source: Moz.com

How Do I Submit My Site to Google?

Now, we get down to the nitty-gritty. If you do happen to have a brand new site, you should first verify you own the site within Google Search Console and then submit your sitemap here.

If you have an existing site and are launching a number of new pages, then instead you should submit an updated sitemap in the same place as a brand new site (Google Search Console) to ensure it gets listed as quickly as possible.

To submit an updated sitemap, you need to log in to Google Search Console > Crawl tab > Sitemaps. Once you’re there, you can submit your updated sitemap for Google so it can begin crawling it as soon as possible. The steps are very similar for submitting to Bing Webmaster Tools as well — which does the same thing as Google Search Console, only for Bing and Yahoo!.

You may be trying to figure out whether you need to submit an updated sitemap every time you publish a page. While you certainly could do that, it’s best to manually go through the submission process if you’re working with critically important content that needs to be indexed quickly. However, if you’re just making minor updates or corrections to pages, then it is probably ok to simply wait until Google crawls that page and updates its index.

Non-www and HTTPS Website Redirction

Non-www and HTTPS Website Redirction

Let’s say you own a website that you would like to change the URL and redirect to an HTTPS. For example, your website may be, http://www.example-website.com and now you want to make a change. At one point, you have wanted your visitors to go to the non-www version rather than the www version of your domain. In addition, if you follow best practices regarding security, you might want to switch from HTTP to HTTPS. The question now becomes, what should you do if you want to make both these changes? You have probably figured out that you will to redirect traffic from your current domain to your now preferred domain. But what’s the best way to do this? Is there a preferred order for completing these tasks? Where should you begin? YoasSEO has put together a short video that helps explain this. Check out the video and the short explanation below.

How to Switch from HTTP to HTTPS and www to non-www

The fact is, you should make both changes at the same time. You should redirect the HTTP link straight to the HTTPS version without the www. Keep in mind, this isn’t just as simple as setting up two simple 301 redirects. While this may sound like the most obvious of solutions, you shouldn’t use two 301 redirects to switch from HTTP to HTTPS and from www to non-www versions of your URL.

Forcing HTTPS is something that you need to test really well. There are all sorts of things in your site that probably aren’t HTTPS ready that you should know of upfront. It can be awfully difficult to get your site converted to HTTPS — even if you don’t even have ads. Now, if you do have ad services, it can be even more difficult to get your site working on HTTPS. Don’t let this get you down. Just because it can be difficult, doesn’t mean it has to be overly difficult. You should just make sure to do it in one go. There happens to be a secret option: redirect from one to the other straight away, and don’t think about anything else.

If you really can do HTTPS for everything and it works fine, make sure to add an HSTS: ‘Strict Transport Security Header’, which forces everything to be over HTTPS. And then, if the browser sees an HTTP link to your domain in the content somewhere, it will still automatically grab the HTTPS version — thus, the right one.

8 Ways To Optimize Content

8 Ways To Optimize Content

When you here the term “content,” you probably think only of blog articles. But, content is all-inclusive when it comes to your website. It is important to optimize any content on your site if you want it to show up on the various search engines. SEO is constantly changing and it can be difficult to keep up with it. You may be struggling to differentiate the tactics that will be most effective — especially if you’re resource-strapped. However, there are some things that you can do to remain consistent with your content and blog. If you follow these steps, regardless of how frequently SEO tactics are changing, you will have a successful blog and be more likely to rank with the search engines.

Avoid Duplicate and Poorly Written Page Titles

Some websites feel the need to list everything but the kitchen sink in a title tag? Other sites may just ignore the title tag for each page. They may opt to simply duplicate them by default. I’m not sure if it’s just the website owner who is doing it or a poorly trained SEO marketer. The title tag has long been one of the most abused tags on the Web page, with some SEOs desperately stuffing keywords into the title tag like it was a Thanksgiving turkey.

The title tag’s most important role, however, isn’t SEO rankings — it’s what it offers you after you get the ranking. You should use the title tag to your advantage. You have between 50 and 60 characters to complete a message in the title tag. Of course, you want to use keywords in the title but you should also think about what message you want the title tag to convey to the searcher. With such a short space, you may need to get creative.

Optimize Your Meta Descriptions

meta descriptions from google search engineA marketer’s best opportunity to write something compelling that will entice the searcher to click on the search engine results page (SERP) is to take full advantage of both the page title and the meta description. Unlike titles, meta descriptions also show any keywords from the search query in bold, helping the searcher identify at a glance which search results are most likely to match the query.

In addition to containing some keywords to aid with bolding and visibility, the meta description should be a sales piece. As you are writing your meta descriptions, ask yourself, “Why should the searcher click on this result?” Whatever you write needs to catch the attention of the searcher. In other words, sell it!

So often, marketers and website owners alike write descriptions that are confusing. For example, the page title may convey one message while the description conveys another message entirely. The two should flow together so as to not create any confusion for your potential readers.

But what happens if you don’t write a meta description? This is where the fun begins. Google may actually choose a description for you. As amazing as that sounds, do you really want Google to decide what is best for advertising your site? Probably not. It’s not worth the risk or any potential time-saving that you may enjoy on the front end. So, define your own meta description. Tell people why they should click on your result and not your competitors’. Make your most compelling argument.

Monitor Your Sitelinks

While sitelinks are generated automatically by Google, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t check them out once in a while to see what’s being generated. Sitelinks are a great way to drive traffic deeper into your website — if it’s to a place you want visitors to go. As you may remember, Google rebranded its Webmaster Tools as Search Console back some time ago. However, if you notice when you do the search, the sitelinks still show the old branding in the links. So, ironic as it may sound, be sure to use Google Search Console to monitor your sitelinks for errors and for those links you want to exclude.

Use Quality Structured Markup

Structured markup, or rich snippets, are a fantastic way to make your SERP result larger and more visible. While it’s always optimal to use structured data to markup your code, it’s not always feasible. To be honest, most people running websites theses days don’t even know what that last sentence means. If you’re in that same boat, if you can’t program structured markup, don’t start stressing. One option for you is to use Google’s Data Highlighter tool (however, this will only generate rich snippets in Google, not in other engines). Other options have been developed as well. If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, there are several plugins you can use to help you with your structured data markup.

Setup Your Analytics Correctly

google analytics on an imac that is being used to optimize a website by best seo mastersIf nothing else, you should pay most attention to this part of the article. Analytics are the marketer’s and the webmaster’s best friend. It tells you the inner workings of your website and how it is performing. From analytics, you will learn who comes, who goes, how they get there and how they interact with your website. The scary thing about analytics, however, is that about 80 percent of the time when we’re doing an SEO audit, we find that the analytics has errors.

You can’t possible hope to track your progress and adequately benchmark organic traffic levels without your website’s analytics operating correctly. So, if you’re using Google Analytics, be sure to check your code. If you’re not sure where to start, a handy tool provided by Google is the Google Tag Assistant plug-in. This tool checks Google Analytics tags, as well as other types of Google tags (like AdWords conversion tags), for errors.

Properly Execute Video Embedding

Videos can be a great addition to any website. Done correctly, they can be very engaging. Sometimes, though, the execution of videos on the website isn’t ideal for SEO. Many websites use JavaScript popovers for video. Case studies via videos are compelling marketing tools. The downside to using a popover, however, is that the popover doesn’t allow your story to rank on its own Web page.

This is a missed opportunity to get additional content ranked. What happens instead is that your story ends up on a page with lots of other information. And, while that’s not entirely bad, there are opportunities to have this page rank in addition to the main topic page. Consider how you’re adding video to your site. Consider allowing each video to have their own rankable page, as opposed to employing JavaScript popovers.

Don’t Go Crazy With Unnecessary Code

So many web designers, talented as they may be, love to show off their talents with unnecessary code. We have to stop the insanity with extraneous code. If your page doesn’t need that code, get rid of it. All the extra code does at this point is just slow down your page load speed. If you have a site you think may fall into this trap, Google provides a helpful list of suggestions of certain types of code that can be mini-fied to improve page speed load times.

Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool and enter your URL to see which improvements you may be able to make to your website. Just keep in mind that Google’s tool can’t always tell if you have old code on your site. For example, if you started using one marketing automation tool and changed part way through to another but never removed the old marketing automation code, you have extraneous code on the site.

The Ghostery plug-in for ChromeOne is helpful tool that will check to see what types of code may be on your site is the . This plug-in is capable of identifying all of the tracking code on a page. This means that it will help you quickly see if you have old tracking code on the site, even if you don’t know HTML. If you happen to be more HTML-savvy, check out the raw code directly, and see what you can remove yourself.

Setup An XML Sitemap

Sitemaps allow website owners to inform search engines which pages on their website are available for crawling. In its simplest form, a sitemap is a document that lists all URLs of your website (that you want crawled). The document details additional information such as the date a page was last modified, how frequently a page may change and whether the page should be given priority over others. Specific sitemaps can be created for each type of content. For example, one sitemaps for blog posts, another for videos, etc.

The importance of Sitemaps should never be downplayed. Sitemaps help search engines navigate your website more easily, which helps search engines index your content better. If you think of your website as a building, the sitemap is a blueprint that informs search engines exactly where everything is located.

Every website and blog should have a sitemap. If you aren’t as tech-savvy as you’d like to be, don’t worry. One of the best, and easiest to use, tools for building a quality sitemap is the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress

 

Your Website Speed Could Hold You Back

Your Website Speed Could Hold You Back

Site performance is an integral part of any website’s success — this holds true for SEO as well. Whether you are operating a online store or a blog, the speed and ease with which users interact with your content has a direct impact on initial traffic, repeat visits, and overall page rankings. Website speed is taken into account by Google when calculating page rankings. Their filters can estimate load times and use that information to determine the value and reliability of your website. While it is true that the importance Google assigns to site speed itself is somewhat limited, and there are definitely other factors that trump it, the way a website performs has an effect in its overall usability. Anymore, internet users have notoriously short attention spans. A site that is slow to load will not captivate and hold an audience and will, in turn, experience a high bounce rate, diminishing traffic, and fewer conversions.

HOW IMPORTANT IS WEBSITE SPEED TO GOOGLE?

In this case, site speed really refers to the load time of a website. How long does it take for a landing page to load after the user clicks on a desired search engine results page (SERP)? Since there are so many sources available with good information, Google’s filters use load time as an additional point of comparison when multiple sites have comparable relevance and authority statistics. As far as Google is concerned, website speed has a minimal impact on page rankings — only about 1%. But, from a larger perspective, websites with faster load times offer more value to the internet user translating into higher customer satisfaction. This ultimately translates to fewer bounce backs (lower bounce rate), more return visits, higher share rates, and an increase in perceived value and authority.

COMMON FACTORS THAT SLOW DOWN A WEBSITE

There are some common culprits to look for when analyzing the speed of your website. First, and probably one of the most important, is the quality and reliability of your hosting service. Not all hosting services are created equally, and shared servers can inevitably lead to uneven performance. If your website is too slow, and pages are taking too long to load, it may be time to consider a different hosting service.

Another large contributor to the function and usability of your website is the construction of it. Along with the construction of your site, take into consideration that certain apps and add-ons are notorious bandwidth thieves. When assessing the speed and performance of your website, consider the following.

  • Too Many Ads: Ads, and the revenue they produce, are an important part of any website. However, slow-loading advertisements tend to bog down pages, slow down your site, and ultimately lead to higher bounce rates.
  • Too Many Widgets or Plug-ins: Having too many widgets and plugins can really kill the speed and performance of your site. Use them sparingly. Podcast links, comment plug-ins, and social sharing buttons can add seconds to your load time. Just as with any business aspect, a cost/benefit analysis can prove useful. Balance the value of any widgets and plug-ins on your site against the increased load time they require.
  • Complex Design and Theme of Your Website: Everyone wants to stand out online by having a site that is bold, attractive, and unique. Sometimes, however, too much can be just that — too much. Overly complex design themes will lead to slow load times. And with advances in themes and design elements, it is much easier to stand out online while keeping a simple website.
  • Optimize Your Graphics and Images: Images help to brighten up a page, attract the users’ attention, and make their overall experience better. And while style counts, overly bloated images can take an excruciatingly long time to load. Large image files slow down page performance and interfere with the functionality of your site. There are plugins and options for rendering “web-quality” images on your site to improve load times. Another example you may consider is using PNG8 instead of PNG24 for your image formats.
  • CSS and JavaScript: These can most times be the easiest to tackle in size reduction. To condense your CSS and JavaScript files, you could utilize gzip compression, minified code, or other options that are available to you.

HOW TO TEST YOUR SITE’S SPEED

Today, there are a wide number of tools that can be used to test your website speed and performance. Most of these tools are even free!  These website tools provide an easy way for webmasters to test the speed of their site and to calculate any changes that need to be made to improve overall performance.

  • PageSpeed Insights: This tool is operated and offered by Google. Simply submit your URL, click the analyze button, and PageSpeed Insights will return with a speed evaluation. They will also provide you with recommendations on how to increase your site’s load time.
  • YSlow: YSlow is a website performance-measuring tool that was designed by Yahoo!. It provides a detailed report on site performance with accompanying recommendations on how to increase its speed and performance.
  • Google Analytics: Google Analytics really does analyze it all for you. There is a “site speed” analytics located under the “content” sub-section so that you can see your daily speed.
  • Pingdom: This website performance tool is great for showing the general performance grade and is very simple to use.
  • Web Page Test: Of all the tools mentioned, this is probably the most comprehensive tool to test your website’s performance. It runs tests from multiple locations around the world using real browsers and at real consumer connection speeds. You will also receive recommendations for improvements that need to be made.

This is just a sample list of some of the tools available for testing your website and its performance. But, they provide a great starting point for webmasters in need of isolating issues and finding solutions to site speed.

While the speed of a website is a small factor in the equation Google uses to assign page rankings, it is a huge factor in the way visitors interact with your site. With advances in technology, people’s patience has diminished. We all want our information now. Faster websites give better customer satisfaction — and that is at the root of all good SEO practices. Valuable content, coupled with speed and ease of use, translates into better user experience. In short, a better experience for your clients or follower will lead to higher traffic, more returning visitors, and a better overall online performance.

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