My site has just been launched. Why isn’t it on Google? (And other questions!)

Basically, your site will not appear on Google (or any other search engine) until it has been indexed by the Google robot that crawls the internet looking for new sites to index. But it can take several weeks or even several months for this to happen. Once indexed, it will begin to appear for the search terms for which your site has been optimised (usually your name, the name of your site, or the name of your product or service). It can still takes weeks or months to work your way up the SERPs results (the page on which your website appears for any particular search). There’s no instant way of getting your site indexed by the Google robot as Google is an independent company and does things in its own time. Google is not easily influenced as this would undermine its integrity.

My site has just been re-designed – why isn’t it appearing on Google?

It is not uncommon for a site to drop down the rankings when it has undergone a complete re-design. Pages that previously existed may no longer exist and new pages need to be indexed. There are advanced ways of minimising any negative effect a re-design will have on your rankings – if you have the budget. For example, 301 re-directs make sure that there are not ‘page not found’ messages on Google. These measures will increase the cost of your new site as they can take as long to implement as designing the site itself. Eventually, things will sort themselves out and your site will begin to rise up the rankings again, especially if you maintain your site and add new content regularly.

The text Google displays about my site is incorrect. How can I change this?

Google chooses which text to display about your site. It selects text from your website, either from the visible content, or from the hidden meta tags – tags which contain keywords and descriptions about your website. When a site is developed, it is sometimes indexed by Google prior to launch, and the text displayed may not be up-to-date. On launch, all the content for your site will have been agreed to and any draft content removed. After launch, Google will regularly send robots to visit your site and index the content. At this point, the display text will be changed. It is not something your web designer can change instantly but it will change in time.

My home page does not appear on Google but other pages do. Why is this?

When Google indexes your site, it may not begin with the Home page. It might find its way to your site via another ‘landing page’. Also, Google may not index all of your site in one go. It might take several visits by the Google robot to index all of the pages and again, it can be weeks or months between visits.

Are social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter worth considering if I want to encourage more visitors?

Your choice of social media marketing will ultimate depend on the nature of your website. Here are a few tips:

Facebook definitely – in fact it is almost a must these days. It is free to set up – you can do it yourself – and easy to maintain. Your page needs to be a Facebook ‘Fans Page’, not a normal personal page. Customise your page as much as possible with details of the product or service that you offer. In time, people will find your page and hopefully spread the word.

LinkedIn – yes, especially if you are in business. LinkedIn will enable you to build up a network of people connected with your subject area, product or service.

Twitter – maybe – but it is time-consuming and needs constant attention. However, if you have the time and patience, and you manage to build up a decent number of followers, you should see benefits.

Pinterest – yes, fast becoming a rival to Facebook for marketing purposes

If you set up pages on any of these social networking sites, it is also worth putting links to your pages on your website (either an icon or a text link).

My position on Google for a particular keyword search varies from day to day. Why is this?

The Google search results are dynamic which means that they change from minute to minute. Your position for a keyword search at any one time depends on a number of factors including the age of the content on your site, the current state of your competitor sites and the current settings of Google’s algorithm (a closely guarded secret – no one except Google can determine your position in Google’s search engine results pages – also known as SERPs). If you find your position is slipping for a particular keyword that you want to target, your position may be improved by an Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) review or the addition of new content to your site. Please ask for details if you are interested.

Will a blog encourage more visitors?

Yes, definitely, but ideally it needs to be part of your site rather than an external blog and you have to blog regularly. A blogs is a great ways of adding content to your site regularly and will provide Google with more information about you and your product or service to add to its index. The more content on your site, the better your chances of getting found on Google, especially if your content is full of relevant keywords and phrases. Please ask for details and costs if you are interested