Being unable to find your website on Google is a bit like coming across your own obituary in the newspaper. You may feel the need to verify that you’re still alive, because it’s such an alarming and incomprehensible experience. You KNOW that your website exists – and it’s probably open in a browser tab as you read this – and yet, you’re forced to ask the internet world’s most soul-searching question: “Why doesn’t my website show up in Google search?”.
The good news is that you don’t have to brush up on your existentialist philosophy (“Being and Google-ness”, perhaps?). Instead, you can continue reading and likely find the answer to the terrifying, but temporary question: Why doesn’t my website show up in Google search?
Possibility #1: Your Website isn’t Indexed Yet
If your website – or certain pages on your website – have recently been created or modified, then Google’s spider may not have crawled, indexed and added it to the search engine results. Here’s what to do:
- If you haven’t done so already, point Google to your sitemap.xlm URL via Google’s Webmaster Tools. If you have done this already and it’s been a couple of weeks, you can ask Google to re-crawl.
- If you don’t want to use Google’s Webmaster Tools, you can manually add your website URL here: http://www.google.com/addurl/
- Some or all of your web pages may have “no index” tags, which is instructing Google not to add them to search engine results. You can typically toggle this in your CMS (e.g. WordPress or other website platform that you’re using).
Keep in mind that Google doesn’t promise to jump on this. Typically, it can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks for their spider to pay your website a visit and give it a good virtual scrub.
Possibility #2: Your Website isn’t Optimized for Search
Google’s spider (by the way, it’s called that because it “crawls” the web…get it?) may have indeed stopped by your website, but because it wasn’t optimized for search, you didn’t get the best possible ranking.
It’s beyond the scope of this article to drill into all of the things that go into optimizing a website for search (actually, there are entire college courses dedicated to this specific topic). Suffice it to say, it’s a combination of everything from meta content, content, keywords, links (internal and external), responsive design, speed, frequency at which content is updated, use of graphics and alt-tags, and the list goes on.
Possibility #3: You’re Aiming for a Highly Competitive Keyword
Let’s say you have an online store that sells herbal teas. Naturally, you want Google to suggest your website (or to be technical about it: pages on your website) when potential customers are in the mood to buy your wonderful products.
But guess what? There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of other businesses that want the same thing, and some of them have a massive search visibility head start. Trying to catch them will take lots of time, lots of money, and may never even happen if some of those competitors are wisely investing in their search visibility as well. That’s the bad news.
The good news, is that you can start targeting – and showing up – for longer tail (i.e. less competitive) keywords, which will generate more traffic to your site. Furthermore, you can consider augmenting this with a PPC (e.g. AdWords, Facebook Ads, etc.) campaign, which are designed to help businesses show up for highly competitive keywords (of course there is a fee involved, but it may still be a good investment).
Possibility #4: Google is Mad About Something
Google is a wonderful ally, but a terribly enemy. If they don’t like your website for any number of reasons, then they typically remove first, and ask questions later. Actually, change that: they don’t ask questions later. YOU ask questions later (and if you’re lucky, you’ll get answers).
Here are some of the things that will get your website on Google’s naughty list:
- Excessive automatically generated (i.e. “scraped”) content
- Participating in link schemes (trading links with other websites for the sole/primary purpose of generating search visibility)
- Creating pages with little or no original content (content is king!)
- Cloaking (giving different URL information to human visitors than to Google’s spider)
- Sneaky redirects (automatically sending visitors to another website without a valid reason, such as if you’ve changed URLs or are temporarily upgrading your website).
- Hidden texts or links
- Excessive doorway pages
- Excessive keywords that diminish user experience
- Improperly using (or abusing) rich snippets markup
- Sending automated queries to Google (they hate this!)
Google has a deeper (and far more terrifying) look at all of the above offending actions, and you’ll find it here.
Hopefully, the above information helps you answer the question “Why doesn’t my website show up in Google search?”
If you know what’s wrong and need expert guidance on how to fix things – or if you don’t know what’s wrong and are starting to panic – then contact us today for your free consultation. Be assured that we WILL help.
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