‘How to get found on Google’ is a common query for website owners, especially those who have just launched their brand new site, and realised that they have no website traffic. Unless you have an alternative, proven and reliable source of traffic, such as from social media or direct traffic (ie. people typing in your website address), you will need your website to appear on Google.
Google is the number one search engine worldwide, and has consitently benefited from a market share of over 90%. When people want to find a product, service, or answer to a question, Google is the leading resource for information.
Two Ways to Get Found on Google
Today, there are many ways for a website to appear on Google in various different formats. From product listings in Google Shopping, to images from your website in Google Images. But, there are two leading ways to get found on Google, and this applies to any type of website; Google’s organic search and Google paid ads. When a query is submitted on Google, these are the two types of results that will appear in the SERPs (search engine results pages) by default. In this article, we will focus on these, when looking at how to get found on Google.
Google Organic Search
Google’s organic search makes up the bulk of the search engine results pages. These are non-paid results, that often extend across 10+ pages of search results. Getting your website to appear in these organic search results for a relevant search query, depends on the quality of your website content, amongst other things. There is no way to gain an advantage or make quick gains with organic search results. Google’s algorithms are designed to show websites that demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness, over a sustained period of time.
Google Paid Ads
When a search query is typed into Google, you will have noticed that most results pages show a series of website links marked as ‘Ad‘ or ‘Promoted‘. These are paid adverts, and are usually displayed at the top and bottom of each search results page. Google Ads work on a pay-per-click basis, and unlike organic search results, a website can be seen on Google the very same day. Google Ads work off a separate bidding algorithm, where daily spend, ad quality and relevance to the search query are all taken into account.
How to Get Found on Google Organic Search
We’ve taken a look at the two main forms of getting found on Google. Google paid ads are reasonably self-explanatory; ads are created, a budget set, and can appear in a relatively short space of time. However, getting found in the organic listings is more complex, and requires a dedicated SEO (search engine optimisation) strategy. Let’s take a look at how to get found on Google organic search.
Firstly, What is SEO?
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation, is the process of optimising a website to better rank in organic search engine results. This is usually divided into two categories, on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO includes things such as website text content, heading, title tags, image optimisation, site navigation and usability; while off-page SEO includes external references to your business, links from other websites or social media. Google uses over 200 factors when ranking websites in organic search. These factors aren’t publicised, but we are able to get a feel for Google’s expectations in their webmaster guidelines.
SEO can be carried out by an SEO agency, but many basic optimisations can be done by a website owner. Here are some of the most important SEO factors to consider when looking to get found on Google organic search.
Step 1: Keyword Research
Before we can rank any website on Google’s organic search, we need to know what people search for. While we might have an idea of what a potential customer might type into the Google search bar, unless we know for sure, our SEO efforts could be wasted. Finding the terms people use when looking for your specific products or services is essential, and lays the foundations for an effective SEO strategy.
Google Keyword Planner
Google’s Keyword Planner is a tool available as part of the Google Ads suite. Although it is offered as a tool to help plan ad campaigns, it is extremely useful for gauging what users search for on Google, and in what volumes.
When first heading into the keyword planner, you will have the option to enter a topic, or a website address. Either are useful, but depending on the depth and quality of your website content, especially for a new website, it may be worth searching with relevant topics. You’ll be presented with a table showing keywords or search terms, monthly search volumes, change over time and estimated competition for ranking purposes.
From here, you’ll be able to establish which of these search terms is relevant to your website, an estimated search volume and competition level.
TIP: With a new website, try to find lower competition keywords, to increase your chances of ranking.
Step 2: Optimise your Website Pages
Now that we have an idea what keywords or search terms we are going to target, we can start to make on-page optimisations on your website. Ideally, you’ll want to target one search term per page to begin with. This gives the page the best chances of ranking, with content directly related to that search term.
Add a Title tag & Meta Description
The title tag and meta description are the details shown for a website in search results. These are an important factor to consider, as Google uses these to established the topic of your page. It’s a good idea to include your main keyword or search term in the title, as well as the meta description. These should be brief, yet descriptive. While the meta description isn’t a ranking factor, the terms will be highlighted to users in the search results.
Most website builders will have the facility to add these titles and description, usually under SEO settings. WordPress doesn’t have this feature as standard, and uses the default page name for the title tag. Using an SEO plugin such as RankMath or Yoast will allow you to add these for each page or post on your website.
Tip: Google limits the length of title and meta tags that will be shown in search results. While SEO plugins will generate a preview, you can check also check them here.
Add relevant headings
Now that you have relevant title and meta tags in place, we can look at your page content. Headings are an important place to start, as they show the topic of each section of your page. Headings are defined by heading tags, H1-H6. While it doesn’t matter too much which are used, they should be used to show a hierarchy or structure to your content.
Usually, a page’s main title will use a H1 heading. From here it’s a good idea to structure your content using H2-H6. For example, if I was writing a blog post on ‘SEO tips’, I would consider using the following structure:
- SEO Tips for Beginners (H2 Title)
- Tip One (H3 Title)
- Tip Two (H3 Title)
Deciding on headings before writing the bulk of the content for your page and post can help you define a structure and set out information in easy to understand sections.
Write your page content
Having quality, researched, informative and well written content is essential for any website. Short amounts of text with limited information simply won’t rank in organic search. It’s possible that Google will not even index your page, meaning it cannot appear in search results.
Write your content to be as useful and informative as possible. Consider what information a user may be looking for and how you can fully satisfy their query. It’s a good idea to include your main keywords or search term throughout the content; but don’t overdo it. Consider what phrases or words also relate to the topic you are covering and include these. Remember, your content should be primarily for a person, not for a search engine.
Images help to make any web page more inviting, breaking up long sections of text, and can be a useful resource for people visiting your website. Adding images or other media, such as YouTube videos may be beneficial to assisting the user with their query, but can also be used as links to other parts of your website.
TIP: While Google can’t see images as such, you can add an image alt attribute to describe the image for the purpose of search engines. This can also help to demonstrate the topic of your page.
Step 3: Make sure Google knows about your website
Just because you have a website, it doesn’t mean Google is aware of it. Yes, Google can find and crawl your website from other websites that link to it, but the best way to ensure this is to add a sitemap to Google Search Console.
To begin, you need to have access to Google Search Console with your Google account. Sign in and you’ll be presented with the screen below.
Before you will be able to see data similar to the screenshot above, you’ll need to add your website. In the example, you’ll see ‘example.com’ in the top left. On clicking here you will have the option to ‘+ Add Property’. To complete this process, Google will ask for your website URL (website address), and will require you to complete authorisation to ensure the website you want to access belongs to you. There are various ways to do this, but most include adding code to your website, which enables Google to confirm you are the owner, and also track website performance to display in the dashboard.
See Google’s guide to adding and authorising a website property here.
Authorisation or verification is almost instant, once the relevant code is found within your website pages. Once this is complete, click ‘sitemaps’ in the left menu. A sitemap is as it sounds, a map of your website pages for the benefit of Google. While many site builders will generate a sitemap automatically, a CMS such as WordPress will need a plugin to do this. The SEO plugins mentioned earlier will also generate a sitemap.
The best way to check you have a sitemap present is to type your website address, followed by /sitemap.xml.
For example, for this website, the sitemap can be found at https://studio36digital.co.uk/sitemap.xml, as below.
Once you know that your sitemap is in place, you can submit it to Google. Under the sitemaps tab in Search Console, you’ll see the screen below. Enter just the last section of your sitemap URL (ie. sitemap.xml).
Google will now attempt to read your sitemap and if successful, will display a success status, along with the number of website pages found.
Further Steps for How to get found on Google
While the above steps cover the basic, most important areas to concentrate on when looking to get found on Google, there are numerous other areas to look at. These include:
Usability & Page Speed
Usability is a significant factor when looking to further your search engine presence. Websites should have a clear and straightforward navigation, while loading quickly and providing the most relevant and informative content for the search query. User engagement is also a factor that is considered by Google, so when users consistently return quickly to the search results, it’s safe to say there is a problem. Common problems include; slow page loading, poor navigation and thin content. Focus on creating the best user experience possible.
Internal links are used to aid navigation, help search engines navigate the website, and demonstrate what another page is about. For example, if I was writing a post about SEO services and decided to reference my SEO packages page, I would add a link in the text as appropriate (eg. A great way to get found on Google is to consider SEO packages.)
External links are similar to internal links, except they link to a page on another website. This can be used as a reference for the user to help explain a topic further. This also helps Google and further reinforces the topic of the web page. For example, this blog post references Google, so I have linked to the site from the text.
Backlinks are links to your website from other sources on the web. These include other websites, blogs and business directories. Backlinks act as a kind of referral, which help to build the authority of a website in the eyes of Google. Backlinks should be of a good standard and from reputable websites, linking naturally from articles or text that are relevant to the page they are linking to. Use caution when creating backlinks, as low quality or spammy websites can harm your Google search engine ranking.
One of the most important factors in getting found on Google is generating fresh, quality content on a regular basis. It demonstrates to Google that your website is updated frequently with information that is relevant to your website, products or services. Having a website blog is one of the best ways to do this, creating content that is comprehensive and helpful for users.
How to Get Found on Google: Conclusion
While getting found on Google is not particularly straightforward, it’s certainly worth doing, as ranking highly for search terms related you your business will drive traffic to your website, leading to enquires and sales. Today, Google wants a great user experience for users, so if you can do this through your website, you are well on your way to some decent ranking positions in Google’s organic search.
The three main steps above will have the greatest effect in the beginning, but it’s also worth considering the further steps for how to get found on Google, which will further help boost your website authority. Remember to make your content primarily for the user, rather than the search engine, creating engaging, useful content throughout your pages.
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