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I Google myself sometimes—I’ll admit it. Wanna know what shows up? My 10th grade school portrait, among other embarrassing things. But you know what’s worse than Googling yourself and finding an embarrassing picture? Googling your company name and not finding your website.
Many business owners will wonder why their site doesn’t show up on Google—assuming maybe there is someplace online they need to submit their site in order for Google to crawl and index it. This is not the case. According to the search engine,
“Inclusion in Google’s search results is free and easy; you don’t even need to submit your site to Google. Google is a fully automated search engine that uses software known as ‘spiders’ to crawl the web on a regular basis and find sites to add to our index. In fact, the vast majority of sites listed in our results aren’t manually submitted for inclusion, but found and added automatically when our spiders crawl the web.”
So if that’s the case, why doesn’t your site show up in Google? Here are three reasons why Google might not be crawling and indexing your site:
Reason 1: You’re Using robots.txt or Meta Robots
A robots.txt file tells Google’s crawlers which pages it can and cannot crawl. Similarly, a noindex meta tag can be used to exclude individual pages from search engine results.
In the past, SEO experts recommended adding the robots.txt file and having it set to “allow” to ensure that Google would crawl your site. However, Google has confirmed that this isn’t necessary.
If you’re using robots.txt incorrectly, it’s possible that you’ve blocked Google from crawling pages that you’d like to see indexed. You can test your robots.txt file to make sure you’re using it correctly with the robots.txt analysis tool available in Google Webmaster Tools.
Reason 2: Google Removed You from Search Results for Violating its Quality Guidelines
Not being able to find your website when you Google “site: http://www.yoursite.com” is a major sign that your website has been penalized by Google. Other signs include:
- A drop in organic rankings (for target keywords or trademarked terms)
- A decrease in organic search traffic and/or leads
- An alert message in Google Webmaster Tools (or impression data that looks like the image below)
If you’re experiencing any of the aforementioned “symptoms,” it is possible that your website has been penalized. You can minimize the damage by contacting us today. Our team of SEO experts will perform an SEO audit of your website so that we can quickly diagnose the cause of your penalty and take swift action to get things fixed.
Reason 3: Google Makes Mistakes.
Though it’s unlikely, apparently there’s a small chance that Google missed your website. According to Google, when its spiders miss your site, it’s typically for one of the following reasons:
- The site isn’t well connected through multiple links from other sites on the web.
- The site launched after Google’s most recent crawl was completed.
- The design of the site makes it difficult for Google to effectively crawl its content.
- The site was temporarily unavailable when we tried to crawl it or we received an error when we tried to crawl it. You can use Google Webmaster Tools to see if we received errors when trying to crawl your site.
Ways to Help Google Crawl Your Site
1. Create and submit a sitemap of your pages using Google Webmaster Tools.
2. Make sure every page of your site is reachable via at least one static text link.
3. Be careful with robots.txt and NOINDEX—which tells Google’s crawlers which directories it can and cannot crawl and which pages it can and cannot index, respectively.
4. Read our other tips for improving your site’s crawlability.
How to Make Your Site More Visible in Search Engine Results
Most business owners that come to us are interested in getting their business on the first page of Google. There are several ways to get your business listed on the first page of Google—and at Blue Corona, we always recommend you try to get as many listings on the first page as possible (my boss calls this “maximizing your online real estate,” I call it “giving your competitors the ol’ one-two.” Potato, potato. Wow, that one really doesn’t translate to text.).
In order to get your business on the first page of Google and give your competitors the ol’ one-two, I recommend the following search engine marketing strategies: pay per click (PPC), search engine optimization (SEO), and local search engine optimization (LSEO). Conveniently, Blue Corona can help you with all of those. Fill out the form below for a free analysis.
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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