Why isn’t Google picking up your site?

It’s inevitable. You build a site or pay someone to do this for you, insert all your content, do some testing, launch and finally breathe. Everything is great, wonderful and you’re so pleased until you start getting emails saying something like:

“I searched for your site but couldn’t find it.”

Now why is that? Why isn’t Google picking up your site?

One of the first thing I do when launching a WordPress site is use the Google XML sitemaps plugin. With just one click, this plugin allows you to submit your XML sitemap to search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com allowing them to better index your blog.

Now this alone won’t guarantee you a number one spot on Google. In fact nothing will. SEO is much more complex than that and needs to be looked at constantly.

Common Craft have been making videos explaining technology for numerous years and today they released another one explaining Search Engine Optimization. Their videos are always brilliant and this one is no exception. I was most please to see hear Lee mentioning dodgy links. Paying for inbound links and attempting search engine manipulation will only make you look untrustworthy.

Let’s play "Guess the keyphrase" – an exercise in keyword density

Have you heard this search engine optimization (SEO) tactic? The more times you use your keyword, the better your chances of attracting the search engines. This is referring to keyword density, meaning the number of times your targeted keyword phrase appears in your web copy. There is no proven scientific formula for this, but the right phrase employed in the right places, such as your headline and subheads, will work wonders as search engine bait.

However, there are two parts to good SEO:

  1. Getting visitors to your site and
  2. Enticing them to stay. Recently, I came across a web page with this headline:

How to be your own boss and enjoy total freedom.

I quickly scanned the subheads (as typical web readers trend to do) to see if the content was of interest to me. This is what I saw:

Discover if it is right for you to be your own boss

Crunch the numbers before you be your own boss

Learn how to make money while you be your own boss

Make the transition from working for someone to be your own boss

Any guesses as to what the keyphrase is? I’m pretty sure it’s “be your own boss.”

In addition to this phrase repeated in the subheads, it was used ad nausea throughout the content making it sound ridiculously redundant.

Which brings me to the second part of SEO: Enticing readers to stay. I decided not to spend any more time on this page. It was painfully obvious that the copy was constructed for the sole purpose of building traffic, not to dispense advice to anyone considering an independent career path.

The bottom line is that while it’s important to make your content visible to the search engines, it’s more important to make it relevant to your visitors. Always write for them first. If your content is solid with natural keyword or keyphrase placement, search engine traffic and qualified customers will follow.

SEO with Linda Bustos at Northern Voice

Marketing consultant at Get Elastic, Linda Bustos led the SEO session at Northern Voice’s Internet Bootcamp using Kris Krug as an example. Kris is a very talented and passionate photographer. His site Static Photography does pretty well in Google ranking for a number of reasons:

  • His main keywords “Vancouver fashion and portrait photography” appear both in his title tag and main h1 tag
  • His site uses blog software which is better for search engines than a static site since it can be updated frequently
  • His links are keyword rich including his navigation links. For examples, instead of using fashion he uses “fashion photography”, instead of event he uses”event photography.

Kris also uses social media networks to promote his photography. The most obvious choice as a photographer is Flickr. By uploading his pictures on Flickr, Kris can share his images with others, tag them and insert keywords in his titles. Flickr also allows you to create a profile page, where a photographer can put information about their skills, link to their site and post testimonials.

It may seem like a lot of work, but these few simple tips can boost your traffic and help promote your site.