I am writing this post in the hope that small mum and dad companies trying to establish themselves in the Australian search space will read this and understand the importance of getting their sites introduced to Google.
It is a sad but true fact that a website does not even appear in the Google Index even after the site owner has spent money building the site and hosting it on cyberspace. If you are in this position, you must be frustrated to the limit. I am outlining five simple methods of introducing your site to Google by which I mean that you are letting Google know that your site is very much alive in the cyberspace and making Google take notice of you.
1) Create a Sitemap:
Creating a sitemap with all the links to various content on your site is a snap using Google Search Console at www.google.com/webmasters. You have to first register for this service. The instructions are pretty straightforward and easy to follow to generate a sitemap which you have to submit. It is an XML file and helps Googlebot to crawl your site easily in the event of having problems following the actual links on the site.
Through this interface, a site owner can understand her site better and find out if there are any crawling errors, the keywords used by searchers to find her site and the links coming into her site from external sources.
The most common problem I have encountered with sites of small business owners is that they remain insulated on the web. Such sites do not link out to other relevant sites and do not receive any incoming links or backlinks from external sites.
If your site is an Australian based site, the best way to solve this problem is to submit to local directories. A good example is to submit your site under the relevant category to a good quality directory like Yellowpages or Truelocal. The spiders crawl such sites regularly and are sure to find your site’s link and follow it to your site. Moreover, they allow free submissions. There are many other Australian directories that allow you to submit your site for free.
Please remember that Google gives more value to a site that is found in its crawl through links on other sites than submitting the site through their submit url interface at www.google.com/addurl/.
3) Good Quality Content:
This is possibly the hardest part. But success does not come easy. It is all the more important that you have great content on your website. It must be unique and valuable to readers, enlightening them on the business product or service you provide and list their benefits.
The purpose of quality copy is twofold – it converts casual visitors into customers and invites links from other sites on the web. These are generally called editorial links. Google considers every link from other sites to your site as a vote. It tells Google that the more your backlink count is, your site is very popular. If you are not a good at writing, you should hire a good copywriter.
Please remember to link to relevant sites that are in the same or closely similar field to yours. There is a common misconception that by linking out to other sites, you will leak pagerank etc and your site will lose its power. It is not true. When you link to relevant industry standard websites, it will strengthen the good neighbourhood aspect of your site linkage and you will get a lot of benefits long term.
You do not have much control over who is linking to you. But over time, you can rest assured that you will get links from good quality sites relevant to your industry as long as you maintain your content quality.
4) Create a Blog:
You may be in a small business providing a service or selling a product on your website to a specific local area in Sydney or Brisbane or anywhere in Australia. A blog is a great tool to express your ideas and feelings about your industry. You can use it to let readers know the latest trends and developments in your industry.
Ensure that you make 2 to 3 posts every week. This is important because this keeps the readers happy and it shows you are an expert in your chosen industry. The search engine spiders also realise that you have posted new content to your blog as soon as you publish your post. This pings the bots and they come to crawl your site. The more the number of posts, the more regularly they crawl your site.
You can use WordPress to create a blog. Posting on a blog is really easy. If you are serious about your business online, you would be well off registering a domain name and have a WordPress blog installed on your domain. It is a small cost but it shows users that you are a serious business out in the cyberspace to establish yourself and dominate your niche in time to come. It adds a lot of credibility.
Another important point with a blog is that your posts can invite comments in the long run. You have the full authority to verify the quality of comments and disapprove those that are not appropriate. You retain a lot of control.
5) Social Media – Cyber Word of Mouth:
Participate actively in social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Be yourself, give yourself a human look and feel on the web rather than hide behind an email, network with like minded people and build relationships. The biggest mistake that many people make is that they start promoting themselves and their businesses without even knowing the other contacts well enough.
Imagine in real life that you are at a party. You are meeting most of the guests for the first time. If you start handing out your business cards and start promoting your business, you are sure to be by yourself and totally shunned as the party progresses.
Cultivate relationships online. This takes time and effort but it is well worth it. You will have a great following over time and you can leverage it in a subtle manner to achieve some of your business goals. At least, you can get their help in promoting your website. It is virtually the cyber form of word of mouth. You not only build great contacts but you are bound to get lots of links to your site when others in your group recommend your site. The inbound links go up all the time.