Is Google Indexing Your Website?

Last time, we touched on some ways that you can make your site more crawlable, or easy for Google’s bots to roam. Taking steps such as building a sitemap, slimming down your navigational structure, and providing quality content enhances the crawability of your webpages.  But it does not ensure that Google will then index the pages, and this is really the goal of being crawlable; indeed, it is the goal of having a website for many businesses!  How can you make sure Google is indexing your site and you are achieving the visibility you should be?

The good news is that making your site crawlable, you are greatly increasing the odds that Google can index it.  Creating a sitemap and rich, original content, for instance, will show the bots your site’s value.  In addition:

  • Pay attention to your links.  It is essential that your internal links flow smoothly and are not broken. If bots start with your homepage, they continue indexing by following the internal links.  This also benefits because you will appear more prominently in searches.  Google recommends that every page should be reachable by at least one static link.
  • If your page has images, considering using the ALT attribute to describe them in text.
  • Use robot.txt to tell Google which pages to index and which to skip. This is important if, say, you have a printable version of a page; Google will not index the duplicate content.
  • Use emulators to test your website for different browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.
  • Test your page speeds.
  • Do not keyword stuff, insert hidden texts or links, host duplicate content, or create doorway pages.  This indicates to Google that you are trying to game their system, and you could find yourself penalized in results.

The most important aspect of indexing is making sure that you have quality content that is worth being indexed.  Google is not looking for whoever did the best SEO; they are looking for the most relevant answer to the searcher’s query.  Gear your site to humans, not to search engines. This, in turn, will ensure that the search engines like them more as well.

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