“My site is live. How do I get my site on the first page on Google?”
So I get this site A LOT from clients, anywhere from a week to a few weeks after their new site launches, so I decided to write a blog answering this SEO and Internet Marketing FAQ so my clients and other business owners have a better understanding of what to expect when their new site goes live.
It takes some time for a new site to be indexed. And when an old site gets redesigned, a new domain name, or is completely overhauled with new content and platform, you may fall in page ranking or fall off page ranking for a time. So how can you get your site up there or back up there? How long does it take? What can you do to help the process? And what pitfalls can you avoid?
My Personal Fall
As a web designer and internet marketer, I’m not immune to Page Ranking mishaps and sudden avalaches on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). I had recently did some major overhaul to my sites after one of my sites had been hacked, which alone can cause sudden slides on SERPs. I moved my site to a more secure server, which in turn gave me a new IP address and then I did some major content/updates on the backend of my site.
When I was working on my staging site, I did not want to interrupt service on my live site so I created a staging site. But to avoid duplicate content being indexed, I changed my settings to discourage search engines to crawl that staging site. What I forgot to do when my staging site went live is remove those protocols so Google could begin indexing the new site. Human error is just that, but after weeks of those changes and with incorrect nofollow settings, my site completely fell off the page ranking for all of my target keywords.
So what did I do and what should you do? First, don’t panic, it can be fixed when you know what you’re doing. Second, be patient, as it takes time for Google and the other search engines to find and properly index your website, but it will happen. And third, don’t give up, just keep working on your keyword-rich content and optimization of your website. In just less than two weeks, my site was back up on first page for most of my targeted keywords and climbing well on the others.
How Much Time Does it Take?
So you have a new site or newly designed site up, how long does it take for Google (and the other search engines) to find it?
According to Google: “Crawling and indexing are processes which can take some time and which rely on many factors. In general, we cannot make predictions or guarantees about when or if your URLs will be crawled or indexed.”
In my experience, within a few weeks or more, you will start seeing indexing taking place, but that does not mean first page placement. That will take some time and consistent work, especially depending on how competitive your target keywords are.
So what can you do?
- First of all, submit your site manually to the search engines, create a Google My Business listing, and talk to your web designer about your organic SEO strategy on the site.
- Do some research on specific targeted keywords that you should focus on, make sure those keywords are integrated into your site on titles, headings, subheadings, page content, alt tags, meta tags, and throughout your blog posts.
- Have an XML sitemap to aid Google in crawling your site.
- Make sure you site is indexing properly on Google, with both the www.yoursitename.com and yoursitename.com versions of your URL.
- Use a good backlink strategy, an effective social media marketing plan, and update your directory listings with your new website’s domain name (URL).
- You can also use Webmaster Tools in Google make sure your site is properly indexed, verify ownership and use the Fetch tool.
“The Fetch as Google tool enables you to test how Google crawls or renders a URL on your site. You can use Fetch as Google to see whether Googlebot can access a page on your site, how it renders the page, and whether any page resources (such as images or scripts) are blocked to Googlebot. This tool simulates a crawl and render execution as done in Google’s normal crawling and rendering process, and is useful for debugging crawl issues on your site.” – Google.com
- Continually add fresh content to your site, through a blog or a newsfeed. The more often you blog, you provide more opportunities to ping search engines with new content, thus encouraging the search engines to crawl your site and appropriately rank your webpages.
Why there is no guarantee when you will start ranking on search pages, or where but the harder you work on your SEO strategy, the quicker and higher your site will rank. Be patient and enjoy your climb!