Issue Four (4) – Tell search engines where you are
Your SEO Guide starts here:
Issue 1 – The first step – Choosing your keywords
Issue 3 – Social Media – Building your brand
Issue 4 – Tell search engines where you are
Issue 5 – Link building – Get your votes
Issue 6 – Write your articles – Blogging
Issue 7 – Building your network – The social kind
Issue 8 – Spending money – Paid advertising
Have you read issues 1 through 3? If so, read on, if not, head back and read them (links above), because you really need to have a website to tell search engines where you are 😊
Okay, so now you have a website, you’ve picked your words, you’ve written your content. You’ve cononicalised your URLs so they include your keywords. You’ve done everything possible, but still you’re not at the top of the Google.
Well, it’s probably because Google hasn’t seen you yet. And, Google also doesn’t know where to look.
This is where submitting a site map and initiating a manual crawl comes in.
Firstly, what is a sitemap?
A sitemap is a list of pages on your website and their URLs. It’s usually in an xml (eXtenisble Markup Language) format and uploaded to the root directory of your website’s server.
Clear enough? I know, not really right. So, let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. XML is a file format that was designed to store and transport data. That’s all. It was also designed so it can be read by both a human and a machine. If you check on w3 schools, you’ll get some examples of XML files and how you can read them from this URL https://www.w3schools.com/xml/
So, now you know what XML is, you also need to know what the hell I am talking about when you are uploading it to the root directory of your website’s server right?
Okay, so your website is stored somewhere on a server, that people can use the internet to access. Each one of your web pages is also on the server, and, a well made website is made of a different folders. Think on it like this.
You have: www.digiground.com.au/ and when you click on it, it displays our home page. Anything on our home page is in the homepage folder. This is the root folder.
When you go to www.digiground.com.au/digiground-services/ you are entering the “DigiGround Services” folder, and so anything you see is stored in there.
Anything with a / after it is a folder. Anything without it is not a folder. So, say you were at www.digiground.com.au/digiground-services/website-design you’d be on the “Website Design” file in the DigiGround Services folder which is in the DigiGround folder.
Actually, our website is not constructed like this, but you get the idea.
What you want, is to put your sitemap on the root directory (in our case, www.digiground.com.au) so when you go to www.digiground.com.au/sitemap.xml you find the sitemap. Actually, ours is compressed into a .gz file, so it’s at www.digiground.com.au/sitemap.xml.gz but that’s a little bit more advanced and so, just stick with your xml.
Now, once you’ve put it there (depends on your server how it gets there, you should ask your web administrator), you need to tell Google to go and have a look at it.
So, sign up to the Google Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools) here https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/
Then you’ll have to add a property. Now, I’m not here to teach you how to add yourself to Google Search Console, actually, I’m here to tell you how to tell search engines where you are.
You can go to Google and search how to add it (or, maybe one day Lily Pattie will write a Blog on it), but I want to emphasise that Google is NOT the only search engine in the world.
What you actually want to do is think about your website and target markets, then make sure you add your site to the search engines your targets use.
Here’s a resources from 2015 http://returnonnow.com/internet-marketing-resources/2015-search-engine-market-share-by-country/
You can see, Google dominates the crap out of most places with the 80s and 90s for their percentage of users, but pay close attention to China. Baidu is their number 1 search engine, and Qihoo 360 is their number 2. Why? Because Google is banned in China.
Russians use Yandex, a search engine that is completely unknown outside of Russia.
And South Koreans use Naver, again, only used in Korea.
What you also want to do is check the runner up. It sounds weird, but a stack of countries use their local Yahoo (seriously, weird). And, Bing is on the rise everywhere thanks to Windows putting it as their default search engine and making it harder and harder to change your Edge or IE default search.
So, how do you make Google find you? Lesson to learn here is, don’t just make Google find you, make them all. Research your target market (usually country based) and find out which search engines (not search engine) they use, then add yourself to every one of them. They all have webmaster tools and they all read sitemaps. So, generate your site map, add it to your root directory and then submit it to your webmaster tools.