Beginner’s Guide to SEO: Getting your content indexed

Seo

Content is useless if no one can find it. To get your content found through search engines there are 3 things you should always sort out first. – Sitemap,  get it fetched, make it crawlable. This short guide helps explain what they mean and how to do it to get your content on search engines faster.

Getting the content on Google, Bing and other search engines

Sitemaps

Most websites have a sitemap (put /sitemap.xml at the end of the URL) that acts as a guide map for the search engine’s crawlers. The sitemap lists all the pages that are on the website that the website wants to be crawled. Pages can still be crawled without a sitemap but it makes it a lot easier for the crawlers.

If you use WordPress I recommend using Yoasts sitemaps, I’ve never had any problems with it.

Lastly, make sure that the sitemap has been submitted to Google Webmaster Tools (now Search Console).

Get it fetched

Waiting on the search engines to crawl and index your site takes and unknown amount of time, they will simply do it in their own time. However, you can get it indexed and ranking much quicker by getting it fetched. With fetching the content is usually available to the search engines within 10-15 minutes.

.Bing Submit URLSearch Console Fetch

Make it crawlable

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly is to make sure the content is crawlable. What makes it crawlable? Making sure there’s nothing blocking the content (Some JS, Flash etc) and that the page is set to INDEX as opposed to NOINDEX. When I’ve posted any new content on a new template or a website I always right click and click on ‘view source’ and manually check the HTML for any errors. If I can make sense of it then the search engines can is my rule.

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The Power of Google+

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There is no doubt in my mind that Google plus (G+) is a powerful tool for marketers, SEO, social media managers or anyone who is involved in their digital image, it has it’s challenges particularly as most people are accustomed to a couple of “main” social media sites and are skeptical as to why they should be using another when it is more or less twitter and facebook rolled into one. 

Sharing community

G+ is a very active sharing community, with many people in my circles publically sharing very often – pictures, blog posts and videos are the most common I have found. Interestingly enough, there aren’t many people sharing just a short paragraph of an event or an experience they’ve had such as they would often do on twitter and facebook. This works for me and my work as I can easily share pictures of cars we have specials on, blog posts and general car pictures. As I typed this I noticed the glaring similarities with Pinterest. 

+1 and shares

Users of G+ are very quick to +1 and share content they’ve seen on their feed, it’s a fair assessment to say that you don’t have to work as hard for the-all-important-shares with G+; which again works for me. Shares, +1, likes, retweets and all the rest of it are meaningful to SEO so it’s important to have engagement from people. If you compared our Facebook likes and G+ +1’s then in a few months our G+ will have dwarfed it.

G+ and SERPs

This is where the golden egg can be found. If i search for our primary keyword in incognito on google we will be 9th (At time of writing). Now, if I sign in to my personal Google account (Which has +1’d and followed our G+ page) then we are 4th, 5th and 7th! The 4th and 5th positions are taken up by recent google+ posts and the 7th is our normal result. Amazing stuff! This meant that we are 30% of the first page for that keyword under those circumstances.

I believe Google has possibly changed the algorithm slightly or dependant on something I can’t figure out yet as when I logged into my girlfriends account (Who has +1’d and followed) then we were 2nd! 

What does this mean for SEOs?

Pretty simple really, you need to be working on your G+ profile for your business. We are a fairly small company and the effects have been encouraging. However, the people you need to be followed by need to be relevant because coming up 4th, 5th and 7th for people who will not be purchasing or who will not be interested in your products is a wasted effort. Get to know the climate for your industry and get your name around in relevant communities, your G+ page needs to be nurtured just the same as other marketing channels you are using.