Hi again! We’ve now gone through all of the steps to create a business, get hosting, develop a website, and add all of the SEO and functional “goodies” like forms and links.
So, how are people going to find your website?
Here’s the thing… a LOT of companies build a website, and then just leave it. The same goes for a lot of those “free” or super cheap web builders out there.
Here this loud and clear, “No one is going to find your website by just hanging your ‘shingle’ out there!”
You need to let at least the most important search engines know that you are here. There are some other things you can do after that to improve your ability to be found in search, but here are the absolute essentials.
Why submit my website?
You want your site to show up in organic search results. That means, you want Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., to show your website when they are looking for your company or the type of company you are, the products you have, or the services you offer. To be found on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), your site must be indexed by the search engine.
The two main search engines out there are Google and Bing. Now, there are arguably more and even better ones (YouTube, Yandex, etc.), but, seriously, Google and Bing are the two I’m going to focus on now.
How to get your website indexed?
The first thing you want to do is to add Google Analytics to your website. Google Analytics is a web service offered by Google which is free. You’ll need to go to analytics.google.com and start an account using a Gmail email address.
Answer the questions that follow when setting up the property, and you’ll be given a unique “UA” code. Let’s leave that alone now, but stay connected to Gmail.
Now, let’s go into your WordPress website, and let’s add the MonsterInsights Google Analytics plugin and activate it. Then, choose to connect your Google Analytics account to the plugin. Go through the “wizard” and answer the questions. Once you’re plugged in, Google Analytics code will invisibly show on each page of your website, and information about visits to your website will start being written to Google Analytics.
Next, let’s start Google Search Console. This used to be called Google Webmaster Tools. Look for Google Search Console in Google, and click on the link. Start a new account. Add your website. Because you have installed Google Analytics, you should be verified.
Now, let’s go to www.yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml. (“yourwebsite.com” should be your own domain.) Because we have the Yoast SEO plugin installed, we have an automatic sitemap that is created and updated as your create more Pages and Posts. Let’s copy the URL for your sitemap. Then, let’s go back to Google Search Console. Go to the Sitemaps section, and submit your sitemap URL.
Finally, let’s go to Bing Webmaster Tools. Let’s create a new account there using the Gmail we’ve been using for Google (unless you already have a Microsoft account). We’re going to go through the same steps we did for Google Search Console here including adding the sitemap URL. However, Bing will require that you either add a meta tag to each page of your site OR that you upload a file to your root folder. I usually try to use the Yoast SEO plugin to input the meta tag. That works MOST of the time (though I’ve done it both ways). After you are verified, Bing will start indexing your site.
Okay, now you’ve taken steps to getting your site submitted to the search engines. Keep in mind that during COVID-19, indexing has been slow, so be patient. Does that mean, though, that you have to rest and not to anything?
Certainly not! You’ve got marketing to do. In future posts we’ll talk about promotion via email marketing, social media, and *gasp* online advertising.
You can also use one of a couple of services including MOZ Local or Yext to place your business in various directories. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. In a future post, I’ll walk you through Google My Business and Bing Places for Business which are critical assets for local neighborhood businesses.