Are You Being Found by Google?

It may seem a curious question to ask, but here goes: is your site being indexed correctly? Have you seen your rankings drop in Google or not appear at all? Perhaps you’ve been noticing a drop in the number of pages you have and less traffic to your site. This isn’t an issue you want to ignore. It could mean that your website isn’t being indexed correctly because Google cannot access your web pages. In order to check this out, you’ll need to access your Google Webmaster Tools and check the “Google index” tab. Here you will find what Google has indexed and what, if any, pages are missing. 

If you have found that certain pages aren’t being found by Google, it’s time to take a look at the reason why your site hasn’t been crawled by Google. Begin with checking your Crawler Error messages. Most likely you’ll find a 404 HTTP Status Code warning. This means that your URL cannot be found. But this isn’t the only warning you’ll get, other crawler errors can contain the following.

Sitemaps - If you’ve received an error here, it means your website sitemap is not updating properly and your old sitemap is being sent to Google instead. Make sure to run a fresh sitemap and re-submit it. 

DNS or Connectivity Issues - The problem may simply be that your server can’t be reached and therefore you’ve received a crawler error. This could be due to your host is down for maintenance or there is a glitch in the system. Always double check with your hosting company to ensure everything is running smoothly. 

.htaccess - This can be a pretty damaging file if incorrectly configured on your site. Most FTP clients will allow you to toggle hidden/seen files so that you can access it if needed. 

Robots.txt - Be careful with this one. If you have a poorly written Robots.txt file with instructions telling a search engine not to crawl parts of your website, it can be like telling them to get lost and your website will suffer the consequences. 

Perhaps the issue is not crawler errors. Another question to ask yourself: does your site have inbound links? In order to be indexed by Google, your website has to have at least one quality inbound link from another website that has already been indexed by Google. One suggestion is to update social networks with you website URL. You can also engage in offsite content in order to build links such as being a guest poster on another blog in your line of work. Just make sure that any site you link to is high quality - any site that is seen as shady or spammy will only do you harm. 

One thing you don’t want is to be penalized by Google.This can happen for a number of reasons, but if you don’t deal with the issue immediately, you could be removed from search engines. Be smart and avoid any penalties by not doing the following:

  • automatically generating content
  • irrelevant keywords (keyword stuffing)
  • hidden links and text
  • duplicating content
  • sneaky redirects
  • shady incoming links

You’ve put in a lot of effort to create a good looking and functional website, so don’t let your efforts go to waste. Make sure to check for any little mistake that isn’t allowing Google to crawl you site and index it properly.