Telling Google about your site is an important part of being seen in searches. While Google will find it without your help you can speed things up if you assist plus you can resolve issues that may be effecting your rankings.
Your first step in to have your site added to Google Webmaster tools. If you don’t have an account just go to http://google.com/webmaster and select “Add account”, note you do not have to have a gmail account for this, any email account will work.
Adding your site to Webmaster Tools
Once in the console click on “Add a Property” and type in your URL making sure it has the http/https section. Also if your site uses “www” in its name you would be advised to add both the “www” and non “www” versions of the domain making user you specified which version is preferred. Whether you know this or not the “www” and non “www” domains are actually completely different as far as a computer is concerned.
You will need to validate your site by uploading the file (to your site) that Google provides.
Check for Errors
There are several sections you should be looking at in the console. A critical one is “Crawl Errors” which you can find under the Crawl menu. If Google cannot crawl your site it will not list it.
Hopefully you see “No errors detected in the last 90 days” as per the below image however if you see anything else you need to investigate and resolve the issues. Again if Google cannot crawl your site it will not list it, so if any errors are in this section it should be your highest priority to resolve them.
If you have a close look at the below screen shot you can see a blip on the graphic that actually captures a crawl error that has been resolved. This could have been anything from an issue within your site code or a failure on the underlying platform, so having a reliable hosting provider is a big plus with your rankings and regularly testing your site is recommended.
Please note that if you are renaming or removing pages it is advisable that you create a redirect from the old page to the new one or a valid alternative as this can also cause crawl errors.
Within the “Search Appearance” menu there is a section called “HTML Improvements”. This provides advice in regards to your Meta data. For those who don’t know the meta data describes a page’s content. Title and Keywords are examples of these which traditionally were added manually using HTML tags within site code, however with modern CMS platforms you generally have the option to add these to your posts and pages, depending upon which platform you use. Google used to use these for SEO but now they apparently just use on-page text. The meta descriptions however are what is generally used for the entries within a search result, so it is in your best interest to make sure your Title and Description tags are put in correctly.
If you look at the code in the Altair Hosting website you will see the following entries which correspond with what the search result returned:
<title>Web Hosting Made Easy</title> <meta name="description" content="Reliable affordable website hosting - For all your web hosting and domain name registration needs." />
Getting back to the HTML Improvements you should see something like the screenshot below. Note that there is an issue with a “Short meta description” that needs to be addressed in this site.
Submitting your sitemap
Most modern CMS platforms have this either built in or easily added by a plugin (WordPress has many). You can test a sitemap by typing your URL and the name of the sitemap into your browsers address bar. In the case of this site your would type https://www.altairhosting.com/sitemap.xml. This will display something like this:
Once you know what your sitemap URL is you can add it to the console by click on “Add/Test Sitemap” in the Crawl/Sitemap menu as per the below screenshot. Note you just type in the page address on not the full URL, in this example it is simply /index.php/sitemap_index.xml.
Good SEO isn’t rocket science however your best bet is to follow Googles guidelines. History has shown that Google will quite happily delist your site if they discover you are trying to cheat the system and they are becoming very good at catching people. It seems quite clear from allot of the information coming out on the Internet that Black Hat SEO is currently dead and good riddance. What is left is better quality sites but more importantly if you get to the top of a search with a relevant and good quality website you are likely to stay there.
While submitting your site to Webmaster Tools and resolving any errors will not guarantee first page in a search it will ensure you get within Googles site database which is mandatory to achieve a listing whether good or bad.