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Your first website and Google, so what happens next?

Dec 15th 2011

So you’ve built your first website, and you want to get found in Google. If you’re not sure what happens and how it all works, then read on…

A long time ago I built my first website which was an online shop, long before FL1 Digital was even thought of.

I put it live, and braced myself and waited for the orders to come flooding in.
Guess what? They never did! Or not at first anyway.

I’ve seen a number of people build a website, put it live and search in Google within the hour only to be met with disappointment.

Getting in to Google
It sounds daft, but Google won’t know about your website unless you tell it.
It’s quite possible that Google will follow a link to your website from another website some time after you’ve launched it, but this could take some weeks.

The easiest sure fire way is to manually tell Google that your website exists.

How do you do this? Well, the easiest way is to search in Google with the term “submit my site to Google” and the rest is very simple.

The way we recommend you do it is to use Google Webmaster Tools. This is a free service and you can register yourself as the owner of your website. Not only this, but you can upload something called an XML Sitemap which explicitly tells Google where your website is and what pages you have. This tool is also an excellent resource for troubleshooting and finding out what Google thinks of your website.

The Sand Box
Once your website is in Google, it in effect gets entered in to a Quarantine area dubbed the “Sand Box“. From Google’s point of view, it wants to know if your website is credible, reliable and a sustainable source of content. What Google doesn’t want to see is a website that’s there one minute and gone the next. Google really doesn’t want to refer someone searching to a website that no longer exists. With this in mind, it takes some weeks for it to monitor, assess and start to rank your website.

How do I know if my website is in Google at all?
Google has a great command for this. Is you type in to Google “site:www.mywebsite.com” (without quotes, and where www.mywebsite.com is the name of your website), Google will show you all the active pages it has for your website in its index.

Are there any quicker ways?
A Google Maps/Google Local Business Listing is your first port of call. These are free, and potentially rank you above the other “natural” Google listings. We recommend everyone has one regardless of their geographic scope.

The best way to keep Google interested and speed your way up the rankings is to have regularly changing and well written content. Blogs are a great way to engage your reader, but more importantly engage Google.

How long does it take to get a full ranking?
For most websites that aren’t changing daily or filled with key-word rich content, expect this process to take around 12 months. Our advice often is to focus on building quality links to your website, and explore driving traffic from any source other than Google, and more often than not Google takes care of itself in the long run. Relying on Google natural rankings alone in your first year can often lead to disappointment.

Building a new website is often like setting up shop in the middle of the country. Relying on passing foot-fall alone won’t work unless you go out and tell people where you are and how they get to your shop. Google in many ways is no different.

Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are also excellent ways to create awareness and drive traffic to your website.

Want to know more?
Here are some other articles you might find useful and if that doesn’t interest you, what about one of our Workshops?