Why isn’t my site showing on Google?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Beginners
We are often asked the
question, “Why isn’t my site appearing on Google?” You may be the only
company specializing in designer clothing for rats based in Palo Alto –
but if you do a search on “designer clothing rats Palo Alto”
and you get over 100,000 results or ‘hits.’ This article will
gives you a few ideas as to why this happens and how you can improve
your ‘ranking’ on Google and other search engines.
As you will have noticed on Google, there are the searches on the
left hand side (these are called ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ searches) and
small advertisement blocks on the right (‘AdWords’). AdWords are paid
for and you pretty much decide where you want to be placed, depending
on how much you are prepared to pay every time someone clicks an ad
(you can also set a daily maximum so that you never get surprised by a
big bill if you get a flurry of clicks). You can also restrict the ads
to a local area so that you are not paying for people clicking in New
York when you are located in Los Angeles.
The natural search are not paid for, but the position of your page is
decided by Google (or which ever search engine you are looking at) and
depends on several factors, for example:
1. Has your site been submitted to Google?
2. Are the contents of the site, search engine (Google) ‘friendly’?
There are various best practices about the ‘density’ and location of
3. How many other sites link to your site? Sites gain a better page rank if many sites link to them.
4. How often is the content of your site updated? Google likes ‘fresh’ content.
5. Do you have information on there that might be useful – in other words, is the site more than an advert?
6. Has your site been submitted through any of the paid-for submission
services, e.g. Yahoo search Submit Express, a single point of
submission into Yahoo!, AltaVista, AllTheWeb, and other portals and
submission to the Yahoo Directory
7. If the content of your site changes a lot then setting up Google
sitemap software might improve placement since it means that the site
is ‘spidered’ more often. This is the process by which Google
searches through and indexes your content.
Even if you get all these right – there are no guarantees of position
(i.e. how close your site appears near the top of the first page in
Google search results). For example, say you are a local plumbing
company. ‘Plumbing’ is a competitive area with lots of companies
jockeying for position. One of the tricks that some people play is to
create a whole load of pages with a different city and place name on
each page. The result of this is that it looks like there are way more
firms in your area than there actually are.
To gain an insight into how Google determines your ranking, check out The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine. This is the paper written by Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page
while researching at Stanford University. It gives some clues
about how Google determines the importance of your Web page. The actual
used today is secret, but this paper will gives you some ideas as to
the methods used in ranking Web pages. You may also like to look at one
of Google patent applications.
The patent application abstract is as follows: “A system
identifies a document and obtains one or more types of history data
associated with the document. The system may generate a score for the
document based, at least in part, on the one or more types of history
If you would like some help in improving your position in search engine queries, contact Billy Fire.