The five basics of Google ranking
In their guidance for webmasters, Google gives 5 basic questions that you should ask yourself about your website.
- Is my website showing up on Google?
- Do I serve high-quality content to users?
- Is my local business showing up on Google?
- Is my content fast and easy to access on all devices?
- Is my website secure?
This gives us an immediate clue to what Google considers important foundations for achieving good visibility in their search results.
Over the next few articles I’m going to cover all five of these questions. In an earlier article I covered the first question: “Is my website showing up on Google?”
I suggest you read that as it tells you how to check if you are listed on Google, and what to do if you aren’t.
I thought I’d expand on one important point in terms of making it easier for search engines to index your site correctly.
As I mentioned in that other article, search engines use automated software called “crawlers”, “spiders” or “robots” in order to locate and index the billions of pages on the Internet. One important helping hand you can give these crawlers is to provide what’s called a sitemap. This is a simple file that contains a list of pages and structure of your site in a special format that crawlers understand.
How do I know if my website has a sitemap?
A sitemap is usually located at the top level of your website’s directory structure. So the quick way to check if you have a sitemap is to type into your browser’s address bar the following address (substituting your own domain name of course):
Amazing Internet’s Portfolio Series websites have a sitemap generated automatically, so you never need to worry about it. If you don’t have one and want one added to your site, speak to your website developer who will be able to advise the best way to get one added.
If you don’t have a sitemap it doesn’t mean that your site won’t get indexed but, particularly for new sites or sites that are struggling with search engine ranking, having one can be a definite help.
Next time I’ll be taking up the second of the five questions and looking at what “high-quality content” really means in the eyes of a search engine.