Google recently revealed that in 2017 it made over 270,000 algorithm experiments. That’s about 740 search experiments per day, which is an indication of how many people must be working on this stuff (and why you’ll never outwit them). It also said that 2,400 changes were kept and became a part of the search algorithms, which is about seven updates to Google’s overall algorithm every single day.
The reason I thought this was worth reporting is that if anyone ever tells you they know how Google works, don’t believe them.
If you need to get a page indexed in Google quickly, I’ve previously recommended using Google Search Console’s URL Submit Tool. However, according to an article in Search Engine Journal, if Google is not indexing your content, it’s your fault and you need to diagnose the reason why it’s not being indexed. The URL Submit Tool should not be necessary if you use one, two or even all three of these techniques:
- Link to the new content from a high-level page on your site;
- Ensure all new content is added to your site map instantly and automatically;
- Include new content in an RSS feed available to crawlers.
We use all three, and most pages appear within 24 hours, but I’m sure experiences will vary!
Google’s confused offerings for businesses over the years have all been pretty hopeless, but the current “Google My Business” product is essential to get to know. Although it’s primarily marketed at local businesses, it’s just as important for national ones. Quite simply, if anyone searches for your company on Google, a huge colourful panel will appear to the right of the search results, and if you want any control about what’s there, you need to be up to date on Google My Business.
Much as I’d love to give you a step by step guide, there’s too much to cover. I don’t think there are too many tips to provide anyway – just work your way through the system and make sure you’ve provided all the right information. If you’ve had Google+ brand accounts or a Google Local account in the past, sign in with the Google account you used to manage those. You can (and should) also create locations for any regional offices you have, nationally or internationally.
Also, remember that this big panel about you on the Google search results page belongs to Google, and they’re going to put what they want in it. All you can do is to guide them. Spend a while searching for competitors by name, and see what they’re getting in their panel. There might be some features which you’ll want too. But if you don’t like the photos which eventually get shown, or the reviews which people can add about you, hard luck. There are ways to manipulate these, but this is not an advertising feature, where you can call the shots. However, if you don’t get involved, Google may well just create a panel anyway, over which you have no say at all.
Here are some starter guides which are all helpful:
If you’re at all interested in search engine optimisation (and who isn’t), here is the best up-to-date guide you’re going to see all year – and it’s a free download. The Beginner’s Guide to SEO 2016 (A Complete Guide to getting started in SEO) has been produced by the Search Engine Journal website with contributions from a who’s-who of the world’s top SEO experts. At 249 pages (!) it’s not a coffee-break read, but search engine optimisation isn’t that simple.
To get hold of the guide, visit this page and sign up to get on the SEJ mailing list. They’ll then send you links to the guide (and other material) which is available free to their mailing list subscribers. There’s no charge for anything.
I’ve mentioned before how, rather than going on expensive training SEO courses, a self-motivated person might like to work through a really good “SEO basics” guide and then put the money saved towards some software tools and services which could really make a difference. But what sort of tools? Search Engine Journal comes to our aid with The Last SEO Tool on Earth, an article where it asked a couple of dozen experts: “If you were only allowed to have one SEO tool, what would you pick?”
Even if you don’t have money to spend, quite a few of them are free, and possibly surprising too. It’s worth a read.