Have you ever tried Googling your own blog?

Or any of the topics/recipes/yoga postures you posted about? Can you see your website come up in search results and is it ranking high up there? Do try if you haven’t, and don’t panic if googling “gluten-free pancakes” doesn’t come up with your original recipe at the very top!

Of course, we want first-time readers to stumble upon our blogs whilst randomly browsing on web, and naturally we wish to be a top hit for anything remotely health-related. But did you know that before you start trending on Google, you have to let Google (and other search engines) know you actually exist, and unless you do so you might not be showing in search results?

For me personally the fact that Google has to learn things, just like we humans do, came as a big surprise – I kind of assumed it knows it all automatically. Not so fast. Google has to come find your website, index it, and only then can you hope to compete with BBC Good Food gluten-free pancakes recipe. Hence it’s crucial that you let Google know about your existence right at the start of your journey so you don’t miss out on all these searches that will bring new readers to your website.

Let the Googlebot find you

So how is Google going to find your amazing blog amongst the endless ocean of other websites? Imagine a cute little Googlebot that travels around the virtual world adding all the new web pages he can possibly find on to Google index. How do you make sure that Googlebot doesn’t crawl past your amazing blog?

Well, first what is the Googlebot?

The Googlebot is simply the search software that Google sends out to collect information about all the web pages and documents to add to Google’s searchable index. The Googlebot crawls from website to website, finding new and updated information and reporting it back to Google.

Indexing is the processing of the information gathered by the Googlebot from its crawling activities. Once documents are processed, they are added to Google’s searchable index.

How do I attract Googlebot to index my website?

I am not sure your charms will be of help here, but here is one certain way to get onto Google index, and that is to create a sitemap which will help the little bot to navigate. Sitemap is an XML document that lists each page on your website. It tells search engines when new pages have been added and how often to check back for changes on specific pages. For example, you might want a search engine to come back and check your homepage daily for new yummy recipes or new yoga postures – I am sure your new little bot friend won’t be able to resist!

A bit of geeky stuff

If your website is built on WordPress (and if you’ve watched our members’ only lesson on WordPress for beginners, you know that’s what Fab highly recommends you do), you can simply install the Google XML Sitemaps plugin and have it automatically create and update your sitemap for you as well as submit it to search engines – easy like nana ice cream!

You can also submit your sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools.

If you don’t already have one, simply create a free Google Account, then sign up for Webmaster Tools. Add your new site to Webmaster Tools, then go to Optimization > Sitemaps and add the link to your website’s sitemap to Webmaster Tools to notify Google about it and the pages you have already published. For extra credit, create an account with Bing and submit your sitemap to them via their Webmaster Tools.

For extra-reassurance you can submit your website URL to Google manually: sign into your Google Account and go to the Submit URL option in Webmaster Tools. For yet better night’s sleep and extra credit, submit your site to Bing.

What’s next?

Once your website or blog is indexed, you should start seeing more traffic from Google search. Next step however is a much more complicated and time-consuming one, and that is working manually on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) of your blog. This is however a huge topic which we’ll surely cover in many more posts and courses to come.

But for now don’t forget to install Google Analytics so you can track the progress. For full tutorial on how to do this watch “Google Analytics for Bloggers” in our Course.