1. Getting Included in the Indexes of Search Engines

Once you have the key aspects of getting your site content together and published, the next step is to get search engines to index your site. There are two approaches to this, the first is to submit your website to search engines in order to have them create an index of the content available to them. The second can take a bit longer but receives more natural indexing that can better impact ranking in the long term.

Option 1 - Submitting Your Website to Search Engines

Google provides wonderful tools for analyzing and improving your visible online presence. Through Google's free Webmaster Tools you can submit your URL to be crawled in order to be included in their search index. 

It usually takes several days for Google to crawl a submitted site and to include it in the search result index. **This does not guarantee ranking but rather allows your site to be included in search results. Ranking is determined by many factors (some examples here) and not only a few specific settings

To Submit your website to Google:

  1. Perform a fetch (or fetch and render) request for a URL using Fetch as Google, or choose a recent fetch on the table that satisfies the requirements above. Make sure that the page appears in the fetch as you think it should; if the page cannot be reached by the fetch tool or doesn't display fully to the fetch tool, it might be misclassified or not crawlable by Google.                                                        
  2. Click Request indexing next to the fetch in the fetch history table. If the request feature does not appear next to a fetch, the fetch didn't fulfill the requirements listed above.   
  3. Select whether to crawl only that single URL, or that URL plus its direct links:                                                                                                                                             Crawl only this URL submits only the selected URL to the Google for re-crawling. You can submit up to 500 individual URLs in this way within a 30 day period.                                                                                                                                          Crawl this URL and its direct links to submit the URL as well as all the other pages that URL links to directly for re-crawling. You can submit up to 10 requests of this kind within a 30 day period.                                                                                 
  4. Click Submit to queue your request.         
  5. Recrawling is not immediate or guaranteed. It typically takes several days for a successful request to be granted. Also, understand that Google can't guarantee that they will index all your changes, as Google relies on a complex algorithm to update indexed materials.

Option 2 - Natural Growth

Natural Growth can have a more impactful and lasting ranking improvement and involves piggy-backing on the rankings of established and authoritative websites. When other websites or directories include links to pages on your site, Google is more impacted with bumping ranking when is sees your site coming from valid sources rather than with submitting your site only through Option 1. It helps determine your site's relevant indexing parameters based on the context you may be piggy-backing on.

One example of this would be having you featured in a wedding photography article for a popular online resource. This example could be highlighting your most recent wedding photoshoot and would include a link to your site. When the Google web crawlers index the article on the already established site, they will locate your url and then start the process of crawling and indexing your site through more natural means.

This however is sometimes a slow and labor-intensive process as it requires expanding your reach with other parties. In most cases you usually won't see your site gain fast ranking boosts, but it does creates more heathy and impactful boosts.  This option will also continue to improve your rankings after you have already established your site or having submitting your website to Google using Option 1. 

To learn more about creating and building links to promote natural growth, check out this free resource offered by Moz: https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/growing-popularity-and-links

2. Boosting SEO with Content

Across the board, it is agreed that one of the biggest factors to improve your ranking is by creating more content. The content on your website is what is reviewed and ranked by Google to determine it's relevancy to search terms. The more relevant content you have the higher google will rank it with the relevant search terms. Additionally, the more content you have the more reach your site's index will have. If you create a web page that contains only one image that is named "Wedding", Google
will see the image but will most likely not include the page in a search result for a searched term "Wedding" due to the lack of additional content that can promote the page's validity. On the other hand, if you have a web page that has quite a few images that are indexed as wedding photography or related, and the page includes additional text references, Google will be more encouraged to display the results as the page's index in it's entirety helps give the validity to the search term for "Wedding". 

Blogs are some of the best options when it comes to creating content. Fresh content is a factor in providing relevant search results to users, so good blogging habits are encouraged. 

One thing to be cautious of when it comes to providing or creating content is the attempt in "cheating the system". This can include creating fake pages that are indexed by search engines but may not be visibly available to users, hiding text content or other elements that are trying to spoof the indexing of the visible content on a page, or adding unrelated keywords to try and increase the reach of any given content. Google works hard to only provide the most relevant results to a user and is very successful in tracking down these "Black Hat SEO" practices and will either significantly doc your ranking or even ban your website from their search index. The best thing to do is practice healthy SEO options that don't involve attempting to trick search engines. 

3. Tracking and Measuring SEO Success

After applying one or both options available to boost your ranking, it's recommended to track the success of your SEO practices. This will provide valuable insight in both the impact of the steps you have taken as well as insight in how to use the success for further marketing purposes. 

Google's Webmaster Tools or Analytics provide tracking tools for website and help show insight into your current marketing profile. 

4. Additional Resources

SEO can be a complicated and in-depth mountain to climb and is going to be specific to each and every business. Many people don't recommend using SEO services that boast "Improving your ranking overnight" or other bold claims. Most of these services use tools that are not approved by search engine guidelines to spoof immediate results and may cause your site to be banned. 

However, we recommend Turner Web Services as an additional resource to help build and grow your brand through healthy means. They work with many of our Showiteers and provide you with valuable insight and support in building your individual presence on the web. You can check out some of their resources and services here.

Additionally you can find Guides that will walk you through how to optimize your website using Keyword Researching, Competitor analysis, Implementation, and other tips in these free resources:

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