Whether you’re just starting a website or are optimizing an existing one, consider whether it can be found on Google search.
A report from Shareaholic revealed that nearly 35 percent of all site visits in 2017 resulted from search. Driving more than 70 percent of web searches, Google remains to be the most popular search engine in the world, according to Net Marketshare. As such, appearing in Google’s search results can help you reach potential readers, fans, and customers.
If you have a WordPress.com website, many of the more complex aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) are already taken care of for you. For example, you’re automatically given an XML sitemap and a robots.txt file. However, there are a few additional steps you can take to ensure that your site is being found by search engines like Google.
All WordPress.com sites have an XML sitemap. This is a roadmap of your website that allows Google to find and index your pages.
News Sitemaps, which allow your posts to be published within the Google News section, are also automated WordPress.com features. You can locate these sitemaps by navigating to yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml and yourdomain.com/news-sitemap.xml, respectively.
On top of generating sitemaps, WordPress.com automatically notifies Google every time you create, update, or delete a page or post. It also creates a robots.txt file that allows your site to communicate with web crawlers.
In addition to building your website with WordPress.com, there are a few additional steps to take to ensure that your website can be found on Google.
1. Check your privacy settings
WordPress.com websites can be set to be Public, Hidden, or Private. Each option changes how search engines interact with your site. To ensure that you show up on Google, you’ll want to set your website to Public. You can change these settings by going to My Sites > Settings > General.
2. Submit your sitemap
If you want to expedite the site indexing process, you can take matters into your own hands and submit your sitemap directly to Google. To do this, you’ll need to create an account with Google Search Console.
Once you verify your site with Google Search Console, you can submit your sitemaps and individual URLs. This feature is extremely helpful if you’ve recently made changes to your website and want to ensure that Google has indexed the most up-to-date version.
3. Find out how Google indexed your site
There are several other benefits that come with Google Search Console. For one, Google will send you an alert if it finds any issues with your site. Once the issue is resolved, you can let Google know so it won’t affect your search rankings.
You’ll also receive access to the Google URL Inspection Tool, which lets you view detailed information about your website and pages in the same way that Google itself sees it.
4. Set up Google My Business
If you’re working on a website for a business with a physical location, set up a free Google My Business listing. This will allow people to view your location, contact information, photos, and reviews right from the front page of the search engine.
If you run an eCommerce website, you can also set up Google for Retail, which helps you showcase your inventory and reach local shoppers.
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