Search engines exist to discover, understand and organise website content in order to offer the most relevant results to the questions searchers are asking. For your website content to show up in search results, it needs to be visible to search engines and this is arguably the most important piece of the SEO puzzle. Here’s how to improve your Google rankings in real estate.
How do search engines work?
Search engines work through three primary functions:
- Crawling – scouring the internet for content and looking at the code and content for each URL it finds
- Indexing – storing and organising the content found during the crawling process. Once indexed, the content is able to be displayed in search results.
- Ranking – offering pieces of content that best answer a searchers query and ranking that content from most relevant to least relevant
Can search engines find your pages?
If you already have a website, it’s a good idea to start by seeing how many of your web pages are already indexed. This will tell you if Google is finding the pages you want it to.
One way to check your indexed pages is to head to Google and type in “site:yourdomain.com.au” into the search bar. This will return results Google has in its index for your website.
If you’re not showing up anywhere in search results, there are a few possible reasons:
- Your site is new and hasn’t been crawled yet
- Your site isn’t linked to any external websites
- Your site’s navigation makes it hard for a robot to crawl it effectively
- Your site contains code that is blocking search engine crawlers
- Your site has been penalised by Google for spammy tactics
How can you ensure your web pages are indexed?
When a crawler lands on your website, it’s looking for links within your site so it can move from page to page. If it hits a dead end, it stops the indexing process.
Some sites make the critical mistake of structuring their navigation in ways that make it inaccessible to search engines, hindering their ability to get listed in search results.
If you have a web page that you want search engines to find, you must ensure it’s linked from other pages, otherwise, it’s as good as invisible.
What role do backlinks play in rankings?
When we talk about links, we could mean two things. Backlinks or inbound links are links from other websites that point to your website. Internal links are links on your website that point to other pages on your site.
Google treats backlinks as we’d view word of mouth referrals. They are seen as a way to determine trustworthiness or authority and play a key role in determining where you’ll appear in search results.
The more backlinks you have from other high-authority websites, the better your chances of ranking higher in search results.
What content do I need to rank well?
Content plays a crucial role in ranking well on Google. There would be no point returning your pages in search results if there was no content to offer up to the searcher.
Anytime someone performs a search, there are thousands of possible search results, so how does the search engine decide which content will be shown? One of the key determining factors is how well the content on your page matches the search intent and answers the question being asked.
There are no strict benchmarks on how long your content needs to be, how many times it contains a keyword or what you put into your header tags, but the focus of the content should always be on answering the questions of the users who will be reading it.
How often you post content can also impact how often your website is indexed. A regular blog posting rhythm is one strategy to ensure Google is indexing your pages more often and storing more potential search results for future users.
Search engines have one goal – to provide useful answers to a searcher’s questions in the most helpful formats. While the exact ins and outs of the Google algorithm continue to be a tightly held secret, having a baseline understanding of the how-to help search engines find and rank your content will help you increase your website traffic and boost your brand.