Knowledge isn’t power. The use of knowledge is power. And this piece of SEO know-how has definitely got some potential to it.
Every wondered what exactly Google’s search guidelines were? Wonder no more. A copy of the latest 125 page guidelines from May 2019 have been discovered on Google Docs.
While much of the information is already known and is part of solid SEO practice, there are many useful sections showing that Google is very wise to many black hat SEO techniques.
I’m not going to summarise the whole lot here, so here is the link: Google Search Guidleines.
The reason why we all do SEO is simple – we want to rank well enough in Google’s (and other search engines’) SERPs in order to get more traffic for our websites.
However, what should you do if your site doesn’t seem to even be appearing in Google’s results pages at all?
There are two primary reasons why this may be happening – your site isn’t in Google’s index or your site has violated Google’s spam guidelines and has been penalised for this. If your website is fairly new, then in all likelihood the reason why your site isn’t appearing in Google’s SERPs is the first one. To check if your site has already been indexed by Google, do a site search. To do a site search, all you need to is type “site: ” (i.e. site:example.com). When doing a site search, note that there shouldn’t be a space between site: and your URL. If your site comes up in Google search results, then you can rest knowing that your site is already indexed. However, that doesn’t mean that you will be ranking that well for your target keywords/search terms at once, especially if they are highly competitive terms. Still, at least you know that you’re on the right path with your SEO campaign.
If your site does not appear in Google’s SERPs when you do the site search, this obviously means that your site hasn’t been indexed yet. You can solve this problem easily by using the Webmaster Submit URL Tool so that Google can easily find your page during their next crawl. You don’t have to wait for months for this since crawls are done quite frequently. Note though that Google does not guarantee that all submit URLs will be crawled nor indexed. There’s nothing really to worry about though, because in reality most URLs submitted are actually crawled and indexed.
Even if you do submit your URL already, Google suggests that you also submit an XML sitemap to help them find the rest of the pages on your website. This will also help them not just indexed all your pages, but determine the relevance of each page’s content in relation to the rest of the site’s contents and keywords.
If your website has been around for some time now, and once appeared in Google’s SERPs but seem to have mysteriously disappeared from the index, then your site might have been manually removed from the index for violations. If you are also still indexed but your ranking has plunged suddenly, then you should also check whether you have violated Google’s guidelines or are suffering from a malware attack on your site that you are unaware of. Once you determine the cause of your problem, you can fix the issues then submit a request to Google for reconsideration. Note that reconsideration requests are evaluated manually and so take a lot longer (weeks) to process than simple URL submissions. Do not even attempt to submit your URL via the submit URL tool in hopes of a shortcut for getting re-indexed because your site is already blocked. You can also expect Google to contact you for evidence of good faith before they add back your site.