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Inside Google Sitemaps: Improving your site's indexing and ranking

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Improving your site's indexing and ranking

You've submitted a Sitemap for your site. As we explain in our docs, a Sitemap can help us learn more quickly and comprehensively about the pages of your site than our other methods of crawling, but it doesn't guarantee indexing and has no impact on ranking.

What other things can you do to increase your site's indexing and ranking?

Make sure your site is full of unique, high-quality content.
Google's automated crawling, indexing, and ranking processes are focused on providing quality search results. Is your site a high-quality result for the queries you want to rank highly for? Look at your home page. Does it provide information or does it consist primarily of links? If it is mostly links, where do those links go? Do they lead visitors to good information on your site or simply to more links? Look at your site as a searcher would. If you did a search, would you be happy with your site as a result?

Does your site follow the webmaster guidelines?
Take a close look at your site and our webmaster guidelines. Remember that your site should be meant for visitors, not search engines. It's a good idea to read these guidelines and evaluate your site to make sure it meets them. If it doesn't, your site probably won't be indexed, even if you submit a Sitemap. Here are a few things to check.

Does your site use hidden text?
Hidden text is generally not visible to visitors and is meant to give web-crawling robots, such as Googlebot, different content. For instance, a site might add text in a very small font that is the same color as the page's background. Webmasters sometimes do this because they want to provide more information to the web-crawling robots, and this hidden text is often a list of keywords that the webmaster would like the site to be ranked highly for. Don't use hidden text on your site. Since Google's automated processes are focused in giving searchers high quality results, our guidelines are clear that sites should show Googlebot the same thing they show visitors so our processes can accurately evaluate them.

Does your site use keyword stuffing?
Webmasters sometimes use keyword stuffing much the same way as hidden text. They want to give Googlebot a list of terms that they want their site to rank highly for. But Google's automated processes analyze the contents of a site based on what visitors see, not on a laundry list of keywords. If you want your site to rank highly for particular keywords, make sure your site includes unique, high-quality content related to those keywords.

Does your site buy links from other sites or participate in link exchange programs that don't add value for visitors?
You want other sites to link to you. So, guidelines about links may seem confusing. You want genuine links: another site owner thinks your content is useful and relevant and links to your site. You don't want links that are intended only for Googlebot. For instance, you don't want to pay for a program that spams your link all over the Internet. You don't want to participate in link schemes that require you to link to a bunch of sites you know nothing about in exchange for links on those sites. Do you have hidden links on your site? These are links that visitors can't see and are almost always intended only for search engine web-crawling robots. Think about links in terms of visitors: are the links meant to help them find more good content or are they only meant to attract Googlebot?

Do you use search engine optimization?
If you use a search engine optimization company (SEO), you should also read through our SEO information to make sure that you aren't using one who is unfairly trying to manipulate search engine results.

If your site isn't indexed at all (you can check this by using the site: operator or by logging into your Sitemaps account, accessing the Index stats tab and then clicking the site: link) and you violate these guidelines, you can request reinclusion once you modify your site.

If your site isn't in the index, but doesn't violate these guidelines, there is no need to request reinclusion. Focus on ensuring that your site provides unique, high-quality content for users and submit a Sitemap. Creating a content-rich site is the best way to ensure your site is a high-quality result for search queries you care about and will cause others to link to you naturally.

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