One SEO professional asked John Mueller during a hangout about a potential indexing issue with their site.
They have been doing SEO for approximately 14 years. However, their experience has been solely with enterprise-level sites and big name brands.
A friend of theirs started a new school locally, and they have no local experience. But he is wondering why a school is not showing up in Google.
They said “Well, you know, it’s probably a new website, etc. It takes time to build backlinks and authority.”
They were asking John: what would John Mueller do? What are the signals that Google looks for – such as for an upstart to come in and begin ranking for local search?
What should they be paying attention to?
They explained that they haven’t done a Google My Business account. And he assumes that’s number one, as the first step.
Their other question is: did my client shoot themselves in the foot by not getting a .edu address and by using .com?
Do they just need to build backlinks?
John answered that he would double-check exactly what the problem is: is it that they’re not indexed at all, or, if they are indexed, they’re just not ranking where they want to rank.
The SEO professional mentioned that they did do a site colon advanced search operator search for the site on Google as well.
John answered that yes, definitely set up the Google Business Profile, especially when it is a local business.
This makes it much easier for Google to understand the address – and this gives the site the opportunity to show up on the Google maps and combined search results.
The other aspect is the ranking side of things: this is the part that takes time.
Sometimes this is something that you can help out and make sure that you’re listed in the right local directories, with whatever is relevant for schools.
Regarding the domain name, .com vs. .edu, John explained that he would not worry about that.
This is not something where Google would say, “Oh, it says .edu, therefore it must rank for all school-related queries.”
Google will just see that as a different domain than .com.
This happens at approximately the 50:18 mark in the video.
John Mueller Hangout Transcript
John, thank you for taking the time and sharing your expertise with us. So I’ve been doing SEO for I don’t know, like 14 years. But my experience has been solely with enterprise-level websites, big name brands.
So a friend of mine started a new school locally, and I have no local experience. But he’s wondering why a school is not showing up in Google. So I said, Well, you know, it’s probably a new website, etc. It takes some time to build, you know, backlinks and authority.
What would you say is, are the signals that Google looks for like an upstart to come in and start ranking for, you know, local search? What things should we pay attention to, like I haven’t done a Google My Business account.
But I assume that that’s probably like step number one. Did they shoot themselves in the foot by not getting a .edu address? They used .com. I didn’t think so. So is it just they need to build backlinks? Like what are the things that you guys are looking for?
I think, first of all, I would double-check what the problem is, if they’re really not indexed at all, or if it’s something where their indexed, but they’re just not ranking where they would like to.
SEO Professional 8 51:43
Yeah they’re indexed because I did a site colon, or whatever.
Okay. The local business entry, or what, the Google Business Profiles, they call it now, I would definitely set that up, especially if it’s a local business, a local school. Because that makes it a lot easier for us to kind of understand the address, the location, where it makes sense to show that. It also gives it the opportunity to show in maps and kind of this kind of, I don’t know, combined search result thing.
So I would definitely set that up. The other aspect with regards to, I guess, the ranking side of things, that’s something that essentially just takes time. And sometimes that’s something where you can help out by making sure that you’re listed in the appropriate local directories, with whatever is relevant for schools, I don’t know.
The other aspect. Now, I think those are pretty much the main things there. And with regards to the domain name, the TLD, I wouldn’t worry about that. That’s not something where we would say, oh, it says edu, therefore, it must rank for all school related queries.
We essentially just see that as a different domain. And that’s fine.