Google Sites is one of the lesser-known (and neglected) website builders out there, however, it is a popular web 2.0 platform among marketers and bloggers.
While it’s true that it doesn’t have a lot of features and functionality, it’s still an effective way of managing a website. Plus, it’s free.
And most importantly, you can rank Google sites in search engines if you do SEO right, which in turn will bring in organic traffic and sales.
In this 100% actionable guide 🔥, I’ll walk you step by step through how to SEO Google sites that will make your site rank higher.
Here are 12 steps to Google sites SEO for better rankings and conversions.
1 Publish The Site To The Internet
Once you are done with the designing phase, the first thing you should do SEO-wise is to publish your site to the internet so that it can be accessed by other people and Google crawlers.
You can do this by clicking on the “Share with others” icon which is on the top toolbar, and changing the ‘Published Site” setting from Restricted to Public.
If you don’t set up public permissions your Google Site will not be indexed on search engines and no one would be able to see the content even if they use the direct site link.
2 Optimize Page Title
The Page Title is the top-ranking factor of your website and optimizing this should be your next step.
Titles tell the visitors and the crawlers what the page is about. So make sure it accurately describes what the page is about and it has your keyword in it, but don’t use it more than once.
Here are some of the things you shouldn’t do when creating titles:
- Don’t stuff keywords in the title.
- Don’t make it unnecessarily long, 58 – 60 characters is the optimal title length. Otherwise, you risk it not showing up on the SERP fully.
- Don’t use the same title on every page, and don’t use something very similar either.
On google sites, the page title is the big heading that appears on the top of the page. Try to put the keyword at the beginning as well.
3 Use Keyword As The Page URL
The page URL is equally important and is a major ranking factor. I recommend using just your main keyword as the page URL. And it’s user-friendly and helps them understand the hierarchy of your website.
For example, this page is targeting – Google sites SEO, so the URL is google-sites-SEO, and we don’t use the “Ultimate…..” parts of the title.
Additionally, having clear and relevant URLs makes it more likely that other webmasters will want to link to you. Long, weird URLs that don’t make sense won’t get linked to 9/10 times.
Google Sites will automatically generate URLs based on the title but you can change it by clicking the drop-down on the “Publish” button and clicking “Publish settings”.
⚠️ Important Note: If the page is already ranking, changing URLs will make the page lose ALL its rankings. So don’t mess with URLs if it’s ranking.
4 Optimize Subheadings
Now that the most important parts are taken care of, let’s move on to the next factors.
Subheadings help to organize content and increase keyword relevancy. They help crawlers understand the structure and outline of a page.
Subheadings are great places to put secondary keywords!
In Google Sites, you have the options to create H1s (Title), H2s (Heading), and H3s (Subheading).
Use only H2s and H3s as subheadings in Google Sites and make sure they are in a logical order like you shouldn’t use a H3 without a H2.
5 Optimizing The Content
Using keywords and secondary keywords inside content helps search engines understand what the page is about along with the context and relevance of the page.
Simply put, you need to use your keywords in the content, otherwise, the chances of ranking are pretty slim.
📢 Quick Note:
A few years back you’d have to gather a list of keyword variations, secondary keywords, or LSI keywords to use in the content.
But now with the rise of technology and AI, there are a ton of page optimization tools that will show you all the semantically relevant words and phrases the competitors on page #1 have and which of these you should use, and the number of times they should be used.
Some of my favorite optimization tools are Surfer SEO (Paid) and MarketMuse (Freemium). Please use one of these when writing content for your Google Site pages.
⚡ Check also: How To Use Keyword Surfer
6 Image SEO
Images should also be optimized and is a good place to use keywords. Plus, images can rank in Google Images search too!
You can optimize the file name and alt text of images in Google sites.
You should edit file names before you upload them. Use the main keyword on one image and secondary keywords on the other images. Make sure you are using “-” instead of spaces or underscores when naming.
After you add an image to the page you can add alt text by clicking the 3 dots that appear above and clicking “add alt text”. Use your keywords in the alt text but try to mix them with something that describes the image accurately.
7 Write Supporting Content
Supporting content or informational content along with proper internal linking (will talk about next) can do wonders. Plus, they will rank and bring in traffic (bottom of the funnel visitors)
These pages should be in your niche and relevant to your services or products. For example, if you run a Pressure washing business, these supporting pages could be on topics like
- Reasons to hire a professional pressure washing company
- Best time to pressure wash your house
- Why pressure wash your house
You can educate the readers through these and some visitors will even convert to sales.
8 Internal Linking
I can’t stress enough the importance of internal linking. Internal linking helps people and crawlers get to the important pages of your site (commercial / service pages) and gives Google an idea of the site structure.
Plus, internal links help pass “link juice” (power from backlinks) through the links and can be used strategically to power up important pages. We call this building link silos.
Try to plan your supporting content around your niche and add internal links from them to your homepage and service pages.
In Google Sites, you can add internal links by selecting the text you want to link and clicking the link button from the toolbar.
⚠️ Important Note: Don’t overuse the main keyword of the page to link to it. Use variations and secondary keywords too, otherwise, the keyword might get over-optimized and you’ll start to lose rankings.
9 Site Structure And Navigation
Site structure and navigation help crawlers understand the organization and hierarchy of the content on a website. A well-structured Google Site makes crawling and indexing super easy for search engines.
You can edit the navigation and structure from the “Pages” tab on Google sites. You can add new pages, subpages, and menu items.
You can even change the anchor text of the menu items by clicking on the 3 dots on the left of the page and clicking “Properties”.
Try to use your target keyword for the particular page on these menu items.
10 Build Links
Links (aka backlinks) are basically like a “vote of confidence” for your website. When other websites link to your site, it tells Google and other search engines that your content is valuable and relevant.
And the more of these “votes” you have, the higher your website will rank in search results. Backlinks are THE TOP ranking factor of Google.
Another technique to help your Google site get some backlinks is to create a Google entity stack which is a collection of Google properties linking to your site. This passes some authority from Google’s high authority domains and helps rank your G-site.
Some of the most used Google properties for creating these stacks are Google docs, forms, drive and sheets.
If you are in a low competitive niche, this alone might do the trick and you wouldn’t need to build more links.
11 GMB, Social Presence And EEAT
If your site is representing a business, I highly recommend setting up a Google My Business Account.
It’ll help Google understand your site better, and GMBs can RANK and will bring in loads of quality traffic that will convert really well.
Plus, it contributes to EEAT which stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It is a SUPER important ranking factor and it’s what Google uses to evaluate the quality and credibility of the content.
Also, set up social accounts like Facebook, Twitter, etc.. and link them to your Google Site as they will contribute to EEAT as well and you will grow a following.
12 Use A Custom Domain
To be honest, Google site URLs are ugly, unprofessional, and long. And we all know search engines don’t like ranking long URLs.
However, some people still prefer the Google site URL because it comes with a little bit of Google’s domain authority which helps outrank smaller sites fast.
If you are building this as a churn-and-burn site, you wouldn’t want to use a custom domain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Unfortunately, Google Sites is not SEO friendly. It has limited features and functionality and there are only a few things that you can control and optimize. But you still have control over optimizing most of the top-ranking factors.
Yes, Google Sites can show up on Google and it can rank. But for that to happen, the site permissions need to be set to public. But it will still depend on the page content.