"I typed my name in and I'm nowhere on Google?"
Usually, a day or two after I begin marketing a new website, I get this question in an email or phone call. Even though on the proposal I sent out to the client and on the contract I have the client sign it clearly states that it takes 3-8 months to get listed and ranked in Google's engine. But, the questions still come. So, to answer this question, here's a quick little summary of how Google lists sites.
1) Contrary to what some people will tell you, it is not necessary to submit your website to Google, or any of the large search engines like Yahoo, MSN, AOL, etc. The reason is that these search engines find websites mainly by following links on other websites. So, if you launch a new website, the very first thing your SEO firm (or you) should do is to write an article or press release and submit that article or press release to a website that is already being crawled by Google. That usually means a website that is already on Google's index. Of course, in your article or press release you want to add a link TO your website!
2) Google literally looks at over 200 different factors when they crawl your website. They look at everything from the age of the domain name, to the manner in which the website was created, to the words on the website pages, to the links to and from the website pages and oh so much more!! The score that your website page gets at the end of that crawl determines where the website will be for a particular set of keywords. In other words, if your trying to market your website page for the phrase "small business loans" but because of the content, the structure, the links on the website page, Google determines that the page is about "small business financing". So, when a search is made for "small business loans" the website may come up as #35, but when a search is made for "small business financing" the website may come up as #3.
3) Basically, Google performs 3 functions that work to determine the ranking of your website page...
a) Crawling - when the Google robot finds your website page it "crawls" it. Basically, it scans the page for words, coding, etc.
b) Indexing - once the pages are crawled, the next step is that they get put into the index. Into the list, if you will. But this doesn't mean it'll be found on page one, two or three or maybe even page 100. It just means the website page is now part of massive list of pages.
c) Ranking - when Google reviews your website pages and puts your website through the over 200 rules it applies, it then ranks your website page by page. Not every page of your website will get into the first page of search results in Google, at least not right away.
4) Google receives over 5 million new websites every single day. There are literally billions of web pages on Google's index and web pages are continuously scanned and crawled. That is, if they are being changed. If you create a website page and then don't make any changes to it, after a few months, the ranking of that website page will decrease. Why? Because Google has determined that it's an inactive page. So, when your SEO firm tells you that you need to add new information to your website pages, listen to them!
5) Obviously, all this takes a little bit of time. Mostly because one of the 200 factors that Google looks at are incoming links. It takes time to get other websites to link TO your website (and to use anchor text linking as well!). So, don't despair. It truly is worth it! The average ROI is usually over 200% but you just have to give it time to work!