Have you been patiently waiting to see your search engine result listing appear for a keyword search? SEO and website design can be a time consuming task when you don’t know what to look for. Learn about some of the most common reasons your website doesn’t rank on Google to eliminate the problems you already or simply avoid them altogether.
You chose the wrong keywords
Not all keywords are what they seem. Just because your website sells hair curlers and women’s beauty products doesn’t mean those are the actual keywords you should target. When competitors like Walmart, Amazon and Aliexpress dominate those keywords you have to pursue more realistic search terms to get on the first page of Google.
Keyword research is required for an accurate picture of the competitive landscape and to identify what’s needed to get your website on the first page of search results.
Apart from identifying high volume, high converting search terms, keyword research means completing a thorough competitive analysis. This provides valuable insight into your website’s ranking ability and how it competes against the top 10 organic results.
Keyword research gives you an idea of how many backlinks your website would need to compete with the top websites. You reverse engineer how your competition has achieved a top ranking so that you’re able to match and beat the status quo.
With no research, you’re blindly competing for a term without knowing whether your efforts are moving you closer to the top of the first page. Your initial assessment of the keywords you target will layout the blueprint and establish a strategy that gets you to the first page of results.
Using the wrong anchor text backlinks
The text you use to link to your pages can have a very large impact on your search visibility. Search engines will consider the text of a link as a way of establishing contextual meaning to the page.
The correct use of exact match anchor text will enhance your optimization for a specific search term. For example, if you’ve published an article on link building, then linking to the page with the term link building will tell search engines “Hey, this page is on link building”
The problems that people encounter with exact match anchor text is that you can easily over-optimize depending on the situation. If your domain is linkbuilding.com and you write an article on link building published as linkbuilding.com/link-building/ then you’re already over-optimized.
Adding the exact match anchor text link building could send your site way back in the search results with each additional exact match link working against your efforts to rank the page.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, you may be under-optimized if you don’t use enough exact match anchor text. If your keyword is not in the URL, or title then you would opt to use exact match anchor text to influence a rank for the term.
You can use the exact match anchor text a few times before over-optimizing your link building strategy. The best practice is to vary your anchor text between, exact match, long tail, brand, naked URL and un-optimized anchor text.
Finding the right balance between the types of anchor text links you use is part of understanding the strength of your on-page optimization, what has been established in the SERP already and how your website ranking responds to the links you send it.
Content is too thin
There’s a lot of discussion about word count when it comes to a first-page ranking. What you’ll find in many articles is that the more words you have, the better your page ranks. The stat that floats around is that the average word count of a number one ranking page is 1890 words.
The argument is that Google ranks by keyword topic, so if your page can adequately satisfy the intent of the search it shouldn’t matter how many words you have. It happens all the time where pages outrank the competition with fewer words.
One practice that everyone can agree on is that a page should at the very minimum have over 200 words. How much context could you possibly provide in less than that? Even if it is a service page or something similar, publish over 200 words to provide accurate context.
Stay away from achieving the bare minimum. The movement that we’ve seen on the internet as a whole is that the more useful content you can provide, the more traffic you drive because more search terms are ranking.
Websites that have a library of resources published will always drive more traffic than those without.
If you don’t have too many pages on your site, search engines may view your site as having thin content, allowing others to outrank you.
You copied content without canonical tags
You can copy or republish content on your website, but only if you add the canonical tag to your page. This tells search engines that your page is not the original version and gives search engines the URL of where the content was first published.
News sites do this all the time without penalty.
However, if you copy content that has already been published without canonical tags your site will receive an algorithmic penalty. These setbacks in search visibility are essentially filters in the search algorithm designed to keep people honest and protect original content.
You can’t rank on Google by publishing duplicate content.
The more duplicate content found on your website, the more severe the algorithmic penalty. If you actively re-publish other website’s content, be sure to add the “rel=canonical” tag to your page.
Your pages aren’t indexed
Are you looking for your pages to rank on Google for a keyword when they’re not even on Google’s index?! You can check to see whether your pages are appearing on Google by using the site: search command.
Enter site:yourdomiain.com + [your page title] to see if your page is on Google’s index. If you don’t see the page that you’ve published in the search results it isn’t indexed on Google.
Check the search console to see whether you’ve been issued a manual penalty. If not, go to the page itself and see whether you’ve accidentally marked it noindex. If so, uncheck the option.
You should probably check your robots.txt file as well to see if there’s a command that excludes your page from being crawled by search engines.
If you have no internal links pointing to your page, link to it from other related content on your website. Submit a new sitemap and you should be good to go.
Check back in a few days using the site:search function to give Google some time to index your page(s).
Too many broken links
A well-optimized page is one that provides an enjoyable user experience. Anything that undermines that experience is said to also negatively affect your overall website performance.
When users click on broken links, it’s considered to be a negative experience. They are forced to back up and reconsider where it is they would like to go next.
This experience may cause feelings of disappointment, discouragement and demonstrate a lack of professionalism on behalf of your company. It’s fair to say that there’s nothing good about broken links on your website.
If you have too many broken links, it’s harder to rank on Google in the top positions. Make sure the links that break on your site are fixed promptly to avoid providing a poor user experience for users.
Not enough quality backlinks
It is next to impossible to rank on Google for the number one position without acquiring quality backlinks. To clarify, if your website is an established authority website, your page may have enough authority from the links you’ve acquired on your domain as a whole.
If you’re not ranking on the first page, there’s a good chance you don’t have enough quality backlinks. High-quality links are those that come from credible websites, related content and improve the user experience when going from one page to the other.
Treat your backlinks as votes of credibility. Gain as many votes of confidence in your content from websites that have a good standing. Quality backlinks will fuel your ranking ability in every situation.
When search engines assess, categorize and rank web pages, the metadata you provide them with plays a big role in what keywords they consider your content to be relevant for in a search. If you want to rank for a half-decent keyword, your page needs to be optimized to do so.
If you want to rank for snowboards, but your title and URL have snow skis instead, you’re never going to see your page rank for that keyword.
Make sure your page is optimized for search engines and users by placing your keyword in the title, URL, image alt tags and few times within the body of content.
Getting your basic on-page optimization correct will communicate the keyword that best describes your page.
Haven’t satisfied search intent
The ability to provide a user with exactly what they’re looking for when searching a keyword is considered the ability to satisfy search (or user) intent. Even if you’re able to get the best links and have volumes of content published your page may not rank on Google if it misses the mark on the true intent of a keyword search.
For example, if you type the word running shoes into a search, the results will show it is a keyword that implies transactional intent. Users who type this keyword are most interested in buying running shoes.
Even if you write a 5000-word article on running shoes and get the best links for your content, the page will never rank for this term. Search engines know that people don’t want to read about running shoes, they want to buy them.
There are instances where you might even get your page to rank on Google within the top 10, but your ranking will eventually drop when people aren’t spending any time on your page. Rankbrain is programmed to identify when users aren’t engaging with content. It’s part of how Google can produce accurate and relevant results.
Make sure that your content matches the same intent as what’s being shown on the first page of results. If you’ve missed the mark on intent, you won’t ever rank for your keyword.
Rank on the first page Google consistently
It’s easy to get your pages to move up in rank when you understand what tactics will move the needle. Most efforts to enhance search engine optimization are logical efforts that help users and create better quality results.
Put users at the top of your priority list as a start, and make the improvements to your page that will benefit them the most. Creating content that is at the same level or better than what’s on the first page is your first area of attack.
A strong analysis of what’s working to rank a page for a keyword is one of the most powerful assets you can have when it comes to getting your content out in front of your competition.
Satisfy search intent and get a bunch of credible websites to vouch for your content and you’ll see the results of your efforts, all technical aspects aside. Keep in mind, SEO requires you to play the long game, so be patient, analytical and proactive to see an increase in your website traffic, leads and new clients when you site ranks on Google.