Having your website at the top of the search results for prominent keywords is guaranteed to increase the amount of traffic your site receives, get the company name out there as an authority in your sector, and improve your bottom line, which at the end of the day is what we all want.
Needless to say, not all websites can rank at the top, and if yours is nowhere to be found, it is very frustrating. Here we will look at some of the reasons why your website might not be ranking well. There will never be one single factor that is causing your site not to rank - it will always be a combination of at least few elements. So we teamed up with our friends from NYC - Youth Noise New York to put together this list of possible reasons as to why your website may not be ranking.
When it comes to SEO and getting your site high in the results, you have to be patient. You cannot expect to put a website up and have it ranking within a few days or even weeks. A process can take months. There is no way you can fix this quickly, as good SEO has to be done in a specific order.
Firstly, you do not want to go building a load of backlinks to a website when it does not even receive traffic. You need to implement a good strategy that will not set any red flags off with the Google algorithm. If you're not sure, do a quick website audit to make sure it's properly optimised. Also, remember even when you make positive changes it will take a time for Google to pick them up. If you have an old site and you recently made significant improvements, expect it to take at least four months before you see results from your hard work.
When choosing your keywords, you have to think about the intention behind the keyword. For example, if somebody types "SEO" into Google, You might think they are looking for SEO services. However Google does not have the same opinion, and if somebody enters "SEO", Google assumes that they are looking for information about SEO, perhaps a guide to what is it is, or someone trying to find out if their business site needs SEO.
Therefore when choosing your keywords, it is essential first to see the keyword environment. What exactly does Google think that people typing in the search term are looking for?
For example, if you are a personal trainer, you've built your own fitness-themed website and you're trying to rank for the keyword "fitness". You are likely to be very disappointed because Google will not rank a fitness trainer services website high for this term.
You should be looking to rank for the terms "fitness trainer", "personal trainer", "fitness trainer in London" etc.
You also need to be careful about split keyword focus. This is when several pages could all rank for the same term.
Even if your website looks fabulous, this alone will not get you ranking. It is disappointing to discover this once you've paid a lot to have a modern well design site, but Google does not appreciate the way your site looks like you do.
You have to look at what is actually on the site in depth. There are ample things it could be stopping you from ranking high such as:
- Duplicate content, as in the same paragraph repeated on several pages of your site
- Dupe content, as in your site has the same copy as other websites on the net
- Insufficient material, or what is commonly known as "thin content" that does not provide any real value to the reader
- Old untouched stale content
The navigation on your site is another critical factor, so make sure your site is easy to navigate, with the most relevant pages linked to from the homepage.
Links pointing to a site is still a big thing in Google's eyes, and probably will be for their at least near future. There are numerous ways to acquire backlinks, but some are not worth having, and others could damage your site, so you need to be careful.
Building a decent portfolio of links from varied sources is important. To appear natural, they should not all be do follow, so make sure you have no follow links in your profile.
While it is great to get excellent authority links, it is also important that you balance this out with links on regular sites and blogs. Buying links these days is tricky, and link schemes are likely to be detrimental, so research natural ways to get decent links that do not raise red flags.
In business, there are always people that are looking to harm their competitors and this includes using unethical tactics to bring down other's websites. It may not even be a competitor that is damaging your site; some strange individuals do this type of thing for fun. Ways to harm a site include inserting malicious code or scraping content and re-publishing it elsewhere.
A standard way a competitor can try to bring you down is to build spammy links from thousands of questionable blogs to your website. While Google is proficient at spotting negative SEO attacks, you still need to watch out for this type of activity.
Another reason you may not be ranking is that Google has put you in the penalty box. If you have a manual action, your site will be completely removed from the search results.
If you were ranking high but then dropped suddenly, chances are you have some sort of penalty. Check your Google manual actions report to see if this is the case, then start correcting the issue.
The reasons for manual actions include much of what we have mentioned such as:
- Malicious content that somebody has uploaded to your site
- Spam comments on forums and blogs
- Spamming mark up such as making some content invisible to the human eye
- Unnatural artificial links this includes buying links or taking part in links schemes
- Content with little value - make sure your pages of the real value to the reader s
- Sneaky redirects - this is when you show different pages to google and the user
- Pure spam penalty - this is when you are guilty of several of the aforementioned actions.
Small changes can make a difference when trying to improve your rankings and are sometimes more effective than a complete overhaul, so begin by making simple changes such as making sure your metas are correct and your content is as compelling as it can be.
As a busy business owner, often hiring a professional web company is the only way forward. We recommend ourselves of course, or www.bestfreelanceseo.co.uk if you need a freelancer to complete a small SEO tasks for you or alternatively digitalgreentea our partners from across the pond.