Wondering why your site isn't ranking in Google despite all your efforts?
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I’ll be sharing with you the 7 most common reasons why your site is hardly ranking (and what you can do to fix it).
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Your Website Is Not Indexed in Google
- 2 2. Your Target Keywords Are Too Competitive
- 3 3. Your Website Is New
- 4 4. Your Content Is Simply Lacking In Quality
- 5 5. Your Website Doesn't Have Enough High-Quality Backlinks
- 6 6. Your Website is Not Well Optimized for SEO
- 7 7. Your Website Doesn't Have A Good User Experience
- 8 Conclusion
1. Your Website Is Not Indexed in Google
This should be pretty obvious, right? If your website is not indexed, there’s no way it’ll appear in Google’s search results.
There are 3 main reasons why this might happen:
Reason #1 You de-indexed your website by mistake - I know it sounds silly, but this actually happened to me a few times before. So, check your Reading settings to make sure you’re not accidentally blocking search engines from indexing your website.
Yoast SEO has the ability to put a “no-index” tag on your articles, too. Make sure it’s set to “index”
Reason #2. Google hasn’t crawled into your website yet - This is pretty common with new sites, particularly those with no consistent publishing schedule. It really takes time for the Google bots to come to your site and index your articles, so there’s nothing to worry about.
If you want, you can actually make the process faster by submitting your sitemap via Google Webmaster Tools or by sharing your articles across different social media networks.
Reason #3. You accidentally built your site on a penalized or de-indexed expired domain - If you are thinking of using an expired domain to start a new website, then make sure you study its history carefully before buying. This is to make sure it wasn’t penalized or de-indexed before.
2. Your Target Keywords Are Too Competitive
This is pretty common among beginners who always want to target keywords with the most amount of search volume possible.
While there’s nothing wrong with targeting competitive keywords, it’d be better if you pick the right battle and select keywords that you can feasibly rank for with your current domain authority and available resources (money / time / skill set).
For example, if you’re just starting out with almost no money or experience, then it’d be crazy to aim for the most competitive keywords.
Instead, try to start small and pick easier keywords to go after first. After this, you can slowly expand and target more competitive keywords as your website grows.
Looking for a good keyword research tool? Try KWFinder
KWFinder is our favorite keyword research tool because it provides you with all the data you need to pick low competition keywords in a fast and easy to use user interface.
3. Your Website Is New
If your website is only a few weeks old and you haven’t created much content or done any link building, then I forbid you to ask why your website isn’t ranking yet.
Because it simply CAN’T.
Let me tell you this once again:
In order for your website to rank high in the search results, you only need 2 things:
- High-quality content
- Powerful backlinks
That’s the “secret” formula.
Also, there seems to be a waiting period where fresh websites are held in lower results. But don’t worry - this is just the time it takes Google to finish monitoring websites to make sure they’re legit.
People call this the Google Sandbox.
Generally, it could last anywhere between 3 to 6 months. But, based on my experience, it really varies from niche to niche. More competitive niches tend to have a longer wait period.
For example, I recently started a new site 3 weeks ago in a much less crowded niche. It’s currently ranking on page 2 and 3 for most of the targeted keywords despite the very little content and zero backlinks it has.
4. Your Content Is Simply Lacking In Quality
Most people mistake “long content” with “high-quality content”.
Although it’s true that longer content usually performs better, a 2000-word piece full of filler words won’t help you much when it comes to ranking high in the search results.
So, what should you do?
Look at the top 3 competitors in the search results for your target keywords. After studying your competitors, try to be better or at least match their content quality in terms of length, depth and on-page optimization.
The number of backlinks you have is still the most important ranking factor.
So, before complaining about your site not ranking anywhere, honestly ask yourself if you have put enough effort in building a strong backlink profile for your site.
Also, you need to remember that not all backlinks are created equal.
What you should focus on is how you can start acquiring legitimate editorial backlinks from relevant authoritative websites in your industry.
These are several methods that can help you do this effectively. Some of my favorites include:
- Blog Commenting
- Top Experts
- Guest Posting
- Epic Content
6. Your Website is Not Well Optimized for SEO
On-page optimization is a big topic and it can get a bit complicated, particularly if you dig deep into all its technical aspects.
Fortunately, our friend at Supremacy SEO has simplified the process with his 80/20 Guide to On-page SEO.
Just to recap, here’s what you should focus on:
- Create a logical website silo structure (Learn more)
- Make your site load as fast as possible.
- Install Yoast SEO plugin to optimize your title tags and descriptions.
- Publish unique and engaging content with rich media embedded.
- Follow an on-page SEO checklist to optimize every article.
Before you go and stuff your content with every keyword available, keep in mind that over-optimizing your site isn’t a good thing. In fact, it can potentially harm your ranking. So, follow the guidance above carefully and try not to make your on-site practice look unnatural.
7. Your Website Doesn't Have A Good User Experience
Usability and user experience are very important, as Google’s ultimate goal is to give its users the best possible results.
You can track user experience and usability by measuring key SEO metrics like time on site, bounce rate, and return rate.
If these numbers are low, that means you really need to work hard on improving your site.
I recently experienced this firsthand when I tested a very aggressive popup strategy on one of my websites.
In the graphic below, you can see that my traffic immediately dropped after the aggressive popups went live. The traffic went right back up after I removed the popups.
Here’s another example from our friend Luqman, where he was able to increase his ranking by improving time on site:
These are the top 7 reasons why your website is not ranking high in the search results.
I know it can be quite discouraging to see this, but, by using the few simple solutions we covered in this article, you would be able to turn it around.
What’s your best tip to get higher ranking in the SERPs?