7 Reasons Why Your Website Is Not Ranking In The Search Results

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!

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:

  1. High-quality content
  2. Powerful backlinks

​That's it.

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.

5. Your Website Doesn't Have Enough High-Quality Backlinks

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
  • Guestographics

Not sure how to leverage these methods to meet your goals?

Then check out my flagship, AMZ Affiliate Bootcamp program where I reveal how these methods work using detailed step-by-step video lessons.

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?

Tung Tran

Tung Tran is the founder of CloudLiving.com.
  • Hi Tung,

    Thanks for a very timely post. My site is just 2 months old so I am not worried about it ranking just yet but your post gave me a lot of ideas of what I should be doing to get it to rank higher faster. I have posted up a lot of content but have yet to get the graphics and work on the links etc. I will bookmark your article so I can refer to it and make sure I am on the right path.

    Thanks again


  • I think Tung didn’t write this. I will prefer to see his direct articles. Case studies. Experiences.

    All the same, this is a sweet read. Beginners needs to learn.

    Tung, hope you’re doing fine? How’f your gf?

    • I wrote this myself. I never publish content from ghost writers under my name 🙂

      I’m just experiementing with this new type of posts which takes shorter time to write. Can’t always write 2000 3000 words post 😛

      And I did include some personal experience in the post as well.

      I’m doing great. My and my gf are in Bali now for a few weeks.

  • Hamza Butt says:

    Hi Tung, Thanks for the share.

    Just wanted to ask you, when are you able to tell that your site has come out of Sandbox. Do you think that a site on 2 and 3 page could be in Sandbox?

    2) I also wanted to ask you about the sholarship campaign you ran on Thankyourskin. Did it resulted in better rankings? And how much time did it take for the rankings to kick in?

    • 1) Yeah generally you would know when your ranking rises quickly and hitting page 2 3 for a lot of keywords. Also your organic traffic will increase as well

      2) Hard to say. But yes it did help for improving ranking.

  • These 7 Reasons also the key factor btw as a beginner i try to maintain it thanks a lot Tung Tran for your informative article .

  • Hi Tung,

    You’re correct about penalized and de-indexed expired domain. I made mistakes when building my site on penalized domain which made it impossible to be indexed.

    I just think it would be safe just to build site on a brand new domain name to avoid such issue in future. What do you think?

    • Yeah I’d recommend that. Also starting with a fresh domain would give you much more options for brandable names.

  • Hi Tung,

    I feel the niche site earning & update is the core where it all started & that’s what makes people eager to come & check the site again & again.. I feel for Seo tips & basic there are thousand of blog out there but you made a difference by sharing your learning & experience with us that too with site URL & earning, I feel whether there is something new or not you should share niche site update every month..
    but anyways you are doing a good job

    All the best 🙂

    • Don’t agree. I don’t like to make an update to just report on numbers. I only update when there’s actual good stuff + new things to share. If there’s not anything new with my strategy, then I don’t see the need to make an update.

  • Hi Tung,
    Thank you for this informative post. This actually happens with most of us. We spend lots of time and put various efforts to rank our website but sometimes doesn’t receive expected results. This post is just an eye opener!!

  • Hi Tungran! Have you heard of LSI Graph? you might want to check this keyword search tool! Anyway thanks for this post! Helps a lot

  • Can you please suggest some of the best tools to calculate the keyword competitiveness? Or some points to carry on while calculating it manually.

  • Nice post! I believe post engagement is the top ranking factor for google now adays as it seems longer articles tend to rank better. What do you think about adding videos to post to reduce bounce rate?

  • Hi there Tung,

    I really appreciate you taking your time to break all of this down. There is a lot that goes into the makings of a successful website but I am noticing that there are definitely some basics to master.

    Both of my sites are 2 months old and have been indexed but I am working on the rankings. Servers seem to matter a whole lot, I’m guessing because of the speed issue? That one seems to be tripping me up I think. What sized images do you recommend on the posts? Also, PNG or JPG? Speed tests seem to recommend optimizing photos. Would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks!

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