One of the questions I get asked frequently is – “Why is my site not ranking on Google.” This is a HUGE question and so many factors can play into this. So I am going to give you 15 reasons your site may not be ranking on Google in order of importance.
Google required everyone to switch from HTTP to HTTPS mid-2018. This is really a non-negotiable at this point. If your site is still HTTP, call your hosting provider to see what you need to do to make the switch. Most hosting providers are offering this upgrade for free now so there is no reason not to. How to tell if you are HTTPS? Go to a browser tab and put in your site. Look at the URL. You will either see HTTP or HTTPS before your domain name.
While Google will ultimately find and index your site, help it out by submitting a sitemap through Google Search Console.
You also need Google Search Console to monitor for errors and see what keyphrases are bringing traffic to your website.
You may think your site is mobile friendly – but does Google? Here’s their tool to test:
Results from my site:
If Google doesn’t see your site as mobile-friendly/responsive, I recommend talking to your developer or finding a developer who can work with your site. Google prioritizes mobile first, so if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, it won’t rank as well.
Google likes to see sites load in under 3 seconds. That’s not to say that sites over that won’t rank. Not at all. I’ve seen plenty of slow-loading sites do well. But do yourself a favor and get on top of site speed. Since Google controls the ranking algorithm, it makes sense to test your site speed using their free tool:
Here are the results from my site speed test today. Under Google’s old tool my site showed loading in 4 seconds and Google called that good.
Google just recently relaunched their tool and now my site shows slower. So clearly I have some work to do. If your site page speed is over 10 seconds, that needs to be your priority.
SEO is a long-term game. You can’t expect to post today and rank tomorrow – or even next week. Want to rank for a Christmas post? Probably should write it in September. Google needs time to find your content. Let me say that again. You cannot expect a post you just published to immediately rank.
Same for new sites/blogs. If you just launched your site, you truly cannot expect to immediately rank – but that doesn’t mean you should give up on optimization. The longer you wait to optimize, the longer it will take to rank.
If you want to know what topics to be writing about and optimizing each month for the best chance to rank when the topic is “hot,” make sure you are on my email list.
This is the big one. How much time and effort did you put into optimizing your post or page? Aren’t sure how? Download my SEO Checklist. There are things you should be doing before you even write the post and then again after you hit publish.
Note: If you are on WordPress, download the free version of Yoast.
Meta descriptions and title tags are extremely important and fall under the optimization of content. These aren’t just for blog posts though – but for any page on your website that you are trying to rank.
Internal and external links are also a ranking factor and fall under optimizing your content. Download my SEO Checklist and keep it handy every time you write a blog post or optimize an old post.
You may be in a crowded space trying to use popular keyphrases. How can you niche down? How can you make your keyphrase more specific for your audience? Or – how can you beat your competition? Did you do your competitive research with your keyword research?
A 500-word post will rarely outrank a 1000+ word post. A written post might not outrank a YouTube video. This is why keyword research is critical. Most people skip this step or do it last. I highly recommend doing your research BEFORE you start your post.
You can no longer expect 300-word posts to rank. There’s no set point for what a post needs to be – but think long-form content.
Gone are the days when you need to blog daily or in some cases even weekly. Work on quality posts that are well optimized even if that means creating fewer posts over the course of the year.
My organic traffic increased over 350% in a year when I wrote less than 6 blog posts.
Instead, I focused on writing quality posts, optimizing a few old ones, and promoting the posts I had.
My BIG pet peeve. Make your posts as easy to share as possible. Include social sharing buttons and make them highly visible not teeny tiny. Include a click to tweet – even if you don’t use Twitter. Have a pinnable image – even if you don’t use Pinterest. My favorite social sharing app is Social Warfare.
SEO doesn’t stop after you hit publish – you must share your content. Do you have my Blog Post Promotion Schedule?Why is my site not ranking on Google? 15 reasons your site may not be ranking on Google.Click To Tweet
Definitely not something you have a lot of control over, but other sites linking to yours is extremely helpful.
Are you on a podcast? Make sure they link back to your site? Guest post? Include some links to your site? Directories for the industry you are in? Sign up and link back to your website.
I’m just going to ahead and say that WordPress is the most friendly SEO platform around with Squarespace a distant second. If you are on Wix, Weebly, etc. – you are going to have a hard time ranking. Is it possible? Yes. Will you have to work for it? Definitely.
Open up Google Search Console and look under Security & Manual Actions / Manual Actions. You will see if there are any against your site here. If you see any, these should be your priority.
This could include tons of ads (which will also slow your site down), annoying popups (try exit intent instead or embed your sign up), etc. You want to increase pages per session and time on site. Give people a reason to stay. Link to other posts or freebies they may find relevant. Longer posts typically equals longer time on site.
Keyword Planner is an Adwords tools and it pretty much useless in my opinion. Do your keyword research on Google.com.
Something you don’t need to worry about? Domain Authority or DA. This is a metric invented by a third party and Google does not include it in its ranking algorithm. Stop focusing on it now and focus on your site and your content.
Don’t worry about the competition number, number of searches, etc. These are just numbers and are mostly flawed. People are looking for the product/service you sell or the information you are providing. Period. But you need to worry about what terms they are searching for.It's not about what you want to rank for, it's about ranking for what your ideal client is searching for.Click To Tweet
These 15 reasons your site may not be ranking on Google may or may not apply directly to your blog/website but are good general guidelines of where to start. The most important point is to not give up. Search engine optimization does take time – but can bring you valuable new readers and clients.
Questions? Leave a comment or send me an email!