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Why Is My Website Not Ranking Well On Google? - 12 Possible Reasons Why Your Website Is Not Ranking Well On Google

Why Is My Website Not Ranking Well On Google?

Date First Published: 10th May 2023

Topic: Web Design & Development

Topic: Subtopic: SEO

Computer Questions & Answers

Difficulty: Medium

Difficulty Level: 4/10

Learn about why your website is not ranking well on Google is in this article.

Sometimes, it seems like you have put so much work into creating your content and optimising it for Google, but it just won't rank high enough for people to see and click on your result. This can be frustrating, especially if you took hours to create your content. Without your pages ranking high enough, you will have little to no organic traffic. Because most visitors come from search engines, without any organic traffic, you will have little website traffic and will have to rely on other sources to get website traffic, like social media and reaching out to other blogs. Below are 12 reasons why your website is not ranking well on Google. To work out the reason why, see if any of the reasons below may apply to your website.

1. Too Much Competition

Even after a page is successfully crawled and indexed by Google, and optimised, the most common reason why it does not rank well is that there is just too much competition. For example, if you optimise your pages for extremely competitive keywords, like 'insurance policies', 'fixed rate mortgages', 'credit cards', or 'life insurance', it is very unlikely that your website will rank for them, unless your website has the authority that those other ranking sites have. This is because you will be competing with very high-authority and well-established sites that have been around for decades and have gained thousands and thousands of backlinks, like Aviva and Wikipedia.

If the keywords you are targeting are too competitive, optimising your page will not help it rank higher. This is why you should research the keyword difficulty before targeting a keyword. An example of a free keyword difficulty calculator is the Ahrefs Keyword Difficulty Checker. All you have to do is enter the keyword, complete the CAPTCHA, and it will then return with a keyword difficulty score.

Optimising your website for long-tail keywords, which are less competitive, since there will definitely be fewer websites ranking for that long-tail keyword, will make it easier for your website to rank on the first page of Google. Long-tail keywords use highly specific phrases of 3 or more words. To help think of a long-tail keyword, consider what makes your content or products unique from other websites. Then, you could add that feature to the title and description of the page. Without using long-tail keywords, you will often find it very difficult to rank on the first page of Google due to the extremely high level of competition. However, do not use obscure keywords that very few people would choose and ensure that the keywords match the content or product to avoid misleading users.

2. Your Website Has Technical Issues

If your website is not ranking in Google at all, technical issues could be preventing your website from being crawled and indexed. You might be preventing Googlebot from accessing your website or have conflicting content. Examples of technical issues include:

  • Duplicate content - Sometimes, the same content may be accessible from more than one URL. These can confuse Google. Google will rarely show multiple versions of the same content and is forced to automatically choose which version is the best result, based on factors, such as HTTPS and page quality.
  • Downtime - If certain pages of your website are inaccessible, returning errors, or are down for an extended period of time, Google will deindex them. Google also cannot index pages that return errors, like 404 not found, 403 forbidden, or 503 service unavailable, so make sure that the pages you want to be indexed don't return errors.
  • Broken links - If links point to non-existent pages, pages that return timeout errors, or a URL using invalid characters, Google won't be able to index them. Renamed, mistyped, and deleted pages are a common cause of broken links.

3. You Have Received A Google Penalty

If you have done something that is against Google Webmaster Guidelines, like keyword stuffing or cloaking, a member of Google's team can apply a manual action to your site. The penalty consists of lowering the search rankings of or deindexing the page or website. The manual action can affect a single page, pages matching a pattern, or even the whole website.

Google's algorithms can sometimes detect spam and automatically remove it from their search results without a manual spam action. To find out whether you have received a Google penalty, log into Google Search Console and go to the 'manual action' tab. If you have signed up for Google Search Console, you will also get an email notification of a penalty.

4. The Title Of Your Pages Doesn't Match The Content

Another reason why your website is not ranking well on Google is that the title of your pages doesn't match the content. This means that it doesn't match the intent of people searching for the keyword. If the title doesn't match the content, it is unlikely that Google will show it in the search results as it won't be what people are looking for. To fix this issue, add a relevant title that matches the content of your pages. The meta title is the most important meta tag for SEO.

5. Your Website Is Too Slow

Page speed is confirmed to be a minor Google ranking factor. Although this won't have a great impact on your rankings, Google has been using page speed as a ranking factor since 2010. If Google saw a website and a competitor's website of the same relevance to a search query, the faster page of those two will rank higher. To help your page rank higher, consider reducing your page loading speed. An example of a free tool that you can use to check your page speed is PageSpeed Insights.

6. Your Website Is Not Mobile-Friendly

Like page speed, mobile-friendliness is a minor Google ranking factor. This is because Google doesn't want to send mobile users to websites that provide a poor browsing experience for them. Google often tests websites for mobile-friendliness and gives website owners email notifications if any webpages do not perform well on mobile devices (e.g. the webpages scrunch up or the text is too small on mobile devices.). It is possible to view the mobile-friendliness of your pages in Google Search Console.

Backlinks are a major Google ranking factor. The number of pages linking to a specific page is one of the main factors that Google uses when determining the order of the pages in the search results. This doesn't mean that your page won't rank on Google at all if it has no backlinks, but without many backlinks, you will have a hard time ranking high on Google, even if your content is high-quality. This will depend on how many backlinks the competing sites have.

Not many backlinks are a common reason why websites don't rank high on Google, particularly new websites. To get more backlinks to your site, you can reach out to other sites which provide similar content and be active on social media. You could ask them to mention your site or perform a link exchange with them (reciprocal link), meaning that you agree to link to them and they link to you.

8. Your Content Is Too Short

If your content is too short, you will have a hard time ranking on Google because there isn't enough text for Google to understand what your pages are about and rank them. Ideally, your content should be at least 250 words for it to rank well on Google, even though Google does not specify a minimum amount of words. For more information on how many words a blog post should have, see this article.

9. Your Website Is Too New

Recently launched websites start with no backlinks or authority. If your website is too new, Google may not have had time to crawl, index, and rank it. It can take several days or weeks for Google to discover new websites. Before assuming that your website has technical issues or that there are issues that are preventing Google from crawling and indexing your site, give Google some time and be patient.

10. Your Website Doesn't Have A Good Internal Linking Structure

Internal links are what Google relies on to discover other pages and find and crawl them. A good internal linking structure will ensure that Google can find and index all the important pages and will help Google understand the structure of your website. Without a good internal linking structure, Google will have difficulty finding and discovering the pages. Ensure that your website has no orphan pages, which are pages that have no hyperlinks pointing to them and can only be found by knowing and typing the URL, through an XML sitemap file, and if an external site links to the page.

11. You Are Blocking Google With "robots.txt"

You might have unintentionally instructed Google to keep out of certain pages of your site or even your whole site. The robots.txt file is a text file used by website owners to instruct search engine bots on which URLs, URL patterns, and directories they can index. If your pages are disallowed in robots.txt, they can still appear in the index if it is linked to by other websites, but the search result will not have a description and will not rank well. To fix this issue, confirm that the pages you want to be crawled and indexed are not disallowed by the robots.txt file.

12. You Are Blocking Google With The "noindex" Tag

The noindex tag is a meta tag used to instruct search engine bots not to index a specific page. They can still crawl it, but they can't add it to the index. To check if a page is noindexed, check the HTML source code and look for the tag below, which prevents it from being included in the search results:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex">

Fixing this issue is easy. All you have to do is remove this tag from the head section of the HTML tag. That might be the reason why your page is not being indexed by Google. You might have added it by mistake. Note that you can also find out if a page is indexable by Google Search Console and it will tell you if it is blocked by the noindex tag. If the page was noindexed, it will take Google some time to notice that the tag has gone and to crawl and index it.


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