Why Your Website Isn’t Ranking Anywhere on Google

10 Reasons Along With Easy Tips And Tools That Can Create A Big Impact On SEO And Online Visibility

A hand pointing at Google Analytics on a computer screen.

I see you, Frustrated Business Owner. You’ve got a beautiful website just waiting for potential clients to flock to, and yet here you are Googling “why isn’t my website ranking anywhere.”

The struggle is real. As a business owner, you know how competitive Google is and just how valuable it is to your conversion rate show up towards the top. When you find yourself so many pages back that you’ve stopped looking, it can be difficult to know where to even begin.

These days, just about everyone with a website is at least vaguely familiar with the concept of search engine optimization, or SEO. Perhaps you have even done a bit of your own research and/or your web designer included some basic SEO in your package. 

The overwhelm that comes with figuring out why your website isn’t ranking, then attempting to head straight to the top overnight can make you want to give up. We know. You are absolutely not alone. We have talked to so many frustrated business owners who were right in your shoes. So in order to give a little nudge in the right direction, we created this post of 10 tips and tools that you can implement right now in order to create a real impact on your SEO score and online visibility. 

1) Your website is brand new

If you Google “How long does it take to rank on Google” you will find article after article saying basically the same thing: it depends. The average opinion seems to be that it takes between 3 months to 1 year of working on a solid SEO strategy before you can rank on Google. 

This deep dive that Ahrefs did a few years back concluded that only about 5% of sites will rank in the Top 10 within one year. Of those, it took an average of about 2-6 months to get there. 

So while this isn’t exactly a tip or tool, this point is too important not to mention. The reason why your website isn’t ranking may be as simple as this. Don’t expect to find yourself on page one immediately after launching because unfortunately it just doesn’t work that way. And if your website is brand new, congratulations! You have a chance to start fresh and put a solid SEO strategy into action that will help you rank in the near future.

2) You accidentally told Google not to index your pages

One of the very first things to check is to make sure that you didn’t accidentally tell Google not to index your pages. Whoops! If you did, you have zero chance of ranking or showing up in any organic search whatsoever.

The best way to ensure that this issue is caught as soon as possible is to make sure you have signed up for Google Search Console. It gives you updated information on Googlebot searches and findings, alerting you immediately when it comes across issues such as noindex pages.

As a major added bonus, Google Search Console also connects with Google Analytics giving you reports on performance, user experience, mobile usability, and more.

A room with a sign that says SEO Search Engine Optimization with a desk and computer.

3) You aren’t implementing basic SEO best practices

There are countless blogs, books, videos, and courses on the ever-changing subject of SEO best practices. But when we say basic SEO best practices, we mean basic. There are simple changes that you can implement on your website that will communicate to Google that you are a valuable resource on the internet, not just extra spam.

None of these basic best practices require loads of advanced SEO knowledge, but they do require you to audit your site and be consistent with your content in the future. The easiest way to begin is to use a plugin such as Yoast to help guide you through creating SEO-friendly content. Keep in mind that these tips are not nearly as effective on a one page website.

Once you’ve activated your plugin, check each page of your site for the following:

  • Are your title tags different for each page and no more than 60 characters? Do they contain appropriate keywords?
  • Do you have meta descriptions for each page that are no longer than 150 characters? Do they contain appropriate keywords?
  • Are your URLs descriptive without being too long? Does each URL contain a keyword?
  • Are your snippets cut off or can you read the entire thing?
  • Do pages internally link to each other, and do all of the links work?
  • Do all of your images have image alt text?
  • Are your images optimized for faster page loading?

4) Your website is not mobile-friendly

For a few years now, Google has taken a mobile-first approach to their indexing. But beginning in mid-2021, Google switched to all mobile-first indexing meaning Googlebots will crawl the mobile version of your website and use this for indexing and ranking.

So how do you know if your website is mobile-friendly? I would first recommend going and taking a look yourself.

  • Is any content hidden?
  • Is everything clear, easy to read, and simple to navigate?
  • Do you need to scroll for days just to get to the contact info at the bottom? 
  • Are pages taking forever to load?

Luckily, there’s also an easy way to check by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool. This tool will alert you to any major issues that users might face and give you tips on how to fix them.

5) Your website loads too slowly

According to Google’s research from just a few years ago, 53% of all mobile site visits are abandoned if the user has to wait more than 3 seconds for a page to load. Clearly, Google is not going to be inclined to rank pages that users are going to bounce from. 

How exactly do you check your page speed? If you guessed, “I’ll bet Google’s got a tool for that” you are correct! Head over to PageSpeed Insights, enter your URL, press analyze, and wait with bated breath for Google to give you your score. 

If you receive something less than stellar, you are certainly not alone. There are a lot of components that affect page speed including but definitely not limited to:

  • Your hosting provider
  • The layout of your website
  • Whether or not the code on your site is optimized
  • Whether or not your images are optimized
  • How many plugins you have installed

PageSpeed Insights will give you lots of tips on ways to increase your page speed and overall score, many of which can be solved with a cocktail of plugins (or by hiring a professional).

Once you have a score you can live with, you can pat yourself on the back (congrats!) and then immediately set calendar reminders to continually monitor your site speed. Unfortunately, this is yet another thing that requires regular maintenance.

6) Your website is difficult to navigate

Speaking of bounce rate, visitors may not be sticking around because they simply can’t find what they are looking for fast enough. As we mentioned above, it takes just a few seconds for a user to decide to look elsewhere and can be a real reason why your website isn’t ranking. 

The best way to map out your website’s ideal user experience is to be sure that you have dug down deep into the psyche of your target audience. Not in a creepy way, of course. But you want to have a solid grasp on who they are, why they are coming to your site, what they are looking for, and what you want them to find. 

If your website’s navigation doesn’t have this kind of in-depth thought behind it, consider spending some time reviewing and improving your web navigation strategy. 

7) Your content is too focused on making the “lights green”

When you are knee-deep into SEO research, on a sink-or-swim mission to optimize and rank your website, it can be easy to forget that you are writing for real people and not Googlebots. 

Google knows this. It’s not as easy to trick Google as it used to be. Gone are the days of being able to stuff keywords into hidden spots on your pages and claim the top spot. Search engines these days are most interested in pages that:

  1. Are relevant and informative
  2. Answer the questions that people are asking

Creating robust, relevant, and informative content is one of the best ways to give yourself a chance at ranking on Google. Far better than simply making all of the lights green. Take a look at your pages and posts and ask yourself the following:

  • Is my content fresh and current?
  • Have I focused on quality over quantity?
  • Have I been writing content that builds trust between my target audience and my company, or have I been keyword stuffing in an attempt to make the lights green?

Once you have audited your content, you can come up with a content strategy plan that starts by revising old content, keeping the above bullet points in mind. If you happen to be in a competitive industry, spend a little time trying to find angles that are currently relevant but not widely discussed. A great way to do this is to join industry Facebook groups and just listen to what people are most concerned about. 

Another thing that Google loves are concentrated bits and pieces of data that can be used to form rich snippets. You’ll often see this take the form of a carousel of recipes at the top of a Google search, for example, or answers to frequently asked questions. 

By using an SEO plugin like Yoast, you can easily create structured data blocks, such as FAQ or How-To sections. Consider adding these to old content, and making sure that each new post contains potential rich snippets in some capacity.

A tablet with Google and "analytics" typed into the search area.

8) You aren’t using the right keywords

One of the biggest mistakes people make with SEO is choosing keywords that are either too broad or too specific. If you go too broad, your chances of beating out massive companies is slim to none. If you go too specific, you risk ranking for searches that less than a handful of people may-or-may not perform.

How to Choose Better Keywords

So how do you find the best keywords for your business? This is a massive subject and there are loads of amazing keyword research tools. But if you are looking to do some basic keyword research using free resources, here are a few tips:

  • Make a huge list of words and phrases that are relevant to your business. These words and phrases are likely too broad as is.
  • Take your list of words and phrases and work on creating long-tail keywords. One way to do this is start typing them into Google and look at the suggested searches that begin to appear. Another free resource is Ahrefs’ Free Keyword Generator. There are loads of tips on the internet for ways to research keywords – the most important thing to do is spend time actually doing it!
  • Filter out the keyphrases that are either too competitive or have very little search volume. 
  • Once you have a list, take a look at the current top 10-ranking pages and see if they are competitors you feel like you could outrank. If not, try similar variations.

Save your list of keywords and come back to it frequently. Keyword research is an ongoing, always changing endeavor. 

9) You don’t have enough backlinks

Backlinks are links that another website makes to your website. The more backlinks that you have, the more likely you will be to rank because this shows Google that others value the content on your site.

However, just as with all aspects of SEO, Google has outsmarted those who simply collect as many backlinks as possible in order to rank. The quality of backlinks over quantity is what is most important. 

How to Get Quality Backlinks

The first step is creating content that people will want to link to. This could include blog posts, videos, free downloads, infographics, etc. 

One of the easiest ways to establish quality backlinks is by networking within your own industry:

  • Reach out and see if people would be interested in link swapping.
  • Research reputable blogs within your industry and find calls for roundup posts. 
  • Find similar content to yours and look at who is linking to it, then reach out.

You can also look more locally and try to build up backlinks with other local businesses and directories.

10) You aren’t using Google My Business

When you Google the name of a business, you expect them to show up at the very top. And as long as they have set up a Google Business Profile, they will. This profile includes the company name, contact information, logo, pictures, hours, address, and easy clickable links to call, find directions, or go to your website. It’s a free service that every business owner should take advantage of.

The other major bonus of setting up your Google Business Profile is that it helps you to rank locally. Once it’s set up, there is a much greater chance that potential clients who are searching for your services in the area will find you.

Help! I’m still not ranking!

Feeling overwhelmed? Think of this post as a virtual pat on the back and a little push to keep you going. It’s not going to happen overnight, but even small changes can really add up. 

And if you are still struggling, the best next step to take is to contact a professional. We know it’s a lot. Hiring a website design agency like Creatography to be your creative companion in all things design and digital strategy allows you to focus more on what you do best. We take a holistic approach, offering market research with SEO and creative brand design along with our website design services.

We’ll be by your side, helping you achieve an increase in online visibility and growing your leads.