You’ve worked hard and created a website you’ve envisioned for months and are proud to share. The font looks great. The images are personal. It reflects your brand well. Like any excited business person, you go straight to Google and punch in some relevant keywords to see where it pops up.
First page — nothing.
Second page — nothing.
Third page — you’re scared to even look.
Close to shedding some frustrated tears? Don’t worry, this post has your back (and some tissues).
But why is search ranking even important?
It’s common knowledge that most of us don’t click past the first (sometimes second) page of Google. It isn’t enough for your website to be indexed by Google, you need to make it to the top listings of Google’s organic search (based on relevant and not PPC or pay per clicks) to get the most traffic.
First, a quick lesson on what algorithms are: a set of rules that set the stage for a program to perform a very specific task. You can see them as mathematical equations. Google algorithms are complex and change frequently, depending on what you’ve typed in the search box. The ranking assigned to a page is fluid, and top spots are usually held by businesses that do SEO (search engine optimisation) on their sites — a way to use keywords to tell Google a web page is about a particular topic.
In this post, we’ve found some reasons why you might not be ranking in Google’s search results:
- Google Hasn’t Indexed Your Site Yet
While Google indexes pages automatically, it can take some time if your website is new. Make sure to submit your website for search indexing with Google Search Console (previously called Google Webmaster Tools), and you can even add your website to Google My Business.
- Your Website Isn’t Optimised for Search Engines
- Your Keyword Market is Super Competitive
Say your business specializes in manufacturing shoes. Your keywords have to be specific, but you also need to be aware of how competitive your market is for those same keywords. You’re competing with brands like Reebok and Adidas footwear, so check out what keywords your competitors are using and what’s working for them. You can also use online tools like SEMrush for useful and free insights.
- You Aren’t Using the Right Keywords
This can be a tough one. You might be using technical terms your potential customers aren’t aware of. They might be looking for “birthday cake bakers” and you’re talking about “varieties of fondants”. Try and target keywords that have a narrower niche, like “SEO coaching for non-professionals” or “solo travel in Mauritius”. You can use keyword analysis for some phrases you want to rank well for with tools like Google Adwords Keyword Tool.
- Your Website Has Been Penalised/Hacked/Removed from Google
It happens to the best of us. Some bored person on the other side of the globe hacked into your website or host company — just to prove they can. Google Search Console can help you figure out why exactly your website isn’t getting indexed. Or, find out why you’ve gotten penalized by Google here.
- Your Content Needs Work
A lot of web designers like big, gorgeous photos on their home pages and minimal text. While this is sometimes good, search engines are still mostly blind, and you’ll need to include some (relevant) keyword-rich text + links to where people can find more information about those words on your site.
You can also write useful blog posts and give resources to solve potential problems they might face in the service/buyer process, on a regular basis.
- You’ve Put All Your Products/Services on the Same Page
Google likes focus and lots of details. Help them recommend you. For example, instead of listing all your products or services under one page, create a new page for each one. Include powerful headers, photos, videos, links, and body copy. If you have a lot of products/services, highlight the best(-selling) ones and think about adding testimonials to it.
If you’re looking to get more specific and do branded search, you go beyond traditional SEO keywords and include your company’s brand name or other branded elements in search queries, such as “Carpenter Cats blog” or “Carpenter Cats marketing”.
In branded search, all the real estate of it is owned by that particular brand. Google’s focus on brands means companies are responsible for including both branded and SEO keywords in their marketing.
This is just the beginning of “finding yourself” on Google, which continues to become more human, and specific-search centered. By putting yourself in your clients’ shoes, you’ll be able to take steps like adding a blog, making sure your page is optimised with relevant and quality content, and build better SEO authority on your website.
Originally written for and published on Digital Odyssey.