12 Proven Reasons Why Your Website is Not Ranking

Are you struggling to get your website or blog noticed?

If your website is not ranking in Google results, you’re likely not getting much traffic.

That means you’re not getting the stream of potential customers you need to help your business grow.

Websites fail to rank in search results for several reasons. Figuring out which issues are affecting your site is necessary before you can make changes to improve.

If you’re not showing up in the search results, look at these 12 common reasons websites fail to rank.

1. Not Indexed by Google

To show up in searches, your website has to be indexed by Google.

When your website is new, there’s a chance it hasn’t been indexed by Google yet. This keeps it from showing up in search results.

Sometimes the code in your web design tells Google not to index it, even if your website isn’t new. You’ll see “noindex” in the HTML code if this happens.

You probably never intentionally set your website or certain pages to not be indexed. But it can happen.

If you have a WordPress site, it’s possible that you accidentally checked a box to discourage indexing your site in search engines.

If you have your site developed by someone else, they might have set your website to not be indexed during development. The idea is you don’t want your site to be found while it’s still under construction.

Forgetting to remove the “noindex” code when you publish your site means it remains unseen on search results.

If you find the tag on any of your pages, remove it. This lets Google know your site should be indexed.

Not sure if your website is indexed? Search for it in Google like this: site:yoursite.com. 

If your website doesn’t show up, it’s likely not indexed.

You can help get your site indexed by going to Google Search Console and submitting your sitemap. Google then knows what you want to show up in search results.

2. New Website With Little Content

If your website is fresh and new, don’t expect to rank yet. It takes some time for Google to find your new home on the web. 

You’ll also need plenty of quality content to attract people to your site.

Google looks at your engagement statistics to help with ranking. If you don’t have much content, people won’t likely spend much time on your site. This can hurt your ranking.

It can also take some time before Google moves you up to higher rankings. It has to make sure you’re a legitimate site with quality content.

Continuing to grow your website and add new, useful content helps you rank when your website is new. You’ll also need the patience to get through the new period.

3. Slow Loading

How fast does your website load? If it’s too slow, it could be hurting your ranking.

Research shows that 53% of mobile users leave a page if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds.

The longer your page takes the load, the higher the chance you’ll lose people.

If you have a high bounce rate because your site takes too long to load, Google will notice. You’ll have trouble ranking with that higher bounce rate.

If slow loading is your issue, you can take these steps to help:

  • Reduce the size of your image files
  • Limit how many videos you have on each page
  • Use only necessary plug-ins for WordPress
  • Pick a WordPress theme that loads quickly and performs well
  • Use browser caching
  • Compress your website
  • Find and fix broken links

Changing your hosting type can also help.

Shared hosting is affordable, but it’s usually not ideal for high traffic. Your site can also slow down if another site on the same server has an increase in traffic.

VPS hosting is a step up, giving you dedicated resources on a shared server. This eliminates slow-downs based on traffic to the other sites on the server.

Dedicated hosting is the most reliable because you have your own dedicated server.

4. Failing to Optimize Meta Tags

The metadata on your website is a prime opportunity for optimizing your content. It’s how the search engine knows what each page is about.

If you’re not filling in these areas on your site or you’re using poor-quality content in your metadata, you’re probably hurting your chances of ranking.

Look at your title tags and meta descriptions on every page of your website

Include the keywords for which you’re trying to rank in these areas. 

Your metadata shows up in the search results, so it’s important to also make it appealing to people.

Quality metadata encourages people to click through to your site. That traffic can help with your ranking.

Make your metadata catchy but informative. It should let people know exactly what they’ll find on the page.

If they can’t figure out what’s on the page from the description, they might not waste their time visiting.

5. Low-Quality Content

Google gives preference to the sites that offer the most helpful results for various keywords. 

If you have short, thin content that doesn’t provide any relevant, helpful info for the keyword, you won’t likely rank well.

You’ll find different recommendations for the ideal blog post link. Some people say 500 is fine. Others say you need content of at least 2,000 words.

What can be more important is the type and length of content from your competitors.

Look at other sites that rank well for your keywords. What’s the average length for their content?

If you’re writing short 500-word posts when others are using the same keywords with quality, useful 1,500-word posts, those more substantial pages will likely rank higher.

Length isn’t the only factor, though. What you write needs to being meaningful.

A 2,000-word blog post with filler won’t go much to help with your ranking.

The quality of your content determines whether or not people stay on your site.

If your content isn’t relevant or doesn’t hook readers right away, they’ll likely look for the info they want somewhere else.

6. Overly Competitive Keywords

It’s natural to want to rank well for popular keywords, but that also means you’re likely up against lots of competition.

Many of the top-ranking pages for those keywords are secure in their spot. For the most competitive keywords, the top-ranking sites could have thousands or even millions of backlinks to them.

It’s tough to compete and move past them. You might not even make it on the first page if the keyword is too competitive.

Look at the keywords you’re trying to rank for, and see how competitive they are.

You might need to find some new variations on those keywords with less competition.

7. Poor Organization

Your overall website design impacts your SEO, which affects your Google rankings.

If you’re not optimizing your overall web design and individual posts, you might struggle to rank well. 

Navigation is an important part of SEO. Your site needs a simple, effective navigation system. 

Your structure needs to make sense and make it easy for users to find what they want. 

If visitors can’t find what they want, they’ll leave your site. That hurts your bounce rate

When Google sees that people are “bouncing” from your site quickly, it takes that as a sign that the quality is lacking.

Having neat organization and navigation keeps people on your site longer, which helps your ranking.

It also makes it easier for search engine crawlers to move through your pages.

Look at your navigation through the eyes of a user. Is it easy to get around your site?

Ask for feedback from customers, family, and friends on the navigation.

8. Little On-Page Optimization

The way you set up each page can either help or hurt you.

Keyword density, titles, and content that’s relevant to the keywords you’re using are all important.

Breaking up your content into smaller paragraphs with subheadings can also improve your optimization. It makes the content easier for readers to digest, and the subheadings give you more opportunities for keywords. 

9. Duplicate Content

To rank well, you need unique content on your site. Google ignores duplicate content.

If your site has the same or similar content as another site, even if you own both sites, it could hurt your ranking.

It seems obvious that your content should be unique, but there are many ways you could end up with duplicate content on your site.

In case you’re not aware, it’s never okay to copy and paste content from someone else’s site and use it on yours. Plagiarism in blogging is a major problem, and it could get your website shut down.

You could run into a situation where someone else copies and pastes your work onto their site. 

Using Copyscape to check your work can show you if there’s similar content on the web. It’s natural for some phrases to be similar, especially if you’re talking about a popular topic.

But you shouldn’t find sites that are identical or almost identical to your work.

10. Lack of Quality Backlinks

High-quality backlinks are important in getting your website to rank.

Backlinks are the hyperlinks that lead from one site to another. A backlink to your site happens with another website creates a hyperlink that leads to a page on your website.

When other sites link to you, it acts as a vote of confidence in the eyes of Google. It’s as if those sites are endorsing you since they think highly enough of your content to link to it.

But you don’t want just any backlinks. The quality of the site linking to your page is more important than having tons of links.

The higher the domain authority of the sites that are linking to you, the more it boosts your ranking. If all of the links come from spam-filled, low-quality sites, they’ll hurt your ranking.

Getting quality backlinks takes work. Producing quality content, including popular infographics, gives people a reason to link to your page.

It also helps to build strong relationships with other people in your niche or related niches. They’ll be more likely to link to your page if you have real connections with them.

Guest blogging can help get quality links back to your site. You write a blog post for another site that relates to your business. 

In that post, you can link back to your website. The readers on that site see your content and possibly click through to your site. You also get the backlink from the site.

11. Not Mobile-Friendly

In the U.S., 96% of people own cellphones, and 81% of those are smartphones.

With such high rates of mobile access, it’s no surprise that mobile-friendly web design is an important factor. 

If you don’t have a responsive website, it can hurt your traffic and ranking. Responsive web design just means that site automatically adjusts to best fit the screen of the user’s device.

It adjusts things such as your layout and images, optimizing them for different devices.

This makes the experience more enjoyable and easier for people on mobile devices.

If you don’t have a responsive website currently, talk to your web developer about changing it.

If you handle your own website on WordPress, switch to a responsive WordPress theme.

12. Lack of New Content

You can have a website full of great content, but if you don’t keep adding to it, you might not see yourself ranking as you want.

Adding new content makes your site seem current and relevant. It shows that you’re still producing quality content and didn’t abandon your site.

It keeps the people who already know about you coming back to read what you publish next. That traffic can help your search rankings.

You also give Google more pages and keywords to index.

If you post sporadically or haven’t added anything new in a long time, make plans to create new content. 

Developing a content calendar helps keep you on track.

Figure Out Why Your Website Is Not Ranking

It’s frustrating when your website is not ranking, especially if you’re trying to do everything right. Pinpointing the causes of your poor ranking results can help you fix the problems and slowly climb up the search results.

Do you feel stuck with improving your ranking? Check out our SEO services to see how we can help.

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Antonio Calabrese GHAX

Hey, I’m Antonio Calabrese, Founder at GHAX. We love working with businesses who are serious about growth.

If that’s you, get in touch and be 1 of 20 this month to claim a free marketing strategy session.

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