Is your site not showing up in Google search results?
Test if your site has been indexed by searching for its exact URL or domain name with no other words (ex: http://www.yourdomain.com).
Why Search Ranking Matters
The vast majority of people don’t click past the first page of search results. According to this study, the top listing in Google’s organic search results receives 33 percent of the traffic, compared to 18 percent for the second position, and the traffic only degrades from there.
So it’s not enough for your site to simply be indexed by Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Why Sites Don’t Rank in Search Results
Google is tricky. Here’s what may be preventing your site from showing up in search results:
- Google has not indexed your website yet (too new)
- Your website isn’t optimized for search engine crawling
- Your keyword market is very competitive
- Your website has “no index” tags
- Your website has been penalized and removed from Google
Below are common reasons (in detail) why your site (WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace) isn’t ranking, and how to appear on Google search:
1. Google has not indexed your website yet
Sometimes it can take a week or more for a search engine to update search results. This is because your website is new and doesn’t have any inbound links.
First, create an account on Google webmaster tools. When you register and point Google to your sitemap.xml URL you can request them to re-crawl your URLs. However, there are so many requests that the feature doesn’t always work immediately (especially if you have a new or large site).
If you don’t want to create a Google Webmaster Tools account, try this link to add your url to google: http://www.google.com/addurl/
Google doesn’t add all submitted URLs to their index, and they can’t make predictions or guarantees about when or if submitted URLs will appear in their index. But if your new website is crawled, it usually takes another week or two for it to be pushed out to the index.
2. Your website is too new
Did you just build and launch your new website? Typically it can take up to four weeks for it to begin to show up in search engine results. While we might be accustomed to getting things online quickly, search engine indexes can be rather slow. So sit tight, wait and learn more about search engine algorithms before you get too nervous.
3. Your website has “no index” tags
You can use custom code to tell search engines not to index your site or specific pages. If you or someone who designed your site added this code, that would explain why it’s not appearing in search results.
4. Your website isn’t optimized for search engine crawling
Once you submit your website to a search engine, a spider is sent to your site to crawl it for content. These spiders don’t view your site like a visitor would.
They scan your site for meta content, keyword saturation, relevant content, and many other factors.
Therefore, you need to consider what content search engines actually see on your Web pages.
5. Your keyword market is very competitive
Search engines help millions of users across the world navigate the internet and find specific content amid the billions of websites.
Make sure you are targeting a less competitive keyword market, so you can gain the attention of your consumer.
6. Not all keywords are equal
It’s easy to rank for irrelevant keywords in search engines. It’s hard to rank for keywords that are profitable for your business.
The difficulty is two fold, one determining the most profitable keyword for your business, and two having the knowledge to move you to Page 1 ranking.
7. Your website has been removed from Google
Google may temporarily or permanently remove sites from its index and search results if it believes it is obligated to do so by law, if the sites do not meet Google’s quality guidelines, or for other reasons, such as if the sites detract from users’ ability to locate relevant information.
Here are the different ways Google may remove your site from search results:
- Deindexed – When your domain is completely removed from Google. Also known as Banned.
- Penalized – When your domain or page still exists but none of your pages can be found through very direct search queries. This penalty can be automatic through the Google algorithm or manually applied by a Google Quality Engineer.
- Sandboxed – Your domain or page wasn’t Deindexed or Penalized, but the traffic you were getting from Google suddenly drops dramatically.
If your site is blocked from our index because it violates our quality guidelines, Google may alert you about this using Search Console.
If you receive a notification that your site violates our quality guidelines, you can modify your site so that it meets these guidelines, then submit your site for reconsideration.
You are blocking search engines from crawling your site
WordPress comes with a built-in feature that allows you to instruct search engines not to index your site. This feature is automatically enabled when you launch a new WordPress website. So you must manually disable it. All you need to do is visit Settings » Reading and check the box next to Search Engine Visibility option.
How to Get Your Website To Show Up on Google
You want your website to rank on the first page (which typically has 10 website listings). Depending on your business, you will need to employ search engine optimization and SEO strategies to improve your ranking.
1. Conduct a thorough SEO audit
To ensure greater success in the future, now is the time to conduct an SEO audit of your website. This will give you a clear view of where you stand in regards to:
- On-site optimization
- Off-site optimization
- Keyword selection
2. Add keywords to your website content
Keywords can be a single word or a short phrase of up to four or five words. These should be terms that are relevant to your site and which people are likely to use when they search Google.
Obviously they need to be relevant to what your site is about.
3. Use meta-tags to add more keyword
Meta-tags are hidden code — visitors to your website don’t see them, but the Google search engine “bots” that scan your site will pick them up.
You can add these meta-tags to your site yourself if you have a web design program or if you know how to do HTML coding.
4. Find keywords that aren’t overly competitive
We suggest you use Google’s free Keyword Planner to figure this out.
This keyword research tool lets you gauge the popularity of particular search terms, as well as the level of competition you face by using them.
Highly competitive keywords can have tens of thousands of websites fighting over them, so you are less likely to wind up on page one of Google if you pick these.
5. Seek out backlinks
Web pages that contain links back to your site: A big factor for search engines is quality organic backlinks. It’s what search engines are looking for.
If you have multiple websites linking back to your website, Google gives your page higher credibility and search ranking.
6. Create a listing for your site on Google My Business
This tip is for brick and mortar businesses with physical locations.
Google My Business links your site to a map listing, so when people look for your business or search using keywords linked to your business, they will find a Google map listing and can click through to your website for more information.
7. Have content that is relevant to your business
Use articles or other material that is specific to the products and services you are providing. Don’t use filler that is only loosely related.
Google’s algorithm ranks sites with original, relevant content more highly than those with content repeated elsewhere.
Bonus tip: SEO Maintenance
Once you’ve optimized your website to get to that crucial first page of Google, you can’t stop, SEO always needs to be managed.
As soon as you’ve climbed to page one ranking, your competitors will be after you with their own SEO strategies, seeking to knock you off the top.
Or customers might start searching with different keywords.
The bottom line: Your website will need continual SEO review to maintain your search engine ranking.
It’s very important for business owners, with WordPress, Squarespace and Wix sites, to learn about SEO, and improve their online presence. In fact, 63% of Americans access the mobile web each day, and that number is on the rise.