One of the most common and biggest challenges that could face an online publisher is having a site not ranking on Google Search Engine Result Page (SERP). Yes, you are not alone if your site isn’t ranking. And whether you’re a rookie or an old-timer that has put in tremendous SEO work on their website, not ranking on Google do not specifically put you into any category other than what you’re facing.
Many factors can cause a site not to rank on Google, including sites that were previously doing well on Google SERP.
A list of possible reasons why your site is not ranking on Google
- Not on Google Search Console
- Plagiarized content
- Not mobile-friendly
- A penalty from Google
- Poorly maintained
- Strong competition
- No quality inbound links
- Broken links (site errors)
- Bad site structure
- Poor content and SEO strategy
Not on Google Search Console
Your site can not appear on Google search results if you have not submitted it to Google Search Console. You want to be sure that your site is on Google’s list. There’s no room to assume. It’s also possible to de-index your site mistakenly by switching on the privacy setting.
Submit your website to Google search console if you haven’t done so before now. The procedure is straightforward and free. If you have done so, find out if your website visibility setting is on privacy or public. From your WordPress dashboard, go to setting > readings and select “Allow Search engines” under the publicly viewable options.
Google does not support duplicate content, even on the same website, if it suspects any deceptive intention. Plagiarism is when the same piece of content is found on multiple pages or websites. Hence, if your website plagiarizes content from other websites or it is being plagiarized by others, it may affect your ranking on Google SERP. Websites with plagiarized content might be removed entirely from the Google index.
Post only unique content and avoid malicious-looking duplicate content on your website.
Google advises that you use 301 redirects each time you restructure your website or alternatively, block similar content with a noindex meta tag while being focused on minimizing similar content on your website.
Is your website mobile friendly? If not, then you have a possible reason why your site is not ranking on Google. With millions of people drifting to mobile search from their phones and tablets, Google has, since 2016, modified its ranking algorithm to benefit mobile-friendly sites. Hence, if your site does not respond to mobile applications, it may not rank on Google.
Insist on a responsive theme layout while developing a website. You can redesign your site for something dynamic and integrate your mobile site versions using 301 redirects.
A penalty from Google
This happens when Google has slapped your site a penalty, and you are being punished for something. It could be an algorithmic or manual type of penalty. A manual action penalty can completely remove your website from Google’s search result. Penalties always emanate from Google guideline violations such as keyword stuffing, having links to malicious websites on your website, old case(s) of duplicate content, etc.
Find out if your site is being flagged by Google for violating any of the guidelines. You may receive a message from Google if your site is facing a penalty. However, you may have to sign in to your Search Console account to find out.
The maintenance of your site is very important for ranking. Google usually rank neglected or abandoned sites poorly, regardless of how great and unique the site posts are.
Poor maintenance of a website leads to broken links and lack of moderation in the comment section signals an untrustworthy source of information.
You want to clean spam messages in your comment section regularly and equally service your website regularly to ensure that your plugins are up to date.
Google ranking is now an integral part of today’s marketing. Hence, you’re not the only one optimizing your site to rank on Google. And of course, not every publisher writing on a set of keywords would rank on Google’s first page. The strongest competitors will win the first page, and if your game is not strong enough, your site won’t rank well.
You don’t want to start publishing content using keywords with very strong competition. Start by choosing keywords with less competition until you gain good page authority before you can compete for competitive keywords. You may still need to work for a reasonable period for any results if your niche is highly competitive.
No quality inbound links
To rank above your competitors, your website should have more and better backlinks. They are like “trusteeship certificate,” certifying that the page the search engine is linking is valuable. Hence, if a page has a more quality “trusteeship certificate,” it will rank higher than others.
Promote your website on social media or by joining forums in your niche. You may also share links to your landing pages and articles via email campaigns.
Broken links (site errors)
Your site will never rank top position on Google if it has plenty of dead links such as 403 or 404 errors. Broken links could come up after you restructure a website or move a page to another folder. There is a need to regularly check the health of your website links to ensure that all are working. In the event that you have one or two broken links, ensure to redirect them to valid and their alternative pages.
Bad site structure
Bad site structure can increase your crawl budget aside from offering bad user experience. Google would rank poorly structured websites low since it would take more time to classify the website content. Don’t hesitate to adopt any site structure that promotes the accessibility and usability of your website.
Poor content and SEO strategy
Google doesn’t just pay attention to longer posts but more clinical ones that tackle their subjects more deeply. Websites with poorly written content are not only visible to human readers. Google bots have become really advanced to know when a post is going off the topic or unnecessarily keyword-focused. There is a need to implement a good SEO strategy while optimizing your site content consistently. Use your keywords where necessary and insist on quality content, even if it would require you not to post daily.
A site not ranking on Google, at all, may require just a little effort to see a difference. The real hassle is to push your page above already ranking sites that clearly understand every SEO trick or strategy you may want to implement. However, the above-listed reasons could be why a site would not rank on Google even after working really hard on their SEO.