At one time, ranking on the search engines was relatively easy. Throw some (too many to count) keywords into your Meta data, stuff your website with more keywords – making it nearly impossible to read – , submit your website to Google, and voila, there you were, right on the first page of Google.
Well, my friends, this is no longer the case.
Google has gotten more intelligent (thankfully for us users) and as most things do, the world of SEO has evolved. With this evolution and the exponential growth of the Internet, many websites have great difficulty showing up on the first (or even second) page of the SERPs, even with SEO on their website.
Why, you ask?
The reasons vary from site to site, but there are a few areas to start with. Today, I’m going to review three common reasons your site might not rank despite your SEO efforts, and how you can make a better case for your ranking dexterity.
1. Your Site Has Little or No Content, or Worse, Duplicate Content
If you’ve never heard the following phrase, I suggest you get to know it and learn to love it: content is king. Repeat after me, content is king.
In the world of digital marketing and SEO, content is extremely important. It’s one of the many ways to increase your chances of ranking under several keywords and phrases, both short and long tail. Not only do you need content on your website, but blogging and other types of content, like ebooks, have also become significant tools that contribute to improved rankings.
But here’s the thing: you must have unique content. Copying content from various sources won’t get you found. You have to create content for your website and your website’s users.
In fact, duplicate content used in hopes of fooling the search engines is a huge issue, and you will be penalized if you practice this black-hat method.
Provide your website users with the information they want and need by blogging on a regular basis. These fixes will get you one step closer to ranking on the search engines. Just make sure you’re creating quality content; quality content will always trump quantity.
2. Your SEO is Not Localized and it Should Be
Are you a local business? Do you serve a specific service area? Are you a storefront?
If you answered yes to any of these questions and your SEO isn’t localized, it could be why you’re not ranking. Even with Google being as smart and intuitive as it is, do you know how many websites are on the Internet? Way too many to count.
And people search for local businesses. As much as shopping and finding things online has become popular, people are still shopping local, eating local and looking for local services. If you provide those local services – make sure the search engines know!
Here are a couple of things you can do to boost your local presence: add your location into your Meta data and content (in a useful way), and make sure you claim your Google+ business page. With their latest platform update, Google My Business, being a local business on Google is super simple with everything on one dashboard.
If you’re interested in learning more about Local SEO, check out our latest eBook: Maximizing Local SEO.
3. Your Site is New and Lacks Valuable Backlinks
Ranking on page one of the search engines takes time. If your site is brand new, it could be one reason you’re not ranking. Even if your site isn’t new, if you haven’t always been in compliance with Google’s guidelines, it could also affect your rankings.
Give your site time to index. If after some time you’re still not ranking and doing everything you should be (like composing quality content on your site and blog) and you have complete and accurate Meta data, there might be a larger issue at hand.
And this issue could be a lack of valuable backlinks.
Backlinks, also known as inbound links, are another one of the many ranking factors in the search engines. Inbound links are links pointing to your website. But here’s the thing: you want quality links pointing at your website. At one time, it didn’t seem to matter what links were pointing at your website, but these days it does. Great inbound links come from credible and valuable resources, but they’re not always easy to obtain.
Now cue those aforementioned quality links. Great content is what attracts strangers to your site, and is one of the biggest sources for valuable backlinks.
Here Are Some Ways to Earn Those Valuable Links:
- Blogging about topics that people want to link to and share
- Linking to other blogs
- Guest posting
- Creating free tools (presentations, templates, resources)
- Writing a press release when you have newsworthy company information to share
- Creating visual content people will want to share and link to (infographics, videos, images, etc.)
While these aren’t the only reasons your site isn’t ranking, they’re definitely a good place to start. SEO can be quite murky at times, and with the constant algorithm updates, it can be hard to stay on top of it all and run a business! The best advice I can give you is to start with a solid SEO foundation and great content, and build from there.