Introduction

Perhaps you can’t find your website listed in Google for its target keywords…and this must be disheartening, to invest so many hours into developing your website yet for it to go nowhere. Of all the ways to generate traffic, ‘organic search traffic’ is perhaps the most cost-effective.

At Trent & Hanover, we have much expertise in this field, and have helped myriad numbers of our clients to develop their sites through optimisation and methods which increase online traffic – especially organic search traffic – and we are in a position to help you with this, too.

To begin, what can you do about your website ranking so poorly in Google?

1. If it’s Still New

Google may not even know of the existence of your website if it’s been launched extremely recently; after all, search engines work by following links to web pages – and of course different websites. And without links Google may take up to four weeks to index a site.

This is never an instantaneous process. However, if you submit your website’s URL or sitemap to Google, it will speed up considerably; sitemaps in particular are excellent if your website has a lot of different pages.

Sitemaps list every page and URL on your site, acting to guide search engines through and enabling them to easily index and find all your pages; it can be created either manually or through XML-Sitemaps.com and other third party options.

2. Google Can’t Crawl Your Website

Crawling is the process by which Google robots (known as ‘spiders’) analyse your website to determine how it should be ranked and indexed. But if your site’s robots.txt file has been modified this may not work.

The point of a robots.txt file is to specify which search engines are able to access specific pages on your website. This can be highly useful; however, if you need your site to be indexed, then you’ll want to allow Google to crawl it.

A setting in WordPress exists which is used by webmasters who don’t want search engines to crawl their sites. In your case, since you want the opposite, go to Settings, then to Reading, and make sure the “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” option isn’t checked. Then the Google robots can do their work.

3. Is your site Penalised?

Google sometimes penalises sites if they violate its Webmaster Guidelines; this may range from lowering their ranking to utterly removing them from search results. Naturally, over the years Google has improved their ‘search ranking algorithm’ to prevent Webmaster manipulation.

There are a few common reasons for Google search penalties, such as:

A. If you buy links

B. If you cloak your site (which shows visitors and search engines two different versions of it)

C. If you have hidden text or links

D. If you use ‘keyword stuffing’

E. Or if you punish content which has been scraped from other sites.

Search penalties may also carry over when a website is transferred from one owner to a new owner. For instance, if Google penalised your site under a previous owner then you may need to submit a reconsideration request to remove the penalty.

4. Does your site have ‘bad content’?

At Trent & Hanover, one thing which we always help our clients with is ensuring that their content for their sites is really strong. This is because a site with very little or no original content won’t find it easy to rank in Google; it even has a specific algorithm update for targeting sites of this kind which aims to lower the search rankings of any sites which have low quality content and simultaneously raises the rankings of higher quality ones.

Naturally, your site may not rank in Google if it falls under this category.

The days when you could obtain the very best rankings in Google and other search engines by publishing short, sustenance lacking articles are over; now, what you need to do is publish well-researched, well-written content with good optimisation and relevance in your field. Make it your focus; we can help you with this if need be.

5. Targeting the wrong Keywords

When it comes to keywords, it’s extremely important to chose the right ones which generate the correct traffic. For example, “short-tail keywords” do usually have greater search volume than their long-tail counterparts, but with all the competition for new sites being so stiff, it’s not guaranteed to increase traffic.

In fact, depending on the short-term keyword for which you are trying to rank you may end up in competition with literally tens of thousands of other websites if they are aiming for the same one.

The truth of the matter is, you want your site to rank high in Google; so you need to target longer-tail keywords. One of the best ways to find appropriate keywords is to use Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner, a free usage tool which reveals many things, from keyword search volume and competition to average bid prices on AdWords. Give this a try and see where it goes.

6. Does your site lack proper optimisation?

Because SEO is constantly evolving, if you’re not taking the time to optimise every page on your website then it may stay at the bottom of search results; if this is the case, most people won’t see it.

Some optimisation tips to improve Google search rankings:

A. Don’t publish the same content on more than one page if you can help it; small amounts are ok if you must but never an entire page.

B. Make sure all your pages individually have a unique title tag and their own meta description.

C. Ensure you create a page for terms of agreement and your privacy policy.

D. When you publish content, it shouldn’t be about search engines; do it with your visitors in mind.

E. Make sure you guide visitors to relevant pages through internal linking.

F. Long-form content with a high word count should be published.

G. Finally, a great way to enhance text-based pages is to add images – especially good ones which stand out.

7. What about Bad User Experiences?

Given our dedication at Trent & Hanover to ensuring our clients’ sites are good enough to always leave an excellent impression on any visitors, we are well aware of the danger of bad user experiences; a single one of these can hugely damage your site’s rankings.

Issues such as mobile unfriendly designs, text which is hard to read and slow loading times all will affect your site’s UX (user experience) negatively. Any competing sites, furthermore, will be given greater weight in search results if Google thinks your site has a poor UX.

Thankfully, there are ways to prevent UX issues from affecting your search rankings. Perhaps one of the best ways is to try navigating and using your site not as yourself, but as a typical visitor might do; then, with this newer perspective, you may see any technical issues that could have led to bad UX.

In conclusion, these are just a few reasons why a website might struggle to rank well in Google. And as with everything else, once the cause is identified, steps can be undertaken to resolve the resulting problem.

At Trent & Hanover, we we have helped many a client to ensure their website has good UX, as opposed to bad UX; after all, a client’s business is dependent largely on if their own customers like the services they receive. Thus, if you cannot resolve these issues alone, come to us and we’ll see what we can do to help you.