If you’re website isn’t showing up in Google search results, and you’re not sure why, there may be a number of ranking factors contributing to your lower placement in the search results.
The first thing you need to look at is relevancy. Google wants to provide the most relevant information to searchers. They do this by crawling website content and matching it to the keyword/search query a searcher is targeting. If your site is copying content from authority sources or your on-page content doesn’t fully cover the topic being searched, then you can be sure Google won’t show your website.
Our SEO specialists regularly work with business owners who have been unsuccessful in getting their website to rank. Based on our experience, here are just a few important ranking factors to consider when trying to improve your placement in Google search results.
Google Ranking Factors to Increase Search Result Placement
Keyword Placement & Density
Proper keyword placement is crucial for helping Google determine the topic of a page. Include the keyword / phrase you are targeting in the title tag, at the beginning of the page content and sprinkled throughout the rest of the page. This is extremely important for SEO!
It’s also critical that your content is written for humans, not search engines, and that your page reads naturally and not “keyword stuffed” for the sake of attracting Google web crawlers. Be very careful with keyword stuffing as it comes across as spammy and Google could penalize your website for it. Your goal is to create relevancy signals for Google but not over do it!
Another thing to consider is your domain. When picking out a domain, include the keyword and if you can, list the keyword as the first word in the domain. If your domain has previously been registered don’t worry, try adding a keyword to a subdomain. For example, try setting up a page domain like this: www.seo.website.com rather than www.website.com/seo.
The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin is a great plugin to help business owners optimize their pages correctly and naturally. It can provide guidance on how easy it is to read your content, how many times your keyword/phrase is used on the page, if your images are optimized, and much more.
Since Google’s web crawlers can’t view images, it’s important to help them understand what the images on your web page mean. The image file name, alt text and title tag should explain your image. Be brief in the description and keep the text varied. Sometimes this means getting a little creative for a site with similar images throughout.
Read How Your Website Images Affect Your Search Ranking to learn more about image optimization and best practices.
Content and Site Updates
Google LOVES new material. Keep your content fresh and unique by frequently updating your website and adding new blog posts. Big changes are a better signal to Google than smaller ones, so try to make significant changes when creating updates.
In addition to blog posts and pages, you should also create supplemental content that provides value to the searcher and your target audience. Here are some of recommendations:
- Interactive Maps/Tools
- E-books, Whitepapers, Downloadable Templates
Monitor Time on Site
If your website visitors are quickly leaving, also know as bouncing, from the site, Google could determine that the information on your page is irrelevant to the search query used to find your website. Your content should be engaging and delivering the proper message. If visitors are spending time on your site, then you are providing value that Google will want to share with new consumers!
Cleaning House to Increase Your Website’s Search Ranking in Google
Check for Poor Domain History
A website that ranks poorly with Google could have a bad domain history. Penalties like Penguin and Panda were created to target abusive tactics used to increase web rankings and your site may be negatively affected. Be careful hosting with spammers and conducting “black hat” tactics. Google will eventually recognize this and drop your website into oblivion!
Renew Your Domain Registration
Keep your domain up to date, and try to purchase longer domain registrations. Google considers a longer registration more legitimate than shorter ones and gives more credit to websites they believe will continue to exist for years to come. Domains with short term registrations look less authoritative because they may not be actively maintained or are for a temporary cause compared to an established site on the same subject.
Test Page Speed
A website that loads slowly will fall in the rankings compared to sites that deliver content quickly. Google wants to deliver quality content to searchers and a slow loading page sends a poor quality signal. Plus, your customers are seeking speed, so if a page is loading slowly, they’ll quickly abandon your site which will negatively affect your bounce rate.
Check Your Site’s Backlink Quality
Make sure you are sending the right signals to Google regarding your website. If you have low quality or spammy inbound links, Google will recognize this as manipulating the ranking system and penalize the website. Link building should be natural. Authoritative sites with a high level of trust tend to help websites rank higher because they provide quality resources to readers.
There are a number of tools available like the Moz browser extension, Ahrefs and Screaming Frog SEO Spider to help with your link strategy.
Along with building high-quality inbound links, internal website linking is also important to Google. Make sure your website has adequate amounts of internal links directing traffic to relevant pages of content. For example, add a link to your contact page, or if you mention a service you provide in a blog article, add a link to that service page.
Also, check and repair broken links as they can send a poor quality signal to Google, thus reducing your site presence in search results.
Look for Penalties
Whether a website is under a manual or algorithm penalty, its reputation can slowly be repaired. In Google Search Console, there is a disavow tool that can be used to tell Google which links should no longer be associated with your website. However, buyer beware! Do not disavow quality links because once the links have been disavowed, they are GONE!
Conduct a Website Audit to Identify SEO Troublemakers
While these factors listed above are some of those that make the biggest impact in your search engine results, there are over 200 ranking factors that go into Google’s search engine algorithms. There may be numerous reasons as to why your site isn’t ranking well.
If you’d like some help finding the “SEO troublemakers” that are keeping your website from ranking well on Google, we’re here to help! Get a free website audit by a certified SEO expert.
Just remember a few takeaways: a) Make sure you website is relevant to the topic you want to rank for, b) keep your content unique and fresh, and c ) avoid spammy tactics!