There are any number of reasons why a site doesn’t rank well on Google SERPS.
In most cases, it just takes good content published consistently to gain some traction and for the problem to fix its self. That being said here are some common reasons why your site may not be ranking as well as you would like it to and some fixes.
Your Site Doesn’t Rank Well Because it’s New
It will normally take a couple of weeks for a new site to get indexed by Google and to become visible on search. But being indexed is just step one of being found. It is kind of like starting a new business. It takes time to build a client base and do well. And your site doesn’t rank well because it takes time for Google to trust what you are doing enough to show you some love.
If your site is about SEO then to try to rank for the keyword SEO would be nigh on impossible. If however, you optimize your pages for related long tail keywords phrases something like the phrase I have used for this article “Why doesn’t my site rank well” then you will find that you will do much better as there is far less competition because the phrase is specific to what is searched. You see the top keywords are dominated by well-established sites with age and authority in their corner so don’t set yourself up for failure. This is one of the big reason why a site doesn’t rank well.
You need a headline (h2 tag) the sub-headlines (h3 tags). A good use of images is a must. Optimize your images so that they are picked up by Google images. They need alt text and descriptions added so that Google knows what they are about
Check out PACS resident SEO Expert Barrie Evans for more detailed information on your on page SEO requirements
In case you hadn’t noticed the internet is going mobile. You need to be mobile responsive so that your pages are mobile friendly. Speed is a priority. Your pages need to load as fast as possible. Images as well as having to optimized for on-page SEO also should be compressed to keep the file size down. Use the jpg format where possible. And you should limit the number of plugins and widgets that you use.
Weak or scraped content can be another reason why your site doesn’t rank well.
You need to give the search bots something that is written well. With good keywords. You need to make it clear what the topic is so that it is clear where your pages fit within search.
There will be times when you write awesome articles. There will be times when you don’t feel what you have written is as good. Don’t beat yourself up with this. Treat the awesome articles as cornerstone content. And the not so awesome ones as feeder articles linking into the cornerstone posts, supporting them. This is a good indication to Google as to what you consider the best content on your site, the content that you would like to be ranked well.
Other articles can be a good source to back up what you say. Linking out is good for your site. But be mindful of who you link to. It is not a great decision to link to direct competitors. All you are doing is boosting their chances of ranking higher than you. I would suggest using Nofollow links when linking out if you are linking to direct search competitors and Dofollow for real authority sites. Use Dofollow links for internal linking particularly for cornerstone content.
Onto Trust Rank. Does Google trust what you do? Have you ever seen a site that no matter what it does their articles just index fast and rank incredibly well? There are lots and lots about and they all have something in common and that is that Google trusts them and loves what they do. They have built up their Trust Rank. I have written in detail about TrustRank over at Infobunny in my Does Google Trust Your Site? Article. You should also take a look at this article by Brian Dean at BackLinko, Why Google Hates Your Site (Hint: It Has Something to Do With TrustRank) You really need to be building your Trust Rank.
Not Enough Quality Sites Linking In
Linking out to other sites notifies those sites that you have mentioned them. This can lead to reciprocation, that’s one way to build links. Another is to comment on related articles that provide link backs. You can also try reaching out to other webmasters to try to get links
A Poor Social Media Strategy
Your social channels should be branded to your site. They are windows to your site. Every new article should be shared on all channels. You need to be engaging and visible and real. Avoid automation where possible.
Why doesn’t my site rank well? Hmmm, Duplicate Content
This may well be why your site doesn’t rank well. Bloggers get confused by the term duplicate content. Duplicate content outside your site is not the problem. Google is more than capable of distinguishing where the original post came from and who to attribute the rank and results too. The problem is duplicate content on your site. WordPress sites give us pages, posts, archives, author pages, categories, tags and more. These can all appear as duplicate pages.
A quick question. “Would you like an article to be found for the keywords and optimization that you add to a post? Or would you like it to be found via an indexed category as a duplicate?”
I’m hoping you want to be found for your hard work. Indexed categories and tags are seen as duplicate pages. A category about “social media” is pretty similar to a page displaying the tag “social media”. Y ou really want to avoid duplicate pages. If you are not careful indexed categories and tags can easily outrank posts because they carry a group of posts rather than a single post. They carry more content and this confuses Google. Duplicate content will get you penalized.
The fix is just to allow pages and posts and author pages to be indexed. There is no need to index categories or tags. At best just diluting any juice passed on by Google.
I’m always checking my SERPS and today I had a look at the long tail keyword I used for this article “Why doesn’t my site rank well?”
We checked on Google Chrome on an Incognito Browser and came in at Page 1 Position 4 😉
Now moved up to position 2 😉
PS – If you enjoyed this post, please comment, like and share below, Thanks!
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