15 Reasons SEO is Not Working For You

By September 25, 2015 SEO No Comments

The 15 Most Common Reasons Your Site Is Not Ranking In Google

Most people today don’t clearly understand how to make their website rank on Google’s first page. That is the reason I am frequently asked this “Why am I NOT ranking?”

There is so much miss information out there about what really matters.  In this article, I am going to explain to you fifteen reasons why your site is not ranking.

1. Your Selection Of Keywords Is Off

Every time I meet an individual who owns a business that is struggling to get good rankings on Google, my initial step is to look at their selection of keywords. What I see with some cases is that these people try to rank for keywords and locations that do not have their focus on the pages on their site. In other cases, they also tend to pick keywords that are quite hard to rank for. To be more precise, they focus on the head keywords rather than the long tails. It is worth noting that if you have a new website, you should shift your focus on the local and long-tail keywords as opposed to the head keywords that are much more challenging to rank for.  You should go step by step and opt for the easy wins by building the authority of your site and then you can be able to rank for the more challenging keywords.

2. On-Site SEO Is Not Optimized

It is vital to build a good on site foundation before leaping into link building. There are several on-site optimization checkpoints that you need to bypass before you can effectively start link building. Site architecture is very important, and you need to focus on it initially. If you build a more precise internal linking system, you will bring out an authoritative display throughout your website and make your links even more functional in the process.  On top of that, you need to ensure that your page titles and anchor texts are in line with your general keyword strategy.  By doing the above, the search engines will explicitly understand what your site, product offering and business is about.  From there, engaging in a link building strategy will give you the most benefit.

3. Duplicated Content On Website

You should check whether you are creating duplicate service or product descriptions across several pages. If you are, then it is negatively affecting you. I can not tell you how many clients I have been forced to create landing pages for every small location in their area and use the exact content on all the pages.  This is not good!  You should put yourself in Google’s shoes. There is no doubt that duplicate content does not boost the value of their search engine. The reason behind it is that they want to display the businesses that have unique content. It is, therefore, better to have a page with no content than to have one with duplicates. You should also watch out for duplicate META data as it can hurt you as well!  Bottom line is you need to take the time to mix up the content on your pages.  This really is a bonus for your site, as you can target a more broad range of keywords and better index across a broader range of search terms.

4. Stop Diluting Page Strength and Keyword Focus

One big blunder you can make is to create multiple pages that target little changes of the same keywords. You should create a single page that targets a primary keyword plus it’s small changes. Taking an example, you should avoid creating different pages named “buy dog toys”, “dog toys” and “best dog toys” and create one named”Buy The Best Dog Toys Online.” You should note that less is much better when dealing with SEO.  Concentrating on less pages will help you focus on making those pages great.  It will also help you compound the power and strength of the page instead of diluting it.

5. Make The User Experience Phenomenal

Your rankings are strongly determined by the user experience both on and off your site. The major performance indicators that you should be checking for your user experience are the bounce rate, time spent on site and page views per visit among others. On the other hand looking at the off-site, the main KPI to check on is SERP click through rate.  If the users are not spending time on your website then, your website is probably not valuable. If the users do not value your website, then Google won’t value it either. This translates to struggles with your rankings.  The other issues concerning user experience that may affect your rankings include broken links, creepy redirects, too many ads, slow page load time and mobile optimization.

6. Create Amazing Content That Is Truly Valuable

If you do not write high-quality content on your site, then there is no reason for you to be ranked well. Content is the core of any successful business and it should be the backbone of every SEO campaign. If you truly want to get results from the search engines, you have to invest in making your digital strategy worthy.  High-quality content will keep users on your site for a longer period and this will translate to more sales. It will also increase your number of inbound links and social activity which presents to you more opportunities to build internal links.

7. Social Media For SEO Benefits

The other reason you may not be getting results is because you have the perception that the social media is not important.  Social is the major piece of the SEO puzzle in 2015 and it MUST be taken seriously. I have proved on various occasions that you can boost your rankings by using social signals and every campaign that we work on gets boosted once we focused on driving engagement across social channels.

8. Improve Your Brand Signals

Brand signals boost trust for your entity while giving it more legitimacy to Google. Building brand signals is basically about appearing everywhere and spreading your value across multiple platforms. If you have a good blog, then you should be instating new meaning to the content and spreading it across many social platforms.  People are discovering information all across the web.  You need to be engaging with these different pockets of consumers on their platform of choice.

9. Improving The Quality Of Your Link Profile

If you are good on the points I have mentioned above, then there is a possibility that the problem is with your link profile. At the moment, the value of links has decreased significantly but they are still the strongest ranking determinant. The quality of your links is described differently depending on whether your target is with the local or national keywords.  For the local SEO campaigns, the quality links will be got from the Geo-specific websites.  For the national campaigns, the quality is defined by the relevancy and authority of the links.

10. Velocity Of Link Acquisition

For any site, especially the new ones, the speed at which you build links is very vital. Google is suspicious of a large number of new links directing into a website. In most cases, you will see your rankings derailed when you introduce new links to your site, and this is known as the Google dance. However, if your links are good, then your rankings will be back and even better.  You should note that during the Google dance, its algorithm is based on vetting the speed of your links and determining if they match a natural link profile. If Google trusts your links, then you will recover your rankings.  This is why it is essential to know what you are doing if you are going to engage in a link building campaign.

11. Anchor Text Over Optimization

If you are good with all the above tests, you need to check your anchor text distribution. If you over optimize your anchor text, then you will kill your rankings, and you should try to under optimize them as much as possible.  An ideal way of doing it is by avoiding the use of strong exact match anchor text.  This applies to the super industries since exact match anchors signal Google that you are engaging in active building of links. Actively building links means that you are building links as opposed to getting them naturally. Not to mention, Google is getting better and better at understanding the meaning of phrases in regards to searchers intent.  If you do not have natural anchor text, you will stick out like a sore thumb and get smacked for it! Regardless of the method you are using to acquire links; you should ensure that it is as natural as possible.  The best way to do it is by getting relevant links and keeping your anchor text ratios balanced.

12. The Age Of Your Site

One thing many business owners do not understand is that there is a sandbox that Google puts newer websites into.  Think about it, ranking in Google is entirely about trust.  Just because you launched a site does not mean that you are worth of being listed (not to mention bumping someone else out of those listings)!  According to the tests we made, it lasts between three to six months averagely. If you go nuts with the links on a new website, then your rankings will probably suffer from the sandbox. In the first months of any new website’s lifetime, your ultimate focus should be on on-site optimization, building brand signals and content. This decreases the time you stay in the sandbox. When you start building links, ensure that you build the highest quality.

13. Name, Address, Phone Number Inconsistency

If you want to rank your website locally, then your NAP information needs to be fully consistent. Having a consistent NAP information is a very big factor in the local SERP’s.  With how involved Google is with Maps, they need to be providing accurate information and sending people in the right direction.  If you have information across the internet that displays inconsistent NAP information, Google is scared to list you.  They see you as less trustworthy and won’t include you in their search results. You should, therefore, take it very seriously and avoid building other citations until your NAP information is EXTREMELY clean.

14. Building Positive Reviews

Having bad reviews or zero reviews can have an effect on your local rankings. Again, this all comes down to trust.  When other people speak highly of you, (and when Google can find this information) it is going to help you build that trust with Google. It is a common belief among some SEO experts that there is a bad merchant algorithm that affects businesses that have bad reputations. This may not be entirely true, but you should avoid getting negative reviews and if you don’t do that, ensure the positive ones overshadow the negative ones.

15. Click Through Rate In Search Results

All the points above basically summarize all you need to know but, the overall SERP click through rate is very vital. This factor comes into the scope once your site is ranking for some keywords. Google measures the CTR of your branded searches, and this means that data collection begins very early.  If people are looking for your brand, and they are not clicking on your site at the same rate, then Google gets suspicious.  If this continues when you start to rank, your rankings will stagnate and start declining gradually. The reason behind this is that a low CTR indicates that your results are not quite relevant to the search question so there is no reason to continue displaying you in the results.

Final Thoughts

There are several (200+) ranking factors and determinants that Google puts into use to help determine organic results. There are ones that are largely impactive while others are not. The above fifteen factors that I have discussed are some of the main factors that I have met while working on several websites in different industries. These trends are very common, and if you properly check on these factors, your site will definitely rank well. I am sure that by now, you have clearly known what is the main reason your site is not ranking well.
That’s all for now. Do you have some questions? Leave me a comment below because I would love to discuss.

Talk to you in a second and thanks for reading!

About Sam Heyer

Sam Heyer is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and digital growth strategist. He launched his first software company to $1.3 million dollars in revenue in under 24 hours and has been growing companies ever since.