If you have a business and you’re promoting that business online, the main goal for most of us is to be ranking as high as possible on Google and the other search engines. So, why isn’t your website ranking and how do you rank higher starting right now?
You may be under the impression that you need to hire a company that specializes in SEO (search engine optimization) in order to reach your ranking goals.
We’re here to tell you, that’s not the case. There are several reasons you may not be seeing the high rank you want (and deserve!) on the SERPs (search engine result pages).
And there are some relatively simple tasks you can do yourself in order to get a higher website ranking. Today we’re going tell you all about how to rank higher on Google quickly and with very little tech know-how.
But first, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about what exactly SEO is.
What is SEO? And why is SEO important for your website?
If you don’t know much or anything about SEO, you’re already at a big disadvantage. Getting your company to show up at the top of the SERPs organically (not paying for it) is the goal.
SEO is a long-game process that when practiced correctly, gets your brand in front of the right customers (your target audience) and brings in the sales you’re looking for. This is done through high-quality content that increases the traffic to your website.
SEO focuses on using proven strategies and tactics to maximize the number of visitors to your website by positioning your website high on the list of organic results in Google and the other search engines.
Think about where you click after you type a question into Google? Do you go back several pages? Probably not. You may not even look below the third or fourth result. So, you want your website to rank high in those top spots.
Getting control over your online marketing campaign will allow you to get your brand noticed, improve your brand reputation, get more online visitors, have more sales, and move up on Google. Works for us!
One of the most common questions we get asked, is “Why isn’t my website ranking?”
So today we’re going over some of the most common problems we see, that hold websites back from holding tops spots on Google.
9 common reasons your website isn’t ranking as high in the search engines as you’d like
There are some things you should consider when you’re reviewing why your website isn’t ranking as high as you’d like on Google and the other search engines.
Below are some of the most common reasons your website isn’t ranking- and the easiest to conquer.
Reason 1: You’re using old-school SEO techniques that just don’t cut it anymore
Knowing what SEO is and how to use it, is obviously first and foremost.
However, maybe you knew how to use SEO in the past and it’s no longer working for you. That’s not all on you. Google is constantly updating its algorithms.
We know what you’re thinking: WHYYYY? Honestly, usually, it benefits you. So, don’t get too upset. But you do have to roll with their punches. You can find out all about Google’s SEO algorithm on their site.
But, be mindful that technology has evolved and will continue to do so. Google’s gotten smarter. SEO tactics that worked for you in the past might harm you in the present, so don’t use SEO strategies from 2010.
Not only do you stand the chance of getting penalized, but your website ranking will definitely suffer, while you waste your valuable time and energy. Follow the SEO best practices.
Oh, you’ve decided to go it alone and refuse to adhere to the SEO best practices? Hey, we like your I-don’t-need-no-help-from-no-one attitude. But, Google doesn’t.
Here’s a quick list of the basics:
- SEO-friendly URLs
- Proper meta tags and title page descriptions
- Keyword use
- Link building
- Optimized images
- Scannable content
If you see yourself losing rank, you can always head to Google to see if they’ve made some changes that you can quickly update.
Reason 2: You’ve lost sight of your audience
You’re not speaking to your audience? This is big. There are way too many tools out there for you to find out who your target is, and when and where to find them, so take full advantage of those!
Lack of precise customer clarity leads you down the rabbit hole of marketing to the wrong audience. Wasting money, energy, and time.
Figure out your buyer persona, people. A buyer persona, you ask? Basically, the representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data collected from your existing client base.
When creating a buyer persona, things to consider are customer demographics, behavior patterns, goals, income, motivations, etc. Being as detailed as possible will only help your cause.
When you talk to the right audience, you’re getting buyers. This is a win for your search results.
Reason 3: You’re trying to copy your competition
You’ve got some hefty competition and they keep outranking you, so you’ve decided to do exactly what they’re doing. Not gonna work.
“I’ve never seen a company become the best in their industry by copying what their competition is doing.” — Darcy Sullivan, Propel Marketing & Design.
When trying to find your voice, you may decide to do some competitive research. This is all well and good; however, the point should be to learn from them. The good, the bad, the ugly. Not to duplicate them.
Say you’re looking at your main competitor’s website for influence and you assume said website is effective, so you decide to take most of their ideas. You proceed to implement those ideas on your own website and then you launch it.
Later, you realize that your competitor’s website wasn’t, in fact, effective. And your competition has realized this, too and created a really great new website in its place.
You put way too much emphasis on mimicking a loser of a site, rather than putting the real work in and figuring out what will be best for you and your audience.
Yes, competitive research is important and can be very valuable, so it’s a must. But, copying another company is not only unethical, it can get you heavy search result penalties and contribute to loss of business.
Reason 4: You’re suffering from keyword chaos
Keywords are words and phrases in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site through search engines.
If you’re not using a keyword on your website, it’s going to make it more difficult for Google to rank you for that keyword.
This means it’s imperative that you clearly define your keywords and in doing so, you take care that said keywords aren’t overly competitive.
Beginners to SEO often want to grab the target keywords that get the most search volume, but that’s not usually the best call. Make sure you’re choosing keywords that you’ll actually rank for.
Competitive keywords can cost you a lot, too, so start small when you’re a newbie. You can go after those competitive keywords after your website has had time to grow.
Like with many SEO strategies, keyword help is only a click away with several tools that will provide insight, many free. So, again, take advantage. Your competition most likely is.
Reason 5: You’re having technical difficulties
Nothing gets us madder than technical difficulties, we hear your groans. That said, many times, it’s a pretty easy fix.
Some of the most popular technical difficulties:
- Your website isn’t mobile friendly: Not allowed in today’s world, so take care of this fast. Contact your website host and optimize for mobile. It can be as easy as the click of a button. You may have to make some minor tweaks, but with nearly half of the searches taking place on a mobile device, you need to be sure you’re there and working up to speed.
- Your website isn’t secure: Everyone wants to make sure they’re info is kept private, so you need to make sure your domain is a safe one. Again, contact your host and make it happen- it’s fast and easy.
- Your website is slow: People want their things, and they want them now. Optimizing your web pages so you can offer the very best in speed is key to a low bounce rate.
- You’re page is getting a 404: Uh-oh. Your page can’t be found. If you’ve moved one of your web pages, be sure you’ve redirected the old URL to the new one so your users can find you.
- Your website has been hacked: Well, this isn’t good. Depending on the exact issue, your course of action may be painless, or it may be pretty messy. Get in touch immediately with your host so you can figure out how to handle this with efficiency.
- You have an unreliable hosting company: You know that old saying: you get what you pay for. That applies to your hosting company, too. We’re all for saving money where you can, but your hosting company is not a place you can. Do your research and make sure you have a host that can support what you need.
Reason 6: Your website doesn’t provide a good UX (user experience)
User experience is crazy-important these days. Most companies have some sort of online presence and if your competition has a well-oiled and fine-tuned website, and you don’t, you’ve lost buyers- no matter what.
Meaning, even if your company provides the same item as your competitor for less money and better quality, the odds of someone staying on your site to find that out are very slim
You need to make sure your website is optimized to the fullest so your users stay on your site. That means staying on top of your page load times, making sure content is displayed accurately, having easy to navigate pages and CTAs, providing scannable content, etc.
Asking friends and family to review your pages before you push them live is always a great place to start.
But, understand that when you update your pages, you may be killing your UX, so it’s important to always stay on top of how your pages perform and make the appropriate accommodations when necessary.
Reason 7: You lack comprehensive original content
We preach about this a lot, but the key to your SEO success is having excellent content. Without it, none of the other stuff matters.
Provide smart, thoughtful, original, relative content, and you’ll find yourself with excellent traffic, new buyers, returning buyers, and credibility with the search engines.
Google crawls for content and knows whether it’s good or not, so stay on target and offer craveable content to your users. Creating unique experiences with your content will signify that you’re a valuable resource in your industry.
The more users coming to you for their information, the more the search engines will validate your website. Remember that quality of content will always beat out quantity of content.
Reason 8: You have bad citation errors
You’ve created all of your online profiles and added yourself to all of the important online directories. Great. Then you relocated and you didn’t update your existing information. Not great.
Your NAP is vital.
These need to be the same across the board, throughout the world wide web. So, be sure to update as needed.
Your business doesn’t look genuine if your most relevant contact information isn’t congruent.
Reason 9: You don’t have enough quality backlinks
It’s crucial to your successful SEO campaign to have your backlink game on point. A backlink is an incoming link to your webpage. When another website links to you, you get major credit from the search engines.
Link building is a great way to get your brand in front of new users and when done right, the search engines will offer you some higher rank.
Building backlinks is done in a variety of methods. There are some agencies that offer the service of getting your business backlinks, but there are also more organic approaches.
Reaching out to other brands and building an honest relationship with them is a great way to gain some backlinks. Even teaming up with your competition in some cases, can pay off.
Say you offer something they don’t and vice versa, you may be able to work with them on certain aspects of your business and generate some credible backlinks for each other.
Just stay ethical, Google has a way of finding out whether your link building efforts are legit. And even if it couldn’t, no one wants to be seen as unethical- it’s just bad business practice.
Improve your website rankings with SEO
So, as you now know, you can help your website ranking significantly without major updates to your webpages. Some of the items above may seem technical and difficult, but if you have a bit of time and patience, you can walk yourself through all of them.
Utilizing this list will be an effective start to gaining higher ranking and momentum on the SERPs.