Lots of businesses struggle with displaying where they’d like to on Google Search results. It’s fantastic and exciting when you get a new website, but if nobody can find it then it’s almost a waste of your hard-earned cash. So let’s make it clear, just because you have a website, that doesn’t automatically qualify you for the top spot. You might automatically rank for your brand name (hopefully but even this isn’t guaranteed) but ranking for anything else takes more. There can be lots of reasons why your website doesn’t rank for the keywords you want, or why it doesn’t rank at all.
In my opinion, asking ‘Why doesn’t my website rank on Google?’ actually is the wrong question to be asking. The question should be ‘Why SHOULD I rank on Google?’
You should think of the search results page like a job interview. Your website is your CV and Google is the interviewer. Google will look at your website for the qualities it seems relevant and displays accordingly. Every keyword you want to rank for should have a reason to be chosen by Google for their results page. So what is Google looking for?
Every page on your website should have a heading with a desired keyword in it. A heading isn’t just a big piece of text, it should be wrapped in a heading tag which in your code this looks like this <h1> Heading <\h1>. There are levels of headings, an H1 is your most important one, then H2 less important right down to H6 which is least important. Often, headings come pre-styled and it is a common mistake to use them for style e.g. to make that piece of text bigger. Google doesn’t really get that, so it’s best to use them for their intended purpose, as a heading to tell Google what your page is about.
Each one of your pages has what we call meta tags. Google can read these to decide what your page is about. You’ll have a meta title, this should be a clear statement of what your page is about. You’ll also have a meta description which is a short sentence or two explaining what the site is about, having a description doesn’t automatically increase your rank but it does increase the number of clicks you’re likely to get, and the more clicks, the more Google thinks your page is relevant. These tags display on the search results page and look like this:
Google can see what URL your page is on and uses this as a reference. With this in mind, try to get the most important keyword for your page in it. A webpage with a URL like test.com/hsozu58dndo5us means nothing, whereas test.com/seo indicates your page might be about SEO, makes sense right?
Your website copy should tell your users and Google what your website is about, in language that your users understand. Make sure your keywords are in your copy but don’t stuff them in. They should be in no more than 4% of your text. Also, when you do you your keyword research, try to think what keywords your customers would use rather than what you would use as an industry professional.
You’ll need to update the content on your website regularly. Many businesses decide that blogging is a good way they can commit to this goal. Google loves to see change, it especially loves to see your website growing. Blogging about things that searchers are searching for can really boost you up through the search results page.
Speed is an important ranking factor because nobody likes a slow website, Google included. Get your website optimised to be as fast as it can be. This will improve your user’s experience and help you rank better. Anything over 3 seconds is considered slow, humans are impatient! You can test your website speed on this website.
The hardest but one of the most important ranking factors for Google is backlinks. What’s a backlink? A backlink is any referral to your website from another website. Going back to our interview analogy, it’s like a reference or review. The more people who link to your website, the more Google thinks it is great content and so up the results page you go. This isn’t a race of quantity however, your backlinks must be quality ones. Yes, you can buy backlinks but they won’t provide you with any value and you will mostly find yourself on the Google naughty list, coming back from that is like crawling out of hell so basically, don’t do it. Gaining valuable backlinks is hard, time-consuming and frustrating but worth the effort.
Get listed on Google My Business
Listing on Google my Business really helps push your business in front of searchers especially locally. It gives you a special box on the search page on the right-hand side and all your contact details are in there making it easier for users to contact you.
SEO can be a minefield, and it’s important to realise that it isn’t a sprint, it’s definitely a marathon. It can take months for your hard work to finally start paying off but don’t be discouraged. It’s not a magic formula or something which is a dark art, SEO, for the most part, is a strategy of regular updates to your site combined with outreach for your business.
If you’re stuck with your SEO, we can offer you an SEO audit so that you know where to start.