When you search for your site does it not show up anywhere? To put it nicely, that can really be a real letdown. It’s like getting dressed up for a show, driving 2 hours to get there and finding out you left your tickets at home.
Let’s explore some of the reasons why your site might not be showing up anywhere.
1. Google has punished it
I highly doubt this is the case, but it should at least be mentioned. Has it been banned? Let’s check. Google your site name. Does it show up? If not it may have been banned. It could be banned for a number of reasons such as plagiarism and spammy tricks to gain more traffic.
Google Search Console will leave you a message if your site has been penalized.
2. Not enough content
I don’t mean your posts are not long enough, I mean you don’t have enough posts. Of course, your posts may be too short as well. A decent guideline is to shoot for 300 or so words. If you want to write more than that try to break up your content with topic headers, and images. A website with only a few pages will have a tougher time ranking than one with hundreds of pages.
3. Doesn’t answer any questions
If your site simply promotes your product or service without answering questions that potential customers might have, that could be why it is not ranking as well as it should. Inbound marketing is all about solving your customer’s needs. If they want to know how to keep their lawn from turning brown during the summer, then your content about where your products are manufactured don’t really help. You first need to address their questions, then start worrying about whether or not you should explain where your product is made.
4. Not a tight enough niche
Is your blog about something in particular, or is it more of a journal record of your daily adventures? I have a tendency to do that too. My photography site was about all the areas of photography that interested me and also my political and religious views. I was all over the place. Now my photography site is only about sunflowers. I go into more detail on narrow niches here.
5. Titles are too vague or boring
When people search for something the first thing they are going to see are the titles of all the sites that matched their search. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen ‘Home’ for a title. Try being more creative. Capture the attention of the searcher. Make them curious. Encourage them to click. Do that while being relevant to the content on the page. More on titles and how they can help.
6. Content is not spread out enough
People don’t want to read long paragraphs of text to get the answer they are looking for. Seriously. If they click on a site and see massive amounts of text, they will click the heck out of there immediately like a guy accidentally walking into the wrong bathroom.
7. Not mobile responsive
Not just more and more people are searching using mobile, but more people are searching on mobile than they are on a desktop. I may be sitting at home at my computer, but most people are not. They are out and about on their devices. If your site isn’t mobile ready you are losing customers.
8. Site is too spammy
Are you stuffing keywords on your site hoping that works? Search engines are smart enough to tell whether or not your site reads like normally. If you are stuffing it full of keywords they will penalize you.
9. Too many ads
If you have an ad or two on your site because it is a helpful product and is related to your content, then okay. If you have ads on your site just because you want to make a buck…. If you place them on your site hoping people will think they are the site’s content and not an ad…. Google will likely penalize you. If not Google, your viewers will stop visiting your site. And if they could tell you how annoying that is, trust me, they would let you have it!
10. Too many or not enough links
A link is not just something you put in your menu. It is a good practice to link to relevant and helpful content on your page. As you are explaining something you can link to posts or products that help explain that something. Don’t over do it though. A link or two per page should suffice. It is also a good idea link to a reputable source that is not your site for credibility sake.
11. It doesn’t target your local community
A common way to get lost in the sea of search results is to not target your local area. What good is it to advertise your local gym, car dealership or bank in New York when your business is in Spokane? Do you expect a lot of New Yorkers to visit your gym? Check your local SEO and make sure it is running on all cylinders.
12. No on-page SEO
Lastly, a lot of sites are never found because they on-page SEO is nonexistent or otherwise pure crap. All of what I am talking about is SEO or digital marketing, but what I am talking about here, specifically, is the code on the site itself.
- Do you have alt tags for your images?
- Are they relevant alt tags?
- Are the image file names relevant?
- Are you using captions on your images?
- Is your content surrounding the images relevant to the image and vice versa?
That is on-page SEO for your images. You have on-page SEO to check on a number of things no doubt. Here is a post on everything you need to know about on-page SEO. Check it out and make sure your site is tuned up and ready to go.
You are almost done. If you use Google Search Console, and you should, fetch your site again and then have Google re-index it. You should see a difference in how your site performs soon. I would give it three days to start showing improvements. But remember your job to market your site is an ongoing on. You have to continue writing good and helpful posts, publish the posts and analyze how you are doing. Over time you will see more and more traffic coming to your site.
I will leave you to it now. Have fun!
Author: Timothy Eberly
Timothy is a web design and graphic artist that has been working in the business for over 20 years and has designed and built thousands of websites including one for a major ad firm in Spokane. In addition to graphic design and web development he also worked as a photographer on several films made in the Spokane area. You can connect with him on facebook and Google+.