Every month, people conduct between 40-60 billion searches on Google. Of those billions of searches, 46 percent had local intent. Furthermore, 91 percent of adults find information using search engines.
When it comes down to it, your small business website needs to surface on Google search result pages (SERPs). In an increasingly digital world, where people rely on the information they find from Google search queries, a prominent position on SERPs ensures a steady flow of customers coming your way.
Having a comprehensive website isn’t enough for local businesses. To continue generating new business while engaging existing or former customers, your website needs to surface on Google, preferably on the front page. But that’s much easier said than done.
If you’ve been struggling to get your website in Google’s good graces but can’t seem to break into the top listings for certain keywords or search terms, it’s time to start troubleshooting. Here are eight reasons your site likely isn’t showing up on Google and what you can do to give it the boost it needs.
1. Your site or content is too new
While it seems like things happen instantaneously online, that’s not always the case. If you recently launched a website for your company, be patient as Google crawls, indexes and ranks your website. In this case, the best thing you can do is be patient as the Googlebot does its thing and works through processing your site.
The same goes for recent updates you might’ve made. While Google is quick to crawl and index new pages, it’ll take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for them to show up in a competitive sense. Don’t be disheartened if it seems like your hard work led to no change! Check back in a week to see where you rank when the construction dust settles on your site.
2. You changed your website host or migrated to another CMS
It’s not uncommon for businesses to change the host they use for their websites. As content management systems (CMS) upgrade their tools, business owners might decide to move from one platform to another. Both of these processes cause search problems with Google when performed incorrectly.
Moving to a new host or CMS requires a lot of detailed work in your site’s back end. Get in touch with your web developer to ask him/her to look into errors causing Google to ignore your site. The first place the developer should start is redirects. If the site doesn’t correctly redirect, your efforts to appease Google will yield no results. Get familiar with 301 redirects and make sure your links lead to the right place.
3. Google can’t index your site
Sometimes during the development portion of building your website, a “noindex” meta robot tag ends up in the code. When looking at the source code for your website, you’ll want to look for <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>. If you find this in your source code, you’ll need to remove it to allow Google to crawl, index and rank your site. While “noindex” does serve a purpose, it’s not something you want to see when you’re trying to rank.
4. You’ve blocked crawlers from your website
CMS platforms like WordPress, unfortunately, make it all too easy to block crawlers on your website. There’s a Search Engine Visibility setting in the WordPress backend that automatically sets to Discourage search engines from indexing this site when using this platform to build a new website.
5. Your page speed or page load time is too slow
Consider how frustrated you become when a site takes too long to load. Google developers know that people don’t want to spend too much time waiting for a webpage to populate the browser. They incorporated this into the algorithm. Google downgrades sites with slow page speeds and load times. You should run a speed test on your site to determine the cause of the sluggishness, then make necessary adjustments.
6. Your content doesn’t meet Google’s quality standards
The worldwide conglomerate regularly updates its search engine algorithm to surface content that better meets users’ needs. For small business owners with websites, that means publishing high-quality, unique content that organically incorporates keywords and backlinks. Work with a content marketing expert or agency to create a content marketing strategy for your website.
7. It takes too many clicks to get to relevant content
When a user arrives on their homepage, it should take no more than four clicks to find relevant information. If the click depth is higher than that, you need to restructure your website’s framework. You can also find ways to link to this deep content on more prominent pages of your site.
8. Your content doesn’t match search intent
Incorporating keywords into your website content must be done strategically. If you’re adding high-ranking keywords or phrases just to generate traffic, Google catches on pretty quickly and lowers your rank without hesitation. When Google thinks you’re trying to outsmart their system, they’ll take immediate action to downgrade your overall presence on their SERPs. To fix this issue, you need to audit your website content and find the appropriate keywords for all pages and blog posts.
Audit your site regularly
While there’s other reasons your website doesn’t appear on Google SERPs, these are the eight primary reasons. Unless you’re a content marketing or web development expert, fixing these issues might be outside your wheelhouse. In that case, you need to find an agency that can increase your Google visibility and create content that appeases the search engine for years to come. It’s an investment in your business that you can’t overlook if you want to stay in business for years to come.