Okay, you’ve just launched a website or officially submitted an updated one for Google to rank. So far, so good. But then you realize your website isn’t ranking as expected. So, now what? Before you start to panic and think about all of the ways your ROI could be quickly diminishing, take a deep breath and consider the following factors that can affect website ranking.
Just because you have everything in place SEO-wise doesn’t mean you’ll see immediate results with your website optimization efforts. This is especially true if you don’t have an existing high brand visibility to rely on. What you can do as you wait for results to improve, is customize your Google Analytics reports so you can keep an eye on the stats that matter most to you. Doing so can also allow you to spot signs of improvement as the weeks and months go by.
Google considers more than just the appearance of your website when determining how to rank it. Even with great Website design, there may be some SEO-related issues with your site that could be keeping it from being all it can be. Possible issues include:
• Duplicate content, or lack of fresh, relevant content
• Content that’s difficult to digest (e.g., not broken down into small paragraphs, too much text, no descriptive headers/subheads)
• Difficult navigation features
• Insufficient or incorrect use of meta data, HTML tags, and schema markup
Not all links aimed back at your website will be good ones. It’s entirely possible for scammers to find weak spots within your website’s technical set-up so they can put poor quality links on it. Other times, your website may be randomly targeted by malicious code. This is why you need to go beyond your website’s cosmetic appearance and regularly check backlink quality and make sure your code is up to acceptable Google standards.
All it takes is a Manual Action penalty from Google for your site to disappear from search engine results pages. The most obvious sign this may have happened is having a site that was ranking fairly well before suddenly tanking. You can also check your Google Manual Actions report to confirm this problem and see any specific issues you may need to correct. Possible reasons for a manual action penalty include:
• Hidden malicious content has been placed on your website
• Spam comments are on your site (usually in your blog section)
• Structured markup is outside of Google guidelines
• Thin or irrelevant website content
• Manipulative use of images to get more clicks
• Keyword stuffing or hidden text
No matter how wonderful your website is, it won’t produce the desired results without some outside help. This is where off-site or off-page SEO, referring to the things you do outside of your website that bring visitors to it, comes into play. Your website will serve your brand better if it’s the heart of a solid online marketing strategy that also includes:
• Paid ads with links pointing back to relevant landing pages on your site
• Social media and blog activity
• Backlinks from trusted websites
• Strategic email campaigns that include links to related webpages
Lastly, don’t forget about your competitors. If everything else is in line, it could be things your competitors are doing that are affecting your site’s ranking. An easy way to figure out if this may be the case is to act like a typical searcher and look up your various competitors. Visit their websites and make a mental note of things that stand out in a good way and things you may be able to do better on your own site.
If you need some additional help figuring out why your website isn’t ranking, turn to the team from Create Web Studios. We provide a full range of Web design and online marketing services involving SEO, social media, content marketing, and other techniques and tactics necessary to achieve meaningful results.
Contact us today to learn more about our services and what we can do to help you succeed.