5 Reasons your website isn't ranking

These days, most people building websites do so with a keen eye on SEO. Webmasters and business owners know that in order to be successful and rank highly in the search engine results pages, their sites need to be well built, well designed and fully optimised. 

Sometimes, however, even these measures won’t guarantee you online success. Even the most SEO friendly sites can fail to attract visitors, leaving all singing, all dancing web pages languishing forlornly on page two, three, four or even lower on the search engine results listings. If you’ve recently built a site but you aren’t seeing the results you want, there could be a number of reasons for your under performance. Keep reading to find out about the five most common reasons behind a lack of SEO success.

1. Competition 

One of the main reasons your website may not be ranking highly is fierce online competition in your industry. If one, or more, of your competitors has been active online for a long time, they’ve probably established a well-rounded link profile and strong content, which means they will usually be in prime positions in the rankings.

The stiffer the competition you face in your industry, the stronger your website would need to be in order to rank on the first page for the most sort after keywords. Rather than trying to compete with larger companies and established names for common industry search terms, try to get an online edge by opting for long tail keywords instead. Use geographic names or specific terms to try and corner your local market or industry niche, researching relevant keywords before embarking on an online blitz. 

2. Lack of optimisation 

Your poor online performance could simply come down to a lack of proper on-page SEO. If you haven’t taken care of essential SEO elements, the search engines won’t be able to identify what your site is about and may not be able to decide if your URL is trustworthy. 

To ensure your website performs as well as possible with the search engines, go back to basics and ensure all of the main SEO elements are in place. Check to ensure your page titles, title tags, meta descriptions, image tags and other on-page optimisations are as full and as complete as possible. Create an XML sitemap so that Google can easily index your site and check that your content is relevant to your chosen keywords.

3. Not enough content 

Thin content is another common cause of poor page rankings. If your site is low on content, it may not contain enough information for the search engines to properly assess it. In general, sites that are content-rich perform better with Google and other search engines, especially if that content is well written, relevant and trustworthy. 

Though bulking out a website takes a little time, it’s relatively easy to do. Spend a few hours adding descriptions, images and links to your site to help inform the search engines and give site visitors a better idea of what your pages are about. The more informative and interesting you make your content, the more useful visitors will find it and the more likely they’ll be to explore your site, link to your page and use your services. This is a good way to improve SEO and organically boost your page ranking, building a solid customer base as you go. 

Adding a blog to a site can also help to boost its performance. Update with high quality content on a weekly basis, adding image titles, headings and links to each post to make it as SEO friendly as possible. Include relevant keywords in your blogs, titles and headings to boost your SEO even further. 

4. Poor link building 

Link building has always been important for SEO, search engines view incoming links as a sign of approval and trustworthiness, a sort of digital word of mouth recommendation. Links from relevant, authoritative sites are seen as especially trustworthy and carry a lot of weight with the search engines. Build links with other businesses by including outbound links in your blog and ask related businesses to do the same for you. 

Links from social media sites can also be very beneficial. So try to promote any special offers, new blogs or new products you have on Twitter, Facebook and other relevant sits to encourage users to link to your page. 

5. Black Hat SEO 

When search engines first hit the web, people in charge of building websites used a number of tactics to artificially boost their pages up the search engine results page. Known as ‘Black Hat SEO’, these techniques are now likely to result in a website being removed from the results pages altogether. 

Black hat SEO techniques include: 

Keyword stuffing - This usually involves having pages full of poor quality 'spun' content which is stuffed with keywords, but delivers very little in terms of value to the reader.
Cloaking - Presenting different content to users and search engines.
Spam links - Acquiring a vast amount of links from poor quality sites, often containing links with the same anchor text.

If your site is not being displayed in the search results, or has recently dropped right down the rankings, it may well already be due to a penalty for one or more of the above.

If you’ve put a significant amount of time and effort into creating your website, seeing it under perform week after week can be very frustrating. Once you’ve taken steps to correct any thin content, poor on-page SEO or black hat techniques, you should begin to see your page rise slowly in the rankings and, as a result, see more visitors land on your page, giving your business the online presence it deserves, and a real chance of digital success.