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Top Reasons Your Website Is Not Ranking

Website owners across Auckland dream of their website appearing on the coveted first page of Google, where 40,000 search queries are conducted every second.

It’s likely you have the same wish.

As a result, you probably invested a significant amount in your website to make it look great. You may have even engaged the services of an SEO agency Auckland.

Despite these efforts, you may still be asking: “why isn’t my website ranking?”.

It’s frustrating when your website appears lower than your competitors on search results pages as you know you are losing potential customers. After all, websites that appear on the first page get almost all the traffic, with the greatest proportion of traffic going to those at the top.

Below you will find the top five reasons that prevent a website from ranking well in Google search. Identifying where your problems are and then resolving them will mean you can leave your frustrations behind.

Reason 1: Fierce Competition

Over 3.5 billion Google searches are made each day with website owners working hard to get to the front page of search results that are relevant to them. With so many websites using every trick available to compete for the attention of readers, it is often difficult to achieve a solid rank.

While true, the above paragraph is a broad generalisation. In fact, the level of difficulty you face ranking on Google depends on the niche you operate in. For example, it is probably far easier for a blogger writing about miniature figurines to rank well than it is for a blogger writing about rugby or movies.

This is because the more popular the subject, the more content there will be available. If you are a blogger writing on a popular subject or a local business operating with a lot of competitors, it will naturally be more difficult for you to rank highly.

If you’re going up against fierce competition, you will need to operate with a rigorous SEO Auckland strategy to find success.

Reason 2: Poor Long-Tail Keyword Strategy

The most popular and most general search terms usually return results from the largest and most well-established websites.

For example, an iPhone owner doing a search for “iPhone screen” will probably see search results from Apple’s website as well as the websites of major national and online retailers.

However, a user with a cracked iPhone screen searching for “iPhone screen repair in Mount Albert” will see results from local businesses offering iPhone screen repair. In other words, these businesses should target their SEO efforts at keywords like “iPhone screen repair in Mount Albert” rather than more general terms.

This example demonstrates how websites should focus on developing a strong long-tail keyword strategy. This means optimising for keywords with a low SEO difficulty. With this strategy, your website will see a boost in traffic that comes from searches that are more specific.

Reason 3: On-Page Optimisation

Search engines rely on crawlers to categorise and rank pages. Those crawlers look at important meta information and the structure of pages to determine what the page is about and confirm it is of an appropriate level of quality.

There are essential steps that every website owner must take when it comes to on-page optimisation.

Luckily, there is a lot of advice and guidance available. With over five million installations, Yoast SEO is the world’s most popular WordPress SEO plugin and can help website owners make sure they’re ticking all the on-page optimisation boxes, including (but not limited to):

  • Keywords used correctly in titles, descriptions, and URLs
  • Pages are the optimal length and structured efficiently
  • Alt tags are used properly
  • Sentences are the right length
  • Text uses an active rather than a passive voice

Thinking properly about on-page optimisation is an important step to improving your ranking and boosting your traffic.

Reason 4: Black Hat Practices

Google and other search engines use complex algorithms that constantly evolve.

SEO professionals try to keep up with these changes, regularly monitoring which techniques achieve results and which ones are outdated. You can find a register of all the announced algorithm changes on moz.com, where you can see the regularity of updates.

Working according to accepted SEO best practice, taking note of algorithm changes, and following Google’s rules, is often referred to as White Hat SEO.

In an effort to get traffic, however, some website owners (or others working on their behalf) turn to Black Hat SEO. Black Hat SEO involves using techniques that break Google’s rules to get to the top of search results pages as fast as possible.

Google and other search engines are increasingly effective at fighting back against these techniques. That said, there are still some who persist in using Black Hat techniques.

The stakes are high: domains caught using Black Hat techniques can see their ranking diminished or they can even be blacklisted entirely.

If you haven’t actively engaged in these techniques your website should be fine. If you have used them in the past, or someone else has used them on your website, this could be another reason it is not ranking.

Reason 5: Poor Technical Optimisation

The content found on your website isn’t the only ranking factor as the structure and technical performance of your website is becoming more important.

In November 2016, mobile traffic officially overtook desktop traffic for the first time. It is still becoming more and more common for audiences to turn to mobile devices, and those users expect a speedy and smooth experience, regardless of the device they choose.

In response to this, Google announced in January 2018 that the loading speed of mobile websites would factor into the ordering of search results. Mobile-first indexing has arrived too, which means Google uses the mobile version of websites to index and rank pages.

Therefore, ensuring your website loads fast on mobile has never been more important. So, poor technical optimisation could be the reason your website is not ranking.

In fact, you can use Google’s Test My Site tool to get an idea of how your website performs on mobile.

This tool reveals how many seconds your website takes to load and how this impacts the percentage of visitors you stand to lose.

Bring It All Together

Any of these factors could be the reason your website is not ranking, if not a combination of multiple ones.

Conducting an accurate and thorough audit of your website according to the points above should help when it comes to ensuring your website ranks as highly as possible on Google.