Why Isn’t My Website Showing Up On Google?

Showing up at the top of the search engine results, especially Google, is something all businesses desire. SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing) have become important aspects of marketing as everyone vies for the top placement.

While there are many factors involved (see below) here are some of the things I suggest first since other factors, like time, are harder control.

  • Content—Yoast’s SEO plugin says the recommendation for each page is a minimum of 300 words and many SEO experts encourage at least triple that number. But don’t just add fluff to fill your word count. Quality content that is helpful and valuable to your site visitors is critical. You have to see what sites are out ranking you and how you can create better content.
  • Page load time—there are many factors that can affect this from the hosting company, to the file size of the images on the site, or number of plugins used. The main takeaway for most site owners is optimize image size before uploading it and make sure whoever creates your website understands these factors.
  • Use images properly—images are powerful in many ways. They make the page more appealing to visitors and help communicate your messaging. Adding the alt tags and file names that describe the images help search engines know what the page is about. In addition to making links shared on social media more appealing, images can also show up in certain search results too. You also need to watch the file sizes as mentioned above.
  • Use keywords in your copy—the focus keyword(s) for a page should be used in heading tags, page titles, page URL, in the beginning of the copy, throughout the copy, as image alt tags, in the meta description, etc. But done appropriately. You never want to keyword stuff. The goal is to make it clear to your prospects/clients what the page is about as well as the search engines.
  • Quality links—you need 2 kinds of links: inbound and outbound. Both should be with quality pages that are related to your page/business. It’s easier to include outbound links in your copy. It takes more work to get other sites to link to you, but this probably has a higher impact because it’s harder to achieve. Quality content is also helpful in getting quality links to your site.
  • Mobile friendly sites—while you want a mobile friendly site for your prospects and customers ease of use, this is also something Google considers important too.
  • Original content—it’s important to have original content, meaning don’t copy and paste text from other sites to use on yours. Or even copy and paste text onto multiple pages on your site. Each page should have value to the audience.
  • Avoid hackers—if your site gets hacked, not only will you stop showing up in the search results once the search engines find out, but it can affect your rankings long term too.  Learn more about keeping your site secure.
  • Write blog posts—for most small businesses a blog now means a collection of articles or tips or news showing casing your expertise. There are several benefits of blogs. One they mean adding new and fresh content which is seen as a good thing. It also gives your site more content as well as having content that’s more likely to get shared or linked to.
  • Moderation is key—things are constantly changing and the most important factor will always be focusing on what’s best for your site visitors. After all that’s the goal of the search algorithms. They want to give their users good results.  If you overdo any of these techniques the search engines will notice and penalize your site.

I found a terrific article on the Backlinko site that lists 205 factors that are probably* involved in Google’s algorithm. Of course, the actual algorithm is very top secret and as the articles author, Brian Dean, states, some of these factors are proven, controversial or just plain SEO nerd speculation. But they give you a good idea of how complex SEO really is.

I thought it would be helpful to get a category breakout to see how many factors are involved in each category listed by Dean. It is VERY important to note that each of the 205 factors on his list are not equal in weight. There are some things that Google and the other search engines give more weight to in their formula. And Google is known for changing their algorithm frequently. At least several times a year, and sometimes several times a month.

Number of Factors Per Category (according to this Backlinko article)

Percent of factors by category-for google ranking based on Backlinko article

As you can see, there are 10 categories total and 2 of those categories, page-level factors and backlink factors, have more than double the factors than the rest which all have similar number of factors. This doesn’t mean that you should put more emphasis on the largest categories, because it doesn’t account for which factors are given more weight. What it does it help you see how there are many factors and areas to focus on if you want your website to show up on the first page of Google (or Bing or Yahoo) for any given search terms.

Another source with a long list of factors is Northcutt, it even notes which factors are probably, likely, concrete, etc.

The Complexity of Ranking Highly on Google

There are a lot of different areas you can focus on. Within each area, some of the strategies can also be complex too. Here’s a great case study showing what some brands have done to ensure their highly ranking page. You don’t have to go to this extreme with every blog post you write or even at all for your niche, but know that in some markets, it may be needed.