As experts in search engine optimisation (SEO), we work daily on websites to ensure they rank on Google’s search engine. There are various tactics involved in making websites visible to your target audience and bring in organic traffic. However, sometimes, unpredicted things can happen leading to your website not showing on Google.
It is something we have encountered before, and there are various reasons why this would be the case. If you’re wondering why your website isn’t showing on Google, let us explain why.
1. Your website isn’t indexed yet
Launching your website is the result of lots of hard work and is a relief to all at the end of the project. This means you’re ready to be seen on search engines, however, you shouldn’t expect to see your site appearing on Google search results straight away.
It can take up to a week for your website to show up in search results and start ranking. This is because your website is so new, it likely doesn’t have any inbound links just yet. It’s easy to check if your website is on Google, by running a search on this: site:yourwebsite.co.uk.
If one result appears, then Google knows about your website. If there isn’t a result, this means the site hasn’t been indexed yet. Even if your website is known to Google, there could be a specific page you want to rank that isn’t. You can check this by searching for site: yourwebsite.co.uk/a-page-you-want-to-show-up-in-google/
One result should be displayed. If there are no results, then you need to create a sitemap – something you should do anyway as good SEO practice. A sitemap tells Google which pages on your website are most important and how it can find them. This could speed up Google’s discovery process, allowing for pages to index faster.
You can submit your sitemap using Google Search Console by following this path: Search Console > Sitemaps > Enter sitemap URL > Submit.
2. You have “NoIndex” tags
Noindex tags tell Google which pages you don’t want to appear in search engines. No page with that tag will appear in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), even if you have included the page in your sitemap. While creating your site, you may have accidentally selected to “noindex” pages, which is easily done on CMS such as WordPress.
If Google has already crawled the pages on your site, it will inform you of which pages have a “noindex” tag on them in Search Console. If it hasn’t, SEO tools such as Ahrefs and Screaming Frog can identify which pages have those tags attached to them. With this information, you can remove the tags from pages you wish to appear on Google search results.
3. Your website cannot be crawled by search engines
The majority of websites have a robots.txt file which instructs search engines where they can and cannot go on websites.
Google can’t crawl URLs which have been blocked in your robots.txt file, which leads to them not appearing in search results. If you have already submitted your sitemap to Search Console, it should alert you of any issues. This can be found in the “Coverage” report where you can see “Submitted URL blocked by robots.txt” errors.
It’s possible Google hasn’t crawled your site yet, but you can do it manually if you want to be quicker. Head to yourdomain.com/robots.txt and it will give you a file featuring various bits of code. What you don’t want to see is:
Under both user-agents:
This is because it blocks Google from crawling all pages on your site. It’s also vital that you don’t see a “disallow” directive under any important content you want to rank. The directive Disallow: /blog/ stops all your blog posts from being crawled.
You should remove any directives that are stopping valuable content being crawled by websites.
4. You’re targeting the wrong keywords
As search engines help millions of users across the globe, people are searching for many things online to find content, products and services that match their needs.
With billions of websites out there, certain keywords could be too competitive for you. You should look to target keywords in your sector that give you a better chance of ranking and increasing your visibility.
However, you must balance this by not targeting irrelevant keywords. While it might be easier to rank for irrelevant keywords or phrases with no search volume, that isn’t going to make your business profitable.
By working with an SEO agency, they will have access to the right tools that determine the best keywords to target as part of your digital marketing strategy. With professional keyword research, you can start to rank higher!
5. Your website lacks authority
PageRank is a Google algorithm that counts the amount of quality backlinks and internal links you have. If you’re a new site, you will score low on this front. Tools such as Ahrefs allow you to find out the authority score of URLs within your site and compare them to competitors.
If your competitor is scoring higher than you, then you must:
- Build quality backlinks
- Add more internal links throughout your site
It can be tough to build quality backlinks, so it’s best to start with your internal link structure.
6. Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is where the same or similar web page content appears on two different accessible URLs. Google won’t index a duplicate piece of content as it takes up space in the index that could go to something original. Usually, it will index only the page you set as the canonical link. If this isn’t set, Google looks to find the best version of the page to crawl and index without you.
This means that Google splits the page authority between two URLs, which damages both pages. You should identify pages with duplicate content and set up redirects from the weaker pages to the stronger pages or canonicalise the duplicate pages.
7. You have been penalised by Google
Being penalised by Google is the worst thing to happen to your website. While it’s highly unlikely that you have been penalised, there are two possible reasons you were:
- Manual penalty: This is when Google decides to remove or demote your site in SERPs. This happens when a Google employee looks at your site and finds that it doesn’t meet Webmaster Guidelines.
- Algorithm penalty: This is when Google’s algorithm decides to demote or remove a site or web page due to quality issues.
Manual penalties are extremely rare and Google will inform you if they have penalised you in this way. You can find out if any manual actions have been taken against your site in the “Manual Actions” tab in Search Console. If no warning is displayed, you don’t have a manual penalty.
Sadly, Google doesn’t let you know if your site is being penalised algorithmically, and it’s also a challenge to identify.
To find out if you could have been penalised in this manner, look to see if a significant drop in your organic traffic coincided with a Google algorithm update. You can find the date of the update yourself and compare it to your traffic. Tools such as SEMRush use explicit graphs that show when an update was issued.
If you still suspect that you have been penalised by the algorithm, then you need to talk to an SEO expert.
Whether it’s problems with optimisation or technical SEO issues, the team at Ricemedia can help identify issues with your site that is preventing you from appearing on Google and resolve them. If you think you’re being penalised or cannot see what issues you have, get in touch with us today and we’ll get started on getting you ranking.