Have great content that doesn’t rank well in search engines? The problem can be the content you see or the technology that works in the background of your website. Here are some thoughts to help you troubleshoot low ranking content.
Search Indexing Issues that Affect Rank
Your content won’t rank well if your page or site is crawled ineffectively by search engines. If you’re unsure whether your site is indexed on Google, check using the site:search operator in Google. For example, “site:kurtzdigitalstrategy.com” will show a list of pages found on that domain.
If you see your pages, that’s good news. Google does know about your site and has put — at least some of it — in its index. If your pages don’t show, you will need to submit a site map to the search engine. There are plugins that do this for you if you have a WordPress site. Or, you can log into Google Search Console and upload a site map file.
Check for Blockers
One of the most common reasons for Google not indexing your site or a specific page is because it has the noindex code. Adding noindex tags to a page tells Googlebot that it can crawl a page, but that the results can’t be added to the index.
To look for this code, open the page and view the source code. Somewhere in the head of the page, you’ll find the code below. This tells search engine crawlers that the content of the page shouldn’t be added to the index, and thus, keep it from ranking.
<meta name="robots" content="noindex">
Other technical issues can generate crawl errors that prevent Google from properly crawling your site. Google Search Console can help you identify and fix these issues.
Technical Issues that Affect Search Rank
A website needs to meet certain technical benchmarks to rank on Google. How quickly your pages load is one factor. Security is important too. There are many technical issues that can occur and most can be found with these checks:
- Ensure all plugin settings are correct and that unused plugins are removed
- Use a page speed checker to assess load time and take actions for improvement
- Make sure your site has a secure certificate installed and uses the https:// secure protocol
Links Can Help or Hurt SEO
Having a good internal linking structure and links to your site from other sites are important if you want to rank well. Google crawls the web, following each link it finds, so if your links are lacking it can cause you problems with ranking.
Having a clear site structure creates internal links that allow search crawlers to understand and access your site. If your internal linking structure is poor, chances to rank high are lower – even when your content is great.
Look for opportunities to earn links to your content from credible websites. You can reach out to other websites to ask them to mention your site or talk about your product and link to your site. You can also use social media to get the word out!
Keep in mind that links to your site from spammy, low-quality sites can hurt your changes of ranking well. You are judged by the company you keep!
Optimize Content with Keywords
Your page or site may not rank well due to the content or keywords.
In most cases, the reason content doesn’t rank in search is that there’s simply too much competition. To find out if this is the problem, check the results pages for your keyword. Do high authority sites, such as Wikipedia or Amazon, dominate the first page? You may not be able to out-compete them for search rank. A long tail keyword strategy can be more effective. Write content that targets specific phrases – long tail keywords – rather than tackling competitive keywords.
Also check that your content matches the intent of people searching for your keyword. Search intent is an increasingly important factor for search engines that work to match searchers with the content they are really looking for.
Now that you are on the right track with search rank, I offered more SEO tips for brands in a recent post to help you develop a strong search marketing strategy.