Many digital marketing agencies will tell you that SEO is tough, but very rewarding. For people who take the time to research and properly implement a solid SEO strategy, the payoff is huge. Search Engine Optimization is a tried-and-tested powerhouse.
However, with the market as saturated as it is, it’s not always easy to rank on Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Some companies go at it for months just to witness their site move up one or two slots only.
Believe us, we know; it can be pretty frustrating.
As a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO services, we get asked questions like these all the time—by both current clients and potential ones:
- Why is it so hard to raise our Google SERP rank?
- How do we get our website on the first page of Google?
- Is effective is SEO? Will we see immediate results?
- We already have an existing SEO strategy and we’re still not on the front page. How is your strategy any different?
… you get the picture.
The thing is, as with any digital marketing strategy, SEO services need to be constantly reviewed. When issues arise, troubleshoot! What worked for you three months ago might not get you the results you want now, so always double-check your status.
That being said, here are three of the most common reasons we’ve found play a huge factor behind a business’s Google rank. We’ve even included some quick fixes!
Your Website Might Not Be Indexed
If you’re not showing up on Google’s SERP, it may be that you’re not indexed—aka, you’re not listed.
(Which would explain why you’re not ranking at all).
Now, before you panic, there are three good reasons why your website isn’t indexed.
- Google’s little Google bots haven’t had the chance to visit your website, crawl through it, and index your content. This is the most common scenario if you’re a brand-new website (understandable) or you don’t have a consistent publishing schedule.
- You accidentally de-indexed yourself. Hey, it happens! You may have accidentally selected something that blocks search engines from finding and indexing your content, so be sure to double-check your settings!
- You may have chosen a de-indexed or penalized domain. This is the danger of buying second-hand or used domains. Carefully check the history to make sure this domain is 100% Google-friendly.
If any of the above applies to you, there are always steps you can take to ensure you get back on Google’s visible side.
Unsure if your website is indexed by Google?
Here is how to find out. Go to a new browser window and type site:yourwebsite.com into the URL bar. Make sure you do not include the “www” or “/”. If your website shows up in the results and you are at the top of the list, you are good! Google has your website indexed. However, if you do NOT see your website in the list, it most likely means Google has no idea you exist (uh oh).
We recommend speeding up the process (especially if you landed under Reason #1) by adding your website’s sitemap to Google Search Console. Aside from letting Google know that your website is now active, it will also tell Google which pages you would prefer to show up in a related search.
Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly and Responsive?
This has been said a million times before, but it’s so important that it bears repeating: mobile is taking over. People spend their leisure time scrolling through their phones more than they do their laptops or desktops.
You want to be visible? Get on the most visible platform.
If your site isn’t optimized for mobile usage, Google takes that as a serious strike against you.
If it isn’t responsive either, no dice. Two strikes.
As the largest search engine, Google makes it a point to return user-friendly results of the highest quality. Their algorithm now accounts for highly responsive, mobile-friendly websites.
A website that can adjust to the screen of any device—from an iPad to an Android tablet to a full screen desktop—without compromising layout or quality will rank much better than a website littered with all the right keywords.
If your competitors are doing much better than you, check their website on different phones. Graphics remain the same? User-friendliness is still optimal? Everything loads within a hot second?
They’re mobile-friendly, they’re optimized, and Google is rewarding them for it.
Unsure if your website is Mobile Friendly in the eyes of Google?
Use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test tool here. It will show if your website passes or fails.
Believe it or not, website construction can immensely improve any and all SEO services you decide to implement. So what we’re trying to say is; grab your web dev team or phone your website designer/developer. It’s time to optimize your website for all sorts of mobile gadgets.
Check Your Keywords—They May Be Too Competitive
Right off the bat, we recommend reviewing the keywords you’re trying to rank for. If you’re struggling with your SERP rank, you may not have chosen the best keywords for your business’s size, situation, and experience.
Here’s what we mean:
It’s a common mistake most beginners make: target the keywords that seem to attract the most organic traffic. If 500,000 people are searching for “organic makeup” every hour, then why not bid on “organic makeup” and get a fraction of that 500,000, right?
The reasoning is sound, but realistically? The implementation doesn’t work.
If you’re targeting generalized keywords, you’re going to be competing with industry giants—ones with a marketing budget easily 10x more than your own. There’s no room for malice or unnecessary grudges in this case; it’s just the way things are.
Going back to the “organic makeup” example, if you bid for that keyword, you’ll be competing against the likes of Ulta and Sephora for distribution. For articles and listicles, your competition is established Health & Beauty magazines like Marie Claire, Allure and Cosmopolitan.
There’s nothing wrong with being a wee bit ambitious in your SEO services, but it’s always best to know when and where to pick your battles. Any digital marketing agency will advise you to choose the best keywords that you can feasibly rank for with your current resources and then slowly build and expand your list as your resources grow.