Is your website not showing up on Google again?
You just checked your site online, and it returns different or, even worse, no results. So, you are there wondering, “Why is my website not showing up on Google?” Well, you are not alone.
A website not showing up on Google means it’s not indexed hence not part of the millions of sites crawled by Google crawlers/spiders.
Maybe you just published a great piece of content, and you’re eager to show your friends what you’ve been working on. Obviously, this is an exciting moment, but before you take the step, you want to ask yourself, “is my site on Google? Is my website up and visible online?”
If the site is up and running, great. If not, you need to do some background checks. Most people would assume that it’s the Google search not working, or maybe some technicalities with the search engine, but in reality, it’s the website itself not ranked by the search engines.
So, why is your website not showing up on Google? Here are the ten possible reasons and some tips on how to get Google to rank your site.
Why is Your Website Not Showing Up On Google?
1. Your website is new.
If your website is new and you try to run a site search, chances are, you’ll not find it on Google or the other search engines. This is because it takes some time before Google can index your site.
For faster results, here’s how to get your website on Google:
- Submit a sitemap within the Google Search Console
- Use the Fetch as Google option in the Google Search Console to define and index individual URLs. This ensures the Bots can find and crawl your site.
You can refer to this guide on adding your website to Google and making sure it’s visible across the web.
More often, your site will show up on Google after some hours from the time it goes live. However, at times it can delay, especially if there’s no traffic coming in.
For example, sometimes back, I could make some changes to my then-new website, but when I searched it on Google, my homepage, title, headings, and even images hadn’t been updated, and this was frustrating.
It’s worth noting that a website not working is different from a website not showing up on Google.
A website that returns some specific errors upon a search command could have an expired domain or other technicalities related to its content management software (CMS).
2. Your website is not optimized for search.
If it’s to appear on Google Search, your website should be optimized for on-page and off-page SEO. These two optimization techniques determine how Google will interpret and rank your site.
For example, a website that focuses on high-quality content, proper keyword usage, headings, site structures, and internal/external links will have its on-page SEO on track.
But to increase the chances of ranking on the first page, off-page SEO is crucial. Here, link building and technical SEO comes in handy.
Here are some useful articles to improve your on-page and off-page SEO:
Other than that, you can also refer to our Search Engine Ranking factors guide to know which elements you should prioritize.
3. Your target keyword is very competitive.
When you run a search on Google using some random keywords your site ranks for, chances are, other sites will appear before yours. This is because of keyword competition.
A typical website not showing up on Google will have most of its keywords taken by the big brands and authority sites.
For example: If you are in the SEO market and rank for competitive keywords like “video SEO,” you’ll need to put in a lot of work to make it through the top 3 search engine results pages.
To avoid such a situation, you want to do thorough keyword research to find high volume, low competition keywords.
Tip: Use BiQ’s Keyword Intelligence to choose the right keywords to target.
If you have a keyword you want to target, you can research it further to make sure it helps your content rank and serves the searcher’s intent. Once you enter your keyword into the tool, you’ll see the keyword volume, intent, competition, and value.
These insights will help you make the right decision and even incorporate a couple of related keywords in your content. To solve the keyword competition issue, choose a high volume, high value, low competition keyword.
You can learn more about using Keyword Intelligence to level up your SEO strategy in our previous post.
4. You have ‘thin’ content.
Depending on your niche and the kind of competitors you have, publishing content that lacks readability and depth will push your site beyond the end of the line.
A solution to this problem is to create comprehensive content that’s original, value-centric, engaging, and fun for the audience. A social Media Examiner survey reports that 58% of marketers prefer original written content over visual content.
But how will you ensure your content isn’t only original but also relevant to your target audience?
Tip 1: Use BiQ’s Content Intelligence to understand what’s important to cover about your topic
Having a keyword isn’t enough to guarantee you a great piece of content. You need to make sure the content covers the users’ pain points in a sensible and relatable manner.
This is what our BiQ’s content intelligence does – it gives you a sneak preview of what you need to cover. And the best part? It compares your content to that of your competitors; then, it gives you a score, and you can adjust it accordingly.
You also get a list of related keywords and even see how the key phrases have been used. To make the most significant impact, you can use these keywords to draft your outline.
Check out our previous article on how you can use Content Intelligence to boost your content marketing strategy.
You will also find out that, other than keyword research and content optimization, you can achieve so many other things using BiQ. Find out 13 things you can do using BiQ to increase your website ranking.
Tip 2: Use Google search operators to check the content your competitors publish
The idea isn’t to copy your competitors; rather, to borrow some ideas and check how they structure their content. To do this, you need to search specific sites and search for particular content.
Below is how to search for specific websites and how to search within a website:
Use Google Site Search:
Dig into your competitors’ domain using the “site:” operator. This will check all the pages Google has indexed from that site. For example, the search query, site:biq.cloud will give you something like this:
You can also search a website to find specific content, for example: enter the search query, site:biq.cloud content marketing. This is what you’ll get:
5. You have duplicate content.
Another factor to blame for your website not showing on Google is the use of duplicate content.
If your website has a piece of content copied from another site, Google has definitely identified it, and since it cannot determine which site to credit and rank for query results, your site may not rank for the said keyword(s). Instead, your competitor will rank on your behalf.
But copied/scraped content isn’t the only cause of duplicate content. There are several other ways through which duplicate content occurs. These include:
- Indexing issues: pages can get indexed automatically, meaning Google sees more pages than you actually have on your site.
- Paginated comments: CMS like WordPress allows you to create paginated comments. This creates multiple versions of one URL, leading to duplicate content.
- Using trailing vs. non-trailing slashes: A trailing slash (/) after a URL indicates that the URL is a directory/folder and a URL without the trailing slash shows it’s a file. When these two URLs serve the same content, it becomes duplicate content.
To fix such issues, you need first to determine what causes the duplicate content. We’ve covered extensively the risks of duplicate content and how to fix them.
6. Your website is lacking high-quality backlinks.
Again, high-quality backlinks that seek to offer more value to the audience are valuable for search engine ranking.
If all your competitors have built a backlog of high-quality backlinks, yet you have none, they are more likely to displace you one after the other.
Assuming that you are in a very competitive niche with several sites ranking for nearly the same keywords, your site will have slim odds of showing up on Google.
According to Ahrefs, 66% of pages have no backlinks, and 47% of the top-ranking sites/pages have some reciprocal links.
To build high-quality backlinks, consider a link build strategy.
7. You have a Google Penalty.
Google is strict when it comes to content quality. If you try anything of a shortcut to trick the search algorithm, it’s only a matter of time before your site is flagged.
If you have violated sensitive rules, Google won’t display search results from your website. For example, a site found with a virus infection, sneaky redirects, cloaking, or bought links will have violated some of the most severe Google’s terms and conditions.
Any of the above penalties will justify your website not showing up on Google. More often, the penalty will need to be lifted manually, i.e., by a Google employee. But before that happens, you need to appeal to Google to consider re-indexing your website.
Another common penalty is the unnatural link warnings given to sites that have attained their backlinks in violation of Google’s quality guidelines.
According to Google, one of the best ways to avoid penalties is to create content with the users in mind and not the search engines. Another fundamental principle is to avoid deceptive content or “tricks” meant to improve Google rankings.
8. You are blocking search engines from indexing your pages.
Indexing, crawling, and ranking is three different steps that happen to your website regularly.
Crawling is the process in which Google looks for new sites. When it finds new websites, it checks for quality (whether it violates its terms and conditions) before indexing.
If your website is indexed, it’s then eligible for ranking. Remember, not all indexed pages are ranked. Google only ranks the most relevant and high-quality sites based on several ranking factors.
Just like crawling, you have the option to stop Google from indexing your site. You can do this by including a no-index metatag in the HTML code or returning a no-index header in the HTTP request.
If by mistake you have enabled these advanced settings, you’ll need to disable them. Below are two screenshots of how the no-index code(s) appears on your page. If you can spot any of these codes, you need to delete them altogether.
A website indexed by Google will show up when you do a Google site search using the Google search operators. If you didn’t find your page with a simple site search, you might have blocked the search engine from indexing it.
9. You are blocking search engines from crawling your pages.
There are certain cases where you can intentionally prevent Google Bots from crawling specific pages in your site, for example, when you want to avoid duplicate content issues.
However, sometimes you mistake blocking Google from crawling a page you want to rank on the search engines. You’ll have messed up the rankings at such an instance, and you’ll have a website not showing up on Google.
To remove crawl blocks and have your website showing up on the search, you need to check the Robots.txt file using the Google Robots.txt tester. This tool is found in the Google Webmasters and will tell you whether you’ve allowed or disallowed Google bots from crawling specific webpages.
Here is an example of a Robots.txt file and what it communicates to Google.
Fixing the errors in your Robots.txt file is one way of solving issues with a website not showing up in Google. Another problem to check is whether you’re having collisions between your Robots.txt file and Sitemaps.
Below is an example of a typical collision.
In the above screenshot, the Robots.txt file tells Google to crawl the page, while the Sitemap asks Google not to crawl that page. This confuses Google and can have your site not ranking at all.
How you use the Google search engine URL parameters in your Google Search console could also affect how your pages show up on the search results.
We’ve covered more about Google Bots, crawling, and ranking in our Google indexing Guide.
10. Your website doesn’t have a good user experience.
User experience is one of the most critical ranking factors that matters not only to your site visitors but also to the search engines. Google is one of the search engines that emphasizes user experience and has even made it a key ranking factor.
Nowadays, sites optimized for mobile will rank better than those that are not. Ensuring a good user experience starts with the site’s speed, mobile-friendliness, visuals, and chatbots, and most importantly, high-quality and valuable content.
In fact, mobile users are five times (5X) more likely to abandon a task if the site isn’t mobile-friendly/optimized for mobile.
For most people, setting up a website on their own isn’t an option. So, whether you’ll go for a free or premium website builder, make sure it has a good user experience.
If you are considering setting up a site for your business but do not know where to start, you can use the Google website builder or the Google Sites found in your Google Workspace to create simple, user-friendly, and highly optimized Google Websites.
Now that you know the possible issues that could justify your website not showing up on Google, you need to identify and sort them out, one by one.
Here is the checklist for you:
- Your website is new.
- Your website is not optimized for search.
- Your target keyword is very competitive.
- You have ‘thin’ content.
- You have duplicate content.
- Your website is lacking high-quality backlinks.
- You have a Google Penalty.
- You are blocking search engines from indexing your pages.
- You are blocking search engines from crawling your pages.
- Your website doesn’t have a good user experience.
Going through each of these can be hectic; however, it will not only help solve the indexing and ranking issues but will also help you discover several other loopholes affecting your site’s online visibility.