From content cloaking to generic keywords, here are 17 answers to the questions, “Can you share some reasons a website won’t show up on Google search, and how someone can solve this?”
- Content Is Cloaked
- Content Is Not Aligned With Search-Intent
- Haven’t Created and Submitted Your Sitemap
- Website Violates of Google’s Guidelines
- Poor Quality or Thin Content
- Website Is on the Wrong Platform
- No Terms and Conditions Page
- Haven’t Claimed Your Google Business Page
- Metadata Isn’t Filled Out
- Overlooked Off-Page SEO
- Leaving Old, Broken Links
- Not Using a 301 Redirect for a New Domain
- The Site Has Poor UX
- Website Is New
- Website May Lack Original Content
- Not Removing the “Noindex” Tag After Publishing
- Keywords that Are Too Generic
Content Is Cloaked
Cloaking is a technique used by many webmasters where they present different content to the search engines than visitors to manipulate keyword rankings. This is a common black-hat SEO technique that, when detected by Google, can lead to the exclusion of an entire website from Google’s index and search results.
To ensure that their websites remain visible in Google Search results and are not penalized for using cloaking, webmasters should only employ white-hat SEO techniques or professional services with proven success in organic visibility optimization.
Michael Alexis, CEO, Swag.Org
Content Is Not Aligned With Search-Intent
In SEO, we know this as search intent, and is an important metric to track. Make sure that your domain name and the content of your page are aligned with each other so that users can find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.
In order to ensure this alignment, start by conducting keyword research and optimizing your page titles, meta descriptions, content text, and headings. Additionally, make sure that there are no large images or other elements on the page that might prevent it from loading quickly.
Once you have done all of these steps, resubmit your website to Google by using its URL submission tool. This will allow Google to re-index your website and make it more visible in search results.
Michael Fischer, Founder, Elite HRT
Haven’t Created and Submitted Your Sitemap
Skipping the all-important step of creating a sitemap and submitting it via the Google Search Console is an error quite a few teams dealing with a new website make. After all, with so many things to take care of before launch, it is understandable that one might miss out on a step or two.
In creating a sitemap, you essentially relay the existence of your website to Google. It also highlights the pages that you deem important. Completing this step helps Google’s algorithms identify your site and its priorities quickly.
Riley Beam, Managing Attorney, Douglas R. Beam, P.A.
Website Violates Google’s Guidelines
This can include anything from copyrighted material to malicious content. To resolve this issue, you need to review Google’s webmaster guidelines and remove any content that violates them. Make sure that your website does not contain any broken links or images, as these can negatively affect its rankings.
Demi Yilmaz, Co-Founder, Colonist.Io
Poor Quality or Thin Content
If your website isn’t showing up in Google, the first thing you should do is install Google Search Console onto the site. This gives you advanced insights into the pages Google has crawled and the reasons it hasn’t indexed them.
Other than technical issues, the most common issue shows up as “Crawled – currently not indexed.” This means that Google has looked at your pages and deemed them to be too low quality to warrant including as part of their search results. This means that the content on them is too thin (not enough depth), duplicated (copied from somewhere else), or inferior quality (just not written in a way that is user-friendly).
Google now includes “E-A-T” as part of its algorithm and it is baked into Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. “E-A-T” stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. If you search for this, you will be able to find guidelines you should adhere to when creating your content. Follow these to help your site rank!
Ben Foster, CEO, The SEO Works
Website Is on the Wrong Platform
If your website isn’t ranking despite your best SEO efforts, it’s possible that you built your website on the wrong platform. In 2019, Ahrefs released a study in which it analyzed 3.2 million websites that were built on Wix as well as 3.2 million websites that were built on WordPress.
The results revealed Wix sites get significantly less organic traffic than WordPress sites. Although it’s disheartening to realize that a website you worked hard on will have a hard time ranking on search engines, it’s better to begin the re-platforming process sooner rather than later.
Stephanie Venn-Watson, Co-Founder, Fatty15
No Terms and Conditions Page
Lacking a Terms and Conditions page can show that you lack authority and aren’t on the up-and-up. Such a page shows you know how to operate in the digital arena. It also shows that you are running a legitimate site. Adding such a page can increase the odds of showing up on a Google search, as it shows that you are an authority on e-commerce and a good site for it.
Karim Hachem, VP of E-Commerce, Maxine Of Hollywood Swim
Haven’t Claimed Your Google Business Page
Many people forget to claim their Google Business page, which means they can lose out on a lot of free, local search results. A Google Business page is free, and will automatically connect you with local folks in your area who are looking for business advice.
Location is one of the most important factors in a search engine algorithm, which makes it important to leverage—even if you have a business that serves a global customer base. You don’t want to grow so much that you forget the customers and community closest to you, so make sure your Google Business Page has your location and your hours, so you can come up with relevant search results. Good search results on the local level will help build your reputation through the algorithm, ensuring you show up for a broader range of search terms.
Shawn Plummer, CEO, The Annuity Expert
Metadata Isn’t Filled Out
A website will have a hard time ranking if the metadata on the back end isn’t filled out. Metadata is part of the HTML code of the website and is used to provide information about a webpage and its elements.
Think of metadata as serving the purpose of making your website findable while also providing accessibility for the visually or hearing impaired. An example of metadata is the meta tags that are used to describe images.
While the typical web surfer will never see them, they live behind the scenes and serve a big purpose for SEO. If you’re not sure how to find, fill out, or optimize your metadata for search, hire an SEO specialist to help.
Michael Green, Co-Founder, Winona
Overlooked Off-Page SEO
Many people worry about on-page SEO but overlook off-page optimization. External SEO (off-page SEO) comprises everything you can do to boost your website’s position on Google’s search pages. However, even if on-page SEO is the foundation, off-page SEO is still as important—you can’t have one without the other.
Backlinking is probably the most crucial off-page tactic, as it can make or break a website. Backlinks tell Google you are a reputable site, but spammy or harmful links can land you on the 15th page of Google, never to return. Think of it as a Facebook post—the more likes you get, the more people will see it. A backlink is a redirect from another website, usually through an image or anchor text, which transfers SEO power between websites.
Use Google-approved strategies; otherwise, your website won’t benefit much, or worse, it can penalize you.
Tristan Harris, Demand Generation Sr. Marketing Manager, Thrive Agency
Leaving Old, Broken Links
One thing we learned the hard way, after more than a dozen years of blogging, is that while it is important to blog and link to outside sources, it is also important to routinely check for broken links. Companies change their websites or go out of business, and that means the links are broken. Over time, the number of broken links piles up, and that hurts your search engine ranking in a big way!
Cathy Liska, CEO, Center For Coaching Certification
Not Using a 301 Redirect for a New Domain
If you moved to a new domain, your site might not appear on Google or rank low. To address this, use a 301 redirect. A 301, or permanent, redirect works like mail forwarding. It instructs the server to direct visitors from the old location to the new URL.
When visitors go to your old URL, they will see a “Permanently Moved” status code and quickly be redirected to your new location. If you don’t put into place a 301 redirect, visitors to your old URL might see a 404 – “Not Found” status code instead.
Kevin Huang, Founder & CEO, Ambient Home Us
The Site Has Poor UX
Poor user experience (UX) will cost your website top rankings. Search engines favor high-quality content and user-friendly websites. If users don’t like your site, they’ll quickly press the back button, signaling to Google that your site shouldn’t rank.
UX improvements can lower bounce rates, engage visitors, and teach them about your brand while improving search rankings. A few simple changes can boost UX and site rankings. You can:
1. Page speed optimization services can speed up your site.
2. To simplify site navigation, simplify it.
3. Visuals can break up content and engage visitors.
Nely Mihaylova, Content Executive, Scooter Guide
Website Is New
Most think that once they launch a website, it will appear in search results immediately. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Google needs to know that your website exists before it can index and include it in search results. It can take time for Google to find your new website, so if you’ve only recently launched your website, it may not show up immediately.
Additionally, although Google denies it has a “Sandbox period,” some SEO experts believe that new websites may have to wait at least a few months before they appear in search results.
Burak Özdemir, Founder, Online Alarm Kur
Website May Lack Original Content
Overused keywords or topics that have already been covered again and again may cause your website to lose against the competing sites with a higher ranking.
To solve this, you need to focus on content creation. When discussing topics already familiar to the masses, work hard to write a more intriguing article by using another angle to present the idea. It is also a good idea to research evergreen content and how it can help your website generate more organic traffic. Evergreen content is content that is always relevant and independent of the trends over the seasons.
Not Removing the “Noindex” Tag After Publishing
It’s not uncommon for developers to use the “noindex” setting when they’re working on a staging server. But sometimes, with all the moving parts around a new site launch, a programmer might forget to change that setting on the live site, thus blocking Google.
It’s an easy fix. In WordPress, just go to Settings > Reader and make sure “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” is unchecked. If that’s not the problem, use the “Inspect URL” tool in Google Search Console to see if Google is reporting any crawl errors on a specific page.
Jason Bland, President, Custom Legal Marketing
Keywords that Are Too Generic
Why a company doesn’t show up on Google is complex, but the most common issue I see is companies using keywords that are too generic, combined with on-page SEO that incorrectly implements those keywords.
SEO is competitive and exacting, and having just one element out of alignment can dramatically reduce SEO results. Most websites don’t have the right foundation in place, then layer on expensive fixes that take far longer to repair the issues than simply fixing the foundation would do.
If they’ve skipped the basics to invest in content marketing, for example, or they have undiagnosed performance issues (like a slow or mobile-unfriendly site), they spin their wheels trying to catch up, never competing for rankings on an equal platform with competitors who are doing it correctly.
Hire a smart professional to pinpoint the specific issues holding you back, and be certain you have a strong on-page SEO foundation in place. It can shave months or years off how long it takes to see results.
Carrie Morgan, Keyword Analyst