Losing out on traffic from Google can be frustrating. Especially when search engines can generate plenty of sales for your business.
In this article, I’ll answer that all important question — Why is my website not showing up on Google? — I’ll also share how you can solve that problem.
Before we start fixing your searching engine woes, lets glance at the business potential of search traffic…
How much traffic can your Website get from search engines?
Here’s a search query, that shows the traffic available from search engines:
1) Red Cocktail Dress
Red Cocktail dress has a monthly global search volume of 8K and a search volume of 700 in the UK.
The parent term, Cocktail Dresses, has a global search volume of 167,000 and a UK search volume of 23,000.
That’s a lot of people searching for Cocktail Dresses on search engines.
And many people visiting the websites that are displayed in Google’s search results!
Lots of website visitors (with high purchase intent) = lots of sales!
Okay, so we know that organic search present a huge business opportunity.
But, how do you get ‘that’ search traffic to your site?
Let’s start by understanding…
Why people aren’t finding your site on search engines!
There’s three essential reasons your site won’t be showing up in search results:
( To save time, you can use the links below to jump to the section that’s most relevant to you — or read the complete article! )
- Google can’t find your website.
- Google can’t understand your site, pages, and content.
- You are way down the search results — on page 30 or something crazy like that. What kind of mad fool will read 30 pages of search results!
Let’s work our way through these issues and fix them…
1. Google Can’t Find Your Website!
It seems crazy. However, it could be true.
Let’s start by understanding…
How google FindS webSites and links
Google’s search robots crawl the internet at an incredible speed, jumping from page to page, link to link. They look for websites, pages, and posts — adding new data to the massive Google database.
Once your web pages are added to the database, they’re considered indexed and ready to be found in search results.
Has Google found and indexed your site?
A simple test to see if your site has been indexed by Google
Go to Google and enter the following search query.
When I ran this search on my website address, Google displayed a long list of pages on my website.
That’s good news!
It means my site has been found and indexed by Google.
If Google finds none of your website pages, you’ll see a search result like this…
If you see this message, you’ll want to to fix this issue ASAP.
Here’s three things you can do…
1. Check that your website is allowing itself to be indexeD
If you’re using WordPress, go to Dashboard -> Settings -> Reading
Look for the setting below — the box should not be ticked if you want search engines to find and index your site.
2. Check for passwords at site and page level
When you built your website, you may have used a password to stop people seeing your work in progress.
Perhaps you forgot to remove those passwords? Check those settings and remove those passwords.
In WordPress you find password settings on each webpage. You can also no-index individual pages (where it says ‘Hide from search engines’ ) — make sure this box is unticked too.
3. Add your website & SITEMAPS to Google and bing
Sign Up to:
Add your website addresses and XML site maps. Here’s a video from Ahrefs that walks you through that process.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ba6PHW7zMM
Once you’ve completed the previous steps, your website should be indexable. Give it a day and try the site search test again.
If that all works, it’s time to learn why…
2. Google can’t understand what your web Pages are about!
Google is a huge reference engine and information depository. It stores a huge amount of data on its servers.
According to What If? — Google stores a whopping 10 Exabytes of data on their storage clusters.
How Google search works
When someone enters a search query into Google, the software responds by providing a relevant answer in double quick fashion.
It does this by associating people’s search queries with keywords and topics — and providing search results relevant to those keywords.
Every keyword that Google associates with your website, is another chance for your site to appear in a search results.
The more search results you appear in — the more potential sales you make!
Unfortunately, most new brands are linked with few keywords and are missing out on these sales opportunities!
Number of keywords linked with early stage brands
As an experiment, I looked at the number of keywords that are associated with three newish Ecommerce brands (from my Facebook group — Fashion Brand Builders).
1. Swimwear Brand
This brand has 8 products and is associated with 13 keywords.
That’s 1.6 keywords per product.
2. Menswear and Womenswear Brand
This brand has 89 products and is associated with 152 keywords.
That’s 1.7 keywords per product.
3. Womenswear and Jewellery Brand
This brand has 87 products and is associated with 19 keywords.
That’s 0.21 keywords per product page.
By failing to optimise their websites for keywords — new Ecommerce brands are missing out on a tonne of traffic. Sites that feature less than 100 targeted keywords are the rule, not the exception!
Let’s contrast the performance of these fashion brands with the…
Number of keywords linked with An established brand
An established brand’s website is going to have thousands of products and therefore be an unfair comparison.
To even things out, I looked at a single subcategory page….
Here’s the keyword report for Topshop’s swimsuit category page.
This sub-category page has 57 products and is associated with 425 keywords.
That’s 7.4 keywords per product — a superior performance to the new fashion brands.
Why the difference in performance?
Established fashion brands like Topshop have done a great job of telling Google what their websites are about — they’ve Search Engine Optimised their category and product pages.
And if you want your brand be associated with many traffic generating keywords, you must do the same.
Remember, Google isn’t a mind reader!
It doesn’t automatically know what your web pages are about — you have to give it some nice big clues!
Tell Google What Your webpages are about
How do we help Google understand what our pages are about?
By using the right words ‘keywords’ and ‘topics’ in the appropriate places on our webpages.
Before we look at where to put those keywords, we need to know the right keywords to use.
Using the right keywords for your webpages
It’s no good using obscure keywords on your webpages, you need to use keywords that:
1) Are relevant to your product/service/topic/brand/
2) Have a medium/high search volume — a good number of people searching for that that term.
It’s time to…
Find relevant and good keywords for your website
You can achieve this in a limited way, with free tools such as:
Or you can use professional (comprehensive) tool such as Ahrefs — that’s the tool we use for our SEO service.
How I conduct a basic keyword search using Ahrefs
First, I go to the Keyword Explorer page. Next, I enter the word that I would like to test into the input box — ‘Streetwear’.
The software then show me the monthly search volume, and ranking difficulty for that word — you’re not the only brand trying to rank for a search term on Google (more on keyword difficulty later).
I can then drill down and find more related long-tail keywords and variants such as streetwear shop and streetwear clothing.
to find and test a broader range of keywords…
I often use Answerthepublic to generate keyword ideas from my starting keyword.
I export keywords ideas as a CSV file, then edit the file inside a spreadsheet programme — irrelevant columns and search terms are deleted — before exporting another CSV file.
This cleaned CSV filed is uploaded into Ahefs, where I ask the software to process all the keywords.
I then evaluate the metrics for each keyword and choose the best one/s.
Which bring us to a good question?
How many keywords should i have on a web page
In a perfect world, you want each page to feature multiple keywords.
Each keyword is a chance for you to feature in a search result — so if your page ranks for 20 keywords — your page will shown up in 20 different search queries.
Avoid being over ambitious in the beginning — three-to-five keywords per page would be a good starting point.
Once you’ve chosen your keywords, it’s time to…
Start your onpage keyword optimisation
What a mouthful!
This is the process of putting your keywords in all the important places on your webpage.
Normally, you’ll have one main keyword you want to a page rank for, plus some secondary keywords that are also relevant to the page/product.
For example, let’s imagine I have a product page for Black Lace Earrings:- These earrings are large, contain sterling silver, are handmade by Artisans in Greece, and would look great with a cocktail dress.
My chosen keywords for this product might be:
Main keyword — Large Purple Lace Earrings
Secondary keywords — Artisan made jewellery, Jewellery from Greece, Sterling silver earrings, Earrings for cocktail dress. Artisan made jewellery, Jewellery from Greece, Sterling silver earrings, Earrings for cocktail dress.
Putting your primary keywords in all the right places
Your primary keyword should feature in:
- Page Title
- H1 Header
- Page URL
- At least one Image Alt Attribute
- Two or more times in the body copy of the page (the product/service description) — but don’t make it spammy, the use of the word should feel natural and not forces. Make sure one of these mentions happens near the top of your page. If you use your keyword more than twice, I would suggest using close variations, i.e. Red Shoes and Red High Heels — Google will understand that you’re talking about the same product.
- The meta description. This won’t help search engine optimisation, however, Google will highlight your copy on the SERP — this will increase the chances that someone will click through to your site.
Secondary keyword placement:
- Your Page Title. If there’s room for one, squeeze one extra word it in at the end — don’t do this at the expense of making your title ugly
- H2 and H3 Titles. If relevant to the following section and copy.
- One Alt Image Attribute. Try to keep them relevant to the image — remember Alt images tags are there to help impaired people understand your pictures.
- In the body copy.
When writing copy, you should…
Aim for a minimum word count On webpages
As a general rule, I would suggest you use a minimum of 300 words on your webpages. Here’s the benefit of this approach:
- These extra words will help Google understand what your page is about.
- You’re likely to create additional organic keywords — yet more SERP (Search Engine Result Page) opportunities for your brand!
- It will create a better on page experience — people will love learning all the little details about your products and it could help them choose your product or service.
It’s also good to know that…
A better onpage experience improves all of your search engine marketing efforts
- When people have more good content to read, they’ll start on your site for longer — this tells Google that your site is valuable and it will keep referring people to your site.
- If you run Google Advertising Campaigns, you’ll find that the price of placing your Ads is cheaper! That’s right, having better quality webpages with more content makes your PPC Adverts cheaper.
Now you’ve optimised your web pages, it’s time for your next challenge…
3. Getting your page to the Top of Google’s Search Results
In the beginning, your website pages will probably not be on page 1 of Google’s search results.
Let alone the No.1 position.
Yet, according to research, the lions share of traffic goes to sites at the top of Google’s organic results, the CTR(Click Through Rate) for the site at No.1 position is around 30%, whilst the website sitting at No.10 gets a poor CTR of 2-3%.
Getting to that top spot, could dramatically change the traffic you receive and the sales you make!
It’s also why getting to No1 isn’t easy — other brands want that traffic and sales — you’re going to have fight for top spot!
So, how do you improve your search engine ranking?
8 Factors that affect your search engine ranking
Nobody knows for sure how search engines rank pages and website — the internet giants like to keep it a secret — but the following aspects have an impact:
Links back to your web pages from other domains(websites) are a serious ranking signal for Google.
Pages with lots of backlinks rank near the top of search results.
You should think of backlinks as a kind of social proof — having your website linked to by other domains, shows that your website is trusted by other people and brands — that’s something Google takes seriously.
Let’s look at who’s ranking for the term ‘Streetwear’ on Google.
Urban industry are sitting at No.2 with over 4,128 backlinks.
They are being outranked by a Wikipedia article, that has a paltry 339 backlinks.
On closer inspection, we can see that Wikipedia has an incredible Domain Rating of 96, in this instance that trumps Urban Industry’s combination of Domain Rating (49) and backlinks (4,128).
2. Domain Rating
Is determined by your entire backlink profile — how many sites link back to your website and how big those sites are — a link from Google will be worth more one from a smaller site.
Sites with a large Domain Rating, find it easier to rank in search engines results.
3. Page Speed
Speed matters to Google at your website visitors. A site that takes ages to load will get people hitting the back button on their browser — Google knows this — slow sites will get lower rankings on Desktop and Mobile browsers.
So, the inverse must also be true — fast sites will rise up the rankings.
You can do a free speed test of your web pages at https://tools.pingdom.com
You’re aiming for a load of less than two seconds.
4. Mobile Optimised and Responsive
Sites that that adapt well to various screen sizes and orientation will also get a ranking boost. Google measures how people on different platforms use your site and will adjust your ranking according.
For example, if mobile traffic leaves your site quickly — your mobile search ranking will be downgraded.
Google have a tool for checking if your site it ready for mobile traffic.
5. Content Quality
Google can tell if a page is full of spammy words and will rank your site accordingly. Write for your audience and about the matter at hand. Linking out to quality(relevant) sources can also help in that regard — it’s not by accident I’ve linked to Wikipedia in this article!
6. Content Length
In-depth pages, with more words and a good level of detail tend to rank higher in search results.
Google has clearly stated that a properly installed SSL certificate is a key factor in search rankings. If you’re an Ecommerce store owner who’s collecting payment details, they are essential.
How can you tell if you site has a valid SSL installed — check the left-hand end of your browser address bar when your site is loaded — it should be green with a picture of a padlock. You can click on this green area and learn more about the certificate.
8. User Experience (UX)
Search engines also look at factors like menu structures, ease of navigation, and privacy standards — does your site have clearly labelled Privacy and Cookie Polices. All the above will impact your search rankings (and also affect your Ad Quality Score).
By now, you should have a grasp of the elements you need to get right if you want to ge to the top of Google.
But, you’re probably wondering…
How many backlinks you need? Or how fast your website should be?
And the short answer is…
Make your pages better than the competition
You don’t need the best website or pages ever — although that’s a good aim!
You need webpages that are better than the brands already in the top ten search results — the front page of Google.
And you need not beat No.1 on the list (eventually you’ll need too).
You need to beat No.10 and get on the front page of Google.
Getting your site onto page one of Google Search
Look at the ranking attributes of the site in No.10 position. Check out their backlinks (number and quality), website speed, quality of content, and other ranking factors — then match and beat them where you can.
Next check your Google ranking.
if you’ve made it to page 1, give yourself a hand!
If you’re not on page one, work on your ranking factors and go again.
Once you’re on page one…
The next step is getting to the top of the page — becoming No.1 for that keyword.
Having your site on page one of Google should help — as you’ll receive traffic from Google.
Google will watch and see if the people it send your way, like your page — spend a long time on your site, view multiple pages.
If people like your site, more than the sites above your, you’ll probably get a rankings upgrade.
If not, improve the quality of your page and/or ranking factors.
Keep going until you get to the No.1 spot on Google.
Summing Up Your Search Engine Progress
Now that you’ve read this article, you should understand how to:
- Check if Google can find your page and fix any issues.
- Find keywords that will drive lots of traffic to your site.
- Add keywords in the right places on your website.
- Optimise your pages so that you get on to page one of Google.
Next and final step….
Track the Google ranking of each keyword that generates sales and leads for your business
If your keywords (and the traffic that Google send your way) matter to your business — you need to keep track of your search ranking.
Each keyword represents a business opportunity — and the difference between being No.1 and No.2 on Google could be thousands of pounds.
Prettylittlething.com ranks No.1 on Google Search for ‘cocktail dresses’ and ‘cocktail dress’ — this generates* £4,500 a month in sales — dropping to No.2 in search results would cost them £2,250.
*Estimated and does not include lifetime value or multiple items in a basket.
Manually tracking keyword search rankings is tedious!
Can you imagine, Googling 400 keywords every month and recording their position in a spreadsheet — madness!
We use automated software to track our keywords positions — we also offer this keyword rank tracking service to our SEO clients.
Here to help you win…
Need help getting on to page 1 of Google? Want help implementing the solutions I’ve explained in this article?
I can help — contact me here.