You can spend weeks developing a website for your business, only to find that customers can’t even find it. Without visibility in search engines, all of that hard work will go to waste. When a customer enters keywords that should help them find your site, if they see only your competitors’ sites, you’ll quickly lose business.
But what happens when you’ve done everything you thought you should, only to find you’re invisible to potential visitors? It’s important to figure out why you’re being penalized so that you can take steps to fix the problem. Here are three fixable reasons your website may not be visible in online searches.
Google places a high priority on the information contained on a page. If a customer is looking for information on a particular topic, algorithms are set to present the most useful information first. This starts with having a site that is more than simply an introduction to your product or service. Set up a blog and load it with useful information that will draw customers to your site. Pay attention to what your competitors are doing and make sure you’re doing it better than anyone else.
It’s important to understand how algorithms work so that you can direct your content appropriately. Interestingly, when you begin focusing on the very things Google looks for when indexing and ranking sites, you also create a more user-friendly experience for your visitors. That includes delivering the information customers are seeking from the moment they discover your site, rather than making them search through various pages. If you’ve used a website creation tool and notice your site isn’t indexing, check your settings to make sure you’ve checked the box that allows search engines to see it. Sometimes a simple setting is the only thing keeping a site from ranking.
Many businesses now discover their pages are loaded down with malware when their sites stop ranking. As a protection to consumers, Google issues harsh penalties to infected sites, whether the breach directly puts customers in danger or not. In some cases, the site is listed with an alert stating that the site may be dangerous but in many others, it won’t rank at all.
If your site isn’t ranking, first check to see if it may be infected. Free security scanners are available that will let you know in a matter of seconds whether your website has an issue. If you have IT professionals handling your website, they’ll often set up software that will alert you if one of your systems has been infected, including the server where your website is hosted. However, with so many businesses relying on third-party servers, you’ll likely need to contact your website hosting provider to report the problem. They may require you to place a ticket, which will initiate the discovery and cleanup process.
How long will customers wait for your page to load? Nearly half of users surveyed say they’ll leave a site after two seconds. Realizing that customers demand user-friendly websites, Google penalizes slow-loading webpages. If you notice your site isn’t displaying prominently in search rankings, it very well could be your load times. The first step is to test your website speed using one of the tools available, including Google’s PageSpeed Insights, which alerts you to issues with your load times and provides tips to fix it.
Some of the fixes may be too technical for business leaders to fix on their own. However, there are a few simple adjustments you can make that will speed up your pages. Your images could contribute to sluggish page loads, so you may find that using fewer pictures or lowering the resolution of your images makes a big difference. You may also find that you have broken links that are preventing customers from accessing your content in a timely manner.
Once your site is live, it’s important to consistently check your site’s rankings to ensure you aren’t suddenly being penalized. You may find that over time, changes to the way sites are ranked keep customers from being able to find the information you’re working hard to produce each day. Once you’re aware of the factors that can affect your rankings, you’ll be able to create pages that engage customers while also matching the algorithms search engines use today.