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Every website owner's dream is to rank on the first page of Google. Higher rankings mean more organic traffic, increased visibility, and potential leads and sales. However, achieving and maintaining high rankings on Google is not an easy task. There are several factors that influence a website's search engine results page (SERP), and failing to address these factors can lead to poor ranking or even penalties from Google.
Every website owner’s dream is to rank on the first page of Google. Higher rankings mean more organic traffic, increased visibility, and potential leads and sales. However, achieving and maintaining high rankings on Google is not an easy task. There are several factors that influence a website’s search engine results page (SERP), and failing to address these factors can lead to poor ranking or even penalties from Google.
In this article, we will explore the main reasons why your website isn’t ranking on Google, and what you can do to improve its position.
Keyword research is a critical component of any SEO (search engine optimisation) strategy. It involves identifying the keywords and phrases that your target audience is searching for, and incorporating them into your website’s content and metadata (also known as data that describes the information on your website in a way that search engines can better understand). Poor keyword research can lead to targeting the wrong keywords or using irrelevant keywords that have no search volume, and very little interest to your potential customers.
Another common mistake is targeting highly competitive keywords with high difficulty scores that are difficult to rank for. For example, if you run a small plumbing business, trying to rank for “plumbing services” will be extremely challenging, as it’s a highly competitive keyword. Instead, targeting long-tail keywords, such as “emergency plumbing services in [your location]”, may yield better results. This is especially beneficial if you are targeting local results.
Long-tail keywords are longer phrases that are more specific and less competitive than short-tail keywords. For example, “best coffee shops in downtown LA” is a long-tail keyword that is less competitive than “coffee shops” and more likely to attract the right audience to your website. Failing to keep up with the latest search trends and not optimising for long-tail keywords can also negatively impact your ranking.
To avoid poor keyword research, you can take advantage of research tools such as Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush to identify relevant keywords and their search volume. It’s also worth analysing your competitors’ websites to identify the keywords they are targeting, and incorporating them into your strategy.
On-page optimisation refers to enhancing a website’s content and metadata to make it more relevant to search queries. Poor on-page optimisation can lead to search engines not understanding the content of the website, resulting in lower rankings. Here are some on-page optimisation mistakes to avoid:
Not optimising the website’s title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags – Title tags and meta descriptions are the first bits of copy a user sees when searching for a particular keyword. They should be optimised to provide relevant and compelling information to the user. Header tags, such as H1, H2, and H3, should be used to structure content and provide a better user experience.
Ignoring image optimisation by not adding alt tags and compressing large image files – Images play a critical role in user engagement and can enhance a website’s ranking. However, failing to optimise images by adding alt tags and compressing large image files can hurt its ranking.
Over stuffing the content with keywords – Keyword stuffing refers to the practice of adding too many keywords into a piece of content, making it difficult to read and understand. This can lead to keyword cannibalisation, where multiple pages on a website compete for the same keyword, resulting in lower rankings.
To avoid on-page optimisation mistakes, you can conduct a thorough analysis of your website’s content and metadata, and optimise them to make them more relevant to search queries. Use tools such as Yoast SEO or Moz to guide you through the optimisation process.
Content is king in the world of SEO. Search engines reward websites that provide high-quality and relevant content to their users. Inferior quality content, on the other hand, can lead to lower rankings or even penalties from search engines. Here are some content-related mistakes to avoid:
Publishing thin or duplicate content that provides no value to the user – Thin content refers to content with little to no substance or value to the user. Duplicate content refers to content that is copied from other websites or pages on the same website. Both types of content can hurt a website’s ranking.
Failing to update content regularly – Regularly updating a website with fresh and relevant content can help to improve its ranking. Search engines favour websites that provide users with up-to-date and relevant information.
Ignoring the importance of user engagement metrics – User engagement metrics, such as bounce rate and time on site, are indicators of how users interact with the website’s content. Poor engagement metrics can signal to search engines that the content is not relevant or helpful to the user.
To avoid poor content quality, focus on providing your users with high-quality, relevant information. Conduct keyword research to identify the topics that your target audience is interested in and create content that addresses their needs and pain points. Use tools such as Google Analytics to monitor user engagement metrics and make improvements to the content accordingly.
Technical issues can prevent search engines from crawling and indexing a website’s content, leading to lower rankings or even de-indexing from the search results, preventing a site from appearing on any page of search results. Some common technical issues that can affect a website’s ranking include:
Slow page speed – This can lead to a poor user experience, resulting in lower rankings. Use tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix to identify and fix page speed issues.
Broken links and 404 errors – Both issues can prevent search engines from crawling and indexing the website’s content, again leading to lower rankings. Use tools such as Google Search Console to identify and fix broken links and 404 errors.
Poor website architecture and navigation – Poor website architecture and navigation can make it difficult for search engines to crawl and index its content, leading to lower rankings. Use a logical and organised website structure and navigation to improve crawlability.
To avoid technical issues, conduct regular website audits to identify and fix any technical issues that may be affecting your website’s ranking. Use tools such as SEMrush Site Audit or Screaming Frog to conduct a thorough analysis of your website’s technical health.
Backlinks are a critical component of any SEO strategy. These are links from other websites that point to your website, indicating to search engines that your website is credible and authoritative. Poor-quality backlinks or a lack of backlinks can hurt a website’s ranking. Here are some backlink-related mistakes to avoid:
Focusing on quantity over quality – The number of backlinks is not as important as the quality of those backlinks. A few high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites can have a more significant impact on a website’s ranking than several low-quality backlinks.
Using black hat SEO techniques to acquire backlinks – Black hat SEO techniques, such as buying backlinks or participating in link farms, can lead to penalties from search engines and hurt a website’s ranking.
To avoid backlink-related mistakes, focus on acquiring high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites in your niche. This can be achieved through sponsored content, guest posts, submitting your business to online directories, and various PR tactics. We would also recommend using tools such as Ahrefs or Moz to analyse your competitors’ backlinks and identify opportunities to acquire backlinks.
Mobile-friendliness is no longer an option, but a necessity in today’s mobile-first world. With more than half of all internet traffic coming from mobile devices, search engines favour websites that provide users with a seamless mobile experience. Failing to optimise a website for mobile devices can lead to lower rankings. Here are some mobile-friendliness mistakes to avoid:
Not using responsive design – Responsive design refers to a design approach that adapts a website’s layout to different screen sizes and devices. Using responsive design provides a seamless experience to users across all devices.
Failing to optimise for mobile page speed – Mobile page speed is critical for providing a positive user experience on mobile devices. Use tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix to identify and fix mobile page-speed issues.
Ignoring the importance of mobile usability – Mobile usability refers to how easy it is for users to navigate and interact with a website on a mobile device. Poor mobile usability can lead to a poor user experience, resulting in lower rankings.
To avoid these mistakes, use responsive design to ensure that your website provides a seamless user experience, optimise your website for mobile page speed, and prioritise mobile usability to provide a positive user experience on all devices.
Site audit errors and Robots.txt can also impact a website’s ranking. Site audit errors refer to errors detected during a site audit, which can affect the website’s crawlability and indexing. Robots.txt is a file that tells search engine crawlers which pages to crawl and which pages to exclude. Here are some mistakes to avoid regarding site audit errors and Robots.txt:
Ignoring site audit errors – Ignoring site audit errors can hurt a website’s ranking by preventing search engines from crawling and indexing the website’s content.
Blocking search engine crawlers with Robots.txt – If the Robots.txt file is set up incorrectly, it can prevent search engine crawlers from accessing and indexing the website’s content, leading to lower rankings.
To avoid site audit errors and Robots.txt mistakes, conduct regular site audits to identify and fix any errors that may be affecting your website’s ranking. Use tools such as Google Search Console to ensure that the Robots.txt file is set up correctly and is not blocking search engine crawlers from accessing and indexing your website’s content.
Achieving a high ranking on Google is essential for driving traffic and growing a business online. However, many factors can prevent a website from ranking on Google, from poor keyword research and on-page optimisation to technical issues and site audit errors.
By avoiding these common mistakes and implementing best practices for SEO, website owners can improve their website’s ranking on Google and drive more traffic to their website. Remember to focus on providing users with high-quality and relevant content, acquiring high-quality backlinks, and optimising for mobile devices to provide a positive user experience. Regularly conducting site audits and monitoring website analytics can also help to identify and fix any issues that may be affecting a website’s ranking.
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