“Why isn’t our website ranking at the top of the Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Page)?” This question has been asked by every company at one point and this is no surprise. As you can see in the graph below from Advanced Web Ranking, the CTR (Click-Through Rate) drops considerably on desktop and mobile. The number one spot achieves a 34% CTR on desktop and a 28% CTR on mobile. It has already dropped to 10% on both by the number three spot. From 9 – 20, the CTR stays around 1%.
Source: Advanced Web Ranking
So you know why you want your website to be at the top of the SERPS, but you don’t know why it isn’t there. There’s no easy answer and there could be a number of reasons why your website doesn’t appear.
You need to allow more time
SEO isn’t an overnight job. If you are looking to get to the top of the SERPs quickly, PPC is a better route for you. It takes time to research and create content as well as make backend changes to your website to create a better user experience. The changes made are not immediately picked up by Google either and you then have to wait for the search engine to work out if the changes add value. There are no shortcuts however with patience and a good SEO strategy, you should start to see your website climb up the rankings.
Your keyword has a different meaning
When researching keywords to rank for, it’s important to look at the SERPs to see what results are appearing. The results shown may be different to the webpage you are looking to rank. For example, if Google is ranking pages that offer answers and guides to a keyword, it’s highly unlikely that your homepage will appear. Spending time researching the keyword can save you from wasting time trying to rank a page that is not likely to appear.
Your website isn’t fully optimised
You may have a website that looks great to users, however, hasn’t been fully optimised for Google. There are many sites that provide SEO site audits such as SEMRush that will tell you what still needs to be optimised on your site. You don’t have to be a web developer to be able to correct some of them either. A few of the things holding your website back from ranking higher are:
- Duplicate content
- Insufficient content on a page
- Meta and alt tags are missing
- Sitemap is missing
- No way to add refresh your website with new content, such as a blog
You are not being linked to
Links are an important part of an SEO strategy. Being linked to by other websites will help Google find your site and show that you add value. However, it’s important that you find natural ways to gain these links, such as guest blogging. Buying links can get you penalised by Google. Instead of seeing your website climb the rankings, it will do the opposite.
Targeted by a negative SEO attack
As we have already mentioned, most links that are bought are poor quality and can cause more problems. However, you can still end up receiving toxic links to your website without you doing so. You could fall victim to an SEO attack. This could be done by one of your competitors who are looking to rank higher than you, and so attacks your site to make you drop down. They could hack into your website to add malicious code, however, there are things they can do to try and affect your rankings without doing so. They could start taking content from your blog and republishing them or link to your website from a number of suspicious websites. It’s important you keep an eye on your website however Google is good at spotting negative SEO attacks.
Google has penalised you
If you have been ranking well and then suddenly drop down the rankings or out completely, you could have been penalised by Google. You can find out if your site has been penalised by checking Google’s Manual Actions Report. Google will also notify you in the Search Console message centre. A manual action is issued against a site by a human reviewer who has decided it doesn’t comply with Google’s webmaster quality guidelines. To have your website reappear on the SERPs, you will need to fix the issues outlined in the report. You can then request a review with a description of the fixes you have made. The review process can take several days to two weeks to complete which is a long time for your website to be missing out on potential customers.
Your competitors are doing more
If you are doing Search Engine Optimisation on your website, it’s likely that your competitors will be doing too. You can’t rest on your laurels with SEO. As soon as you stop optimising, it won’t be long before you drop below your competitors who are still optimising. Whoever is spending time fully optimising their website, keeping it fresh and adding value to users will see more results. Remember, you are not the only company who wants the number one spot!