The digital landscape is a magical place- imagine having the potential to reach millions of people with one video, being able to connect with thousands of people at the click of a button, and getting your brand’s story to reach different parts of the world.
When you brought your new website to life in this online world, you had all those high hopes and aspirations that your dream audience will instantly find you and love your brand, as much as you do. However, a few months have passed already and your website is failing to rake in the traffic that you were expecting. What are you doing wrong?
First of all, let me tell you straight out that making it to the first page of your desired Google searches is not as easy as it seems. The potential is huge, but the competition is fierce- with millions of websites vying for the same top ten spot on those pages.
Secondly, Google prefers websites that have been there for a while. A study by Ahrefs where they put 2 million random keywords to the test revealed that the average age of the pages on the top ten results is 650 days or almost two years! For Google, websites age like fine wine- with the number one spot secured by pages with an average age of 900 days and up.
But don’t wallow in despair just yet- apart from ageism, there are other major reasons why your website might not be ranking in Google- and there are key steps you can take to address them.
- Your website takes too long to load
In this age of modern technology, people have become impatient- We want information, and we want it within the next three seconds!
If your pages are loading slowly, website visitors might abandon your website and this is bad news for your engagement metrics– how many pages your visitors go to and what they do there. The shorter the duration of each visit, the lower the chances of your page ranking on Google, as the algorithm concludes that you are not providing valuable information on your website.
Even without the engagement measures, Google directly gives a better ranking to websites with faster speed compared to those with slower loading time.
How to solve it:
These tools provide insights on what could be causing your website to slow down. In most cases, the following steps will do the trick of improving your loading speed:
- Reduce image file sizes
- Minimize the number of videos on the page
- Decrease the number of HTTP requests for your page
- Reduce server response time
- Select the right web host
- You need high quality and more consistent content
Content runs the online world- it can convert leads to customers, make visitors stay longer on your website and establish your credibility. Never underestimate the power of awesome content.
Evaluate your content strategy honestly:
- Value- Is your website a good knowledge resource for your industry? Are you answering questions that your target market is asking?
- Transparency- Are you providing objective information with no subtle or not-so-subtle sales pitches on every article? Is your pricing published on your website?
- Quality- Are your blog articles well-researched and fact-checked? Are you checking for grammar and spelling errors? Are you checking for plagiarism?
- Consistency- How often do you publish fresh content on your website’s blog?
If you’re failing with any of the above, it might be reflected in your poor Google ranking.
How to solve it:
First, let us answer some questions about content- what is the recommended frequency per week?
Hubspot recommends the following:
- For organic traffic- 3-4x per week for small blogs and 4-5x per week for large blogs (new and updated posts).
- For brand awareness- 1-2x per week for small blogs and 3-4x per week for large blogs (new and updated posts).
In creating content, you need to diversify and provide useful and trustworthy information. Inserting your sales pitch on every page is a big turnoff- this may sound counterintuitive, but even though it’s your website, you should NOT be putting yourself front and center on every page.
Instead, focus on the problems that you are helping people to solve. Get to know your target audience and research how they think, how they speak- which will reflect on the keywords they type in the Google search box when looking for solutions. This means optimizing your SEO by putting those correct keywords that they are using in their search into your website.
A content calendar outlining the topics and keywords that you want to tackle is a great way to organize your content. Remember that there are different kinds of online content- articles, videos, infographics, images- and it’s always a good idea to mix them or repurpose them into different forms.
Creative work takes time and effort- so you might want to consider outsourcing content planning, writing, video editing and graphics design to third-party partners to ensure that your content gets the focus that it deserves.
A word of caution though- I’ve seen too much copy-and-paste content (my pet peeve, actually) out there and you want to make sure that your content partner understands your brand well enough to make its unique personality shine through.
- You have a poorly-designed website
Over 90% of internet users use a mobile device to browse online. Bad website navigation, especially when not optimized for mobile devices, can make you lose visitors after they view only one page, jacking up your bounce rates and running your conversion rates to the ground.
How to solve it:
Websites with above 70% bounce rates have a very slim chance of ranking in Google.
How can you keep your layout clean and organized, and provide a friendly navigation experience for your website visitors?
- Create a sitemap to see how your website navigation looks and feels like
- Keep your navigation menu labels visible and clear
- Avoid the use of jargon
- Stick to best practices- prioritize clarity
- Add a search bar- again, people are impatient and want information quickly, and a search bar is highly helpful for this purpose
Bonus tip: Use other channels, such as Google My Business (this should be your priority), Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter to drive traffic to your website.
There are several more reasons why your new website might not be ranking in Google- but it’s always best to focus on the basics first: a fast and easy-to-navigate website with regular fresh and well-researched content that people actually enjoy reading.
Take time to evaluate where your website is on these three factors: speed, content and design. Then make the necessary changes, continue reviewing and realigning your goals- and eventually, you might find yourself on the first page of Google searches.
Don’t give up!