“Build a website” they said.  “It’ll grow your business,” they said.  So you did it, you hired a web designer to build you a beautiful website.

And then you sat back and waited for the phone to start ringing.  After all, you did it, you built a website for your business, just like all the experts told you.

There’s just one problem.  The phone isn’t ringing.  Your business hasn’t grown.  At all.

Where did you go wrong?

Unfortunately, if all it took to grow a business was to have a website, lots more people would be millionaires.  If your website isn’t bringing in the big bucks liked you’d hoped, there’s probably a reason why.  

That reason is traffic.  No one knows you exist because your website doesn’t come up in search results.  You aren’t ranking for searches or keywords relevant to your business, so your site just sits.

No Traffic = No Growth

People have to be able to find you in a web search when they’re looking for your product or service.  How to get better rankings is a complicated issue, so for now let’s just take a look at 5 things that could be preventing you from coming up in search results.

There are actually over 200 factors (that we know about) that go into how your site ranks, but these are the top 5 reasons why we see websites not ranking well in search results.

  1. You haven’t done any SEO.  When you built your website, did you also optimize it for the search engines?  Did you add title tags, headers, and keyword/topic rich content?  Is your site optimized for speed?  If you want to rank well with the search engines, they need to be able to understand what your site is about and how it will help users.  You can accomplish that by optimizing your site.  
  2. Your site isn’t mobile friendly.  Did you know there are now more searches on mobile devices than desktops?  If your website isn’t optimized for a mobile experience there’s a good chance you won’t rank well, especially if your competitors have mobile-friendly websites.
  3. Your content is thin, stale, or outdated.  Google, and all the search engines, want to provide the best results possible.  If your content isn’t helpful or authoritative, your site won’t rank well.  Show off what you know about your industry and niche by sharing helpful content on your site.  Of course, what “helpful” means could vary from business to business, but in general, make sure you aren’t posting outdated information and that your content answers questions your customers might have.
  4. No one is linking to your site.  Backlinks are still one of the most important signals for ranking a website.  Links are a clear signal that other people find your information useful.  If your content is not good, you won’t get links.  No links, less ranking.  And don’t even think about buying links.  You could find yourself penalized for that!
  5. You got on Google’s bad side.  There are specific guidelines for helping Google find, index, and rank your site.  If, somehow, you unknowingly didn’t follow the guidelines, you might be under a penalty.  There are two types of penalties to watch out for:
    1. Manual Penalty.  This means that you violated Google’s webmaster guidelines and your violation has been verified by a human person.  To find out if your site is under a manual penalty, check Google Search Console.  That’s where you’ll receive a message about any manual penalties.  No message?  It could be an algorithmic issue.
    2. Algorithmic Penalty.  This means that something about your site has caused it to be suppressed by the normal ranking algorithm.  You won’t receive any messages about what could be causing the problem and it might take a little detective work to figure out what’s wrong.  Try the Google Penalty Checker to see if you can learn which update may have impacted your website, then take steps to get back into Google’s good graces.
  6. Your site is too new.  If you literally put your website up yesterday and are wondering why there’s no traffic, the only solution to this problem is time.  It can take a few months to a year for your website to start showing up in search results.

When your website isn’t getting much traffic, it can be frustrating.  And there are easily many more reasons why your site isn’t ranking, but these are the reasons we see the most.  Try fixing the issues we talked about first, give your site a bit of time, and see if your rankings improve.

If you need help or would prefer some guidance, we can help!