Search engine optimization (SEO) encompasses many things: keywords, content, meta information, backlinks, technical issues, guidelines, search engine algorithms, etc.
Because of this reason, it could be hard to identify what exactly is the reason if a website is unable to rank higher in the search engine result pages (SERPs).
If you are struggling with the same issue and do not know where you should look into, this blog post is for you.
Here are six reasons why your content might not be ranking higher in the SERPs, and what you can do to fix the problems.
1. Missing meta information
Meta information includes meta titles and meta descriptions for any web page. Meta information is not considered as important as it was a decade ago. Now, there are more important search engine ranking factors that have a bigger impact on a site’s rankings in the SERPs.
However, that does not mean that you can consistently rank well without providing search engines relevant and useful meta information.
Meta title and meta descriptions serve multiple purposes:
- Meta information helps search engines understand the main topic of your web page. This, in turn, enables search engine algorithms to rank your content for the right keywords and keyword phrases.
- Second, meta information also encourages more clicks and increases organic CTR. This sends a positive signal to search engines that users prefer your content in the SERPs.
Make sure that create unique meta title and meta description for each web page. It is also important to include your primary and LSI keywords in both meta tags. Lastly, the meta description — as well as the meta title — should be interesting, attention-grabbing, and a true description of the contents of your web page.
2. Low-quality or thin content
Any search engine optimization strategy is supported by the quality and quantity of a site’s content. You might be doing other things right, but if your content is not up to par, you will have a hard time ranking on the top positions in the SERPs.
If you are struggling with achieving higher rankings, it would be a good idea to audit your content and identify the reasons why it’s not working.
First, start with your best-performing content. You can find that information in Google Analytics (Behavior Reports). Try to identify a pattern in your best-performing blog posts, e.g., the length of the blog post, the main topic and subtopics, the usage of subheadings and graphics, etc.
This will give you a template that you can use and try to replicate the success more often.
Generally, you need to follow three basic rules when creating high-quality content:
- Make sure it actually solves a problem for your target audience. Do not publish content just for the sake of it.
- Create long-form content, which is likely to rank on the first search engine result page. A study reveals that articles with 2,000+ words have a better chance to make it to the first page.
- Before publishing, take an unbiased look at your content and determine if it’s better than the posts that are currently ranking on the first search engine result page. Ideally, it should be.
3. A weak backlink profile
A weak backlink profile is another main reason why so many websites struggle with search engine optimization and higher search engine rankings.
Backlinks serve as votes of confidence from other websites. High-quality backlinks from reputable and well-established sites indicate to search engines that your content is worthy.
If you have a weak backlink profile, you will find it tougher to rank on the top of the SERPs. You can check your site’s backlinks with our backlinks test.
Here are a few rules or best practices that you need to remember regarding backlinks:
- Your backlink profile should appear natural. This includes a mix of backlinks from authoritative websites and sites that are not that popular.
- Relevance is extremely important when it comes to link-building. Google Penguin specifically penalizes websites — and demotes their pages in the SERPs — if they have many backlinks from irrelevant websites.
- The quality of backlinks your website has is more important than the total number of backlinks.
4. Slow loading speed
The loading speed of your website is now an important search engine ranking factor. The following chart shows a direct correlation between higher search engine rankings and faster loading websites.
A website that takes forever to load directly impacts the user experience. Search engines do not want to rank a website on the top if it only frustrates the users with its slow loading speed.
Moreover, the loading speed of a website also directly impacts conversion rate and, therefore, revenue. Approximately 79 percent of customers say that they are less likely to buy from a website if they are not satisfied with its performance. Theoretically, if Amazon.com slows down by just one second, it would lose $1.6 billion in sales each year.
Check the loading speed of your website here and learn various tips and tricks on how to resolve the major issues you may find.
5. Mobile unfriendliness and usability issues
Mobile devices have become an integral part of search engine optimization. After all, mobile traffic has officially surpassed desktop traffic. Google has also shifted to a mobile-first index, which only reinforces the importance of mobile devices and traffic in the SEO world.
If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you will have a hard time getting ranked on the top of the SERPs. Ideally, you should not design your site for mobile devices first. Make sure that everything is easily accessible, navigable, and functional on the smaller screen sizes. Also, be mindful of the interstitial ads on mobile devices — which can have a significant negative impact on your website’s search engine rankings.
6. Not following Google’s Webmaster guidelines
Google has provided several quality guidelines that website owners must follow to have a better chance of higher search engine rankings.
The gist of the guidelines is to create valuable, useful, and informative content for human readers — not for search engines — and provide the best possible experience to website visitors.
In addition to these quality guidelines, Google has also specified several black hat SEO practices that no one should follow. If a website is involved in any of these prohibited black hat SEO practices, it will likely not be able to rank on the top of the SERPs.
Some of these prohibited SEO techniques are:
- Doorway pages
- Hidden links or text snippets
- Buying and purchasing backlinks
- Automatically generated or duplicate content
- Keyword stuffing
- Abusing rich snippets markup
There are many reasons why a website might struggle with higher search engine rankings. More often than not, however, it could be one of these six reasons.
Make sure that you are not making any of these mistakes.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us.