News & Insights


5 Reasons Why Your Website is Not Ranking in Google

pwd staff OLIVER WOOD
Oliver Wood

|28th May 2016

Your website is a valuable asset.

One that can drive more targeted traffic and increase sales to your business. But you need to be ranking in the search results for that to happen. Given how competitive the digital landscape is and the constant changes that Google implements, simply having a site is no longer enough to rank.

So you start to optimise your content and even upload fresh posts to your blog. Then you start to build some links to your pages. But despite all your efforts your site has barely moved in the search results.


Here we look at the five most common reasons why your site is not ranking in Google.

1. Your Site is Still New

Google evaluates hundreds of different factors to determine rankings.

One of these is domain authority or how established your site is.

The reason why some sites can instantly rank for even competitive keywords is because of the authority and credibility they have established over the years. If your site is still new, it won’t have the same advantage. In fact, ranking at all in the search results can easily take weeks or even months.

If you have recently registered a new domain for your business, this is likely the reason why your site is not yet ranking. In the meantime, continue writing engaging content and building quality links to your pages. Your site will gradually climb in the search results as your site establishes authority.

2. Your Content is Poorly Optimised

SEO has undergone a number of significant changes over the last few years. But on-page factors continue to carry a great deal of weight. If the quality of your content is lacking, then your pages stand little chance of ranking.

Optimise each of the following aspects of your content to improve your rankings:

Title tags: Titles are the first thing that visitors see in the search results. Include your primary keywords here and make your title enticing to increase click through rates.

Meta descriptions: These are short snippets of text that appear underneath the titles in the search results. Include your target keywords here and write a brief call to action to get visitors to click through.

Content: In addition to including your main keywords, your content really needs to be top notch to rank. Poorly written content is one of the main reasons why most sites don’t rank at all in Google.

Optimising these factors won’t necessarily guarantee that you rank. But it will give your site a strong competitive advantage as most businesses don’t even bother with content optimisation. Be careful not to keyword stuff your content as doing as can result in a ranking penalty.

3. Your Site Has Questionable Links

It used to be that having a lot of links could shoot your site to the top. But many marketers and business owners started spamming their sites with as many links as possible. This led to a decline in quality in the search results so Google rolled out the Penguin update to penalise sites engaged in manipulative tactics.

Having too many links from spammy sources is a major red flag. It also happens to be one of the main reasons why many sites don’t rank at all in Google.

This is not to discourage you from link building. Links continue to carry a great deal of weight in ranking algorithm but focus on building quality links from relevant sources. If your site has been penalised due to the Penguin update, take measures to remove any offending links and submit your site again for reconsideration.

4. Your Site is Poorly Designed

Design matters.

There is nothing more frustrating than a site that is poorly designed. You could have the best products or services but it won’t matter if visitors are unable to navigate through your site. This is why a quality design that reflects your brand is an absolute must and well worth the investment.

Bounce rates are another important consideration. If visitors are leaving your pages just as quickly as they arrive, the design could be to blame. Google notices this of course and assumes that visitors aren’t finding what they are looking for. So your site could be pushed farther down for your keywords.

5. Your Site Isn’t Mobile Friendly

A mobile friendly site is more essential than ever.

Global traffic on mobile devices has surpassed traffic on desktop devices:


Google is constantly changing its algorithm to take such trends into account. So a new update was rolled out that makes mobile-friendliness a ranking factor. What this means is that your site will experience a drop in rankings in mobile search if it is not optimised for mobile devices.

If your site is not ranking, this could be the reason why. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check if your site meets all the requirements and make those changes if it’s not.


Google drives a majority of online traffic.

Ranking for your target keywords can practically guarantee a steady stream of traffic to your landing pages, leading to more sales for your business. But your site won’t receive any traffic if it’s not visible in Google. If your site is not ranking it could be due to a number of reasons as detailed above. Take steps to optimise the content of your site, build relevant links, and invest in a quality design.