Have you tried searching the keywords that you targeted throughout your site, only to find that you don’t rank well for any of them? What’s going wrong?
Google’s algorithm changes all the time, and it’s hard to know exactly what they’re looking for. What we do know is that they want to provide high-quality relevant results to searchers every time.
If you’re not ranking, you’re probably making a common search engine optimization (SEO) mistake. Some of these results in penalties and others are just a missed opportunity.
Here’s what to look for.
Engaging in Grey or Black-Hat Strategies
Let’s just get this one out of the way first. If you’re trying to game the system, or engaging in not-quite-approved strategies, you’re likely to be penalized by Google. As a result, you won’t rank well – and it will be hard for you to do so even if you make changes in the future.
What are these not-quite-right strategies? Here are some things that Google looks for and punishes:
- Low-quality link building from paid link websites
- Keyword stuffing
- Duplicate content
- Cloaked or invisible text
- Hidden links
- Content lifted from other sites
If you want to do well with your search engine optimization, you need to follow Google’s webmaster guidelines and make sure everything is above board.
Using the Wrong Keywords
If you are a small business, like an auto repair shop in Toronto, you want to make sure you target the right keywords.
You can’t shoot for something like “auto repair.” It’s too broad and the competition is very high. Unless you want to spend a lot of money – and it’s not worth it – you’ll never rank for those terms.
Instead, focus on keywords that make more sense for your business and location. Things like “brake repair in Toronto” might be perfect for your business. You can also answer common questions and focus on longer keywords like “how to fix squeaking breaks.”
Not sure what keywords are the best for your company? No problem. A professional SEO consultant in Toronto can help with everything you need.
Not Addressing Your Customers’ Needs
Is all of your content about how amazing you are as a company? If so, it’s likely that your website isn’t serving your readers’ needs, which means they aren’t sticking around.
Even more importantly, because you aren’t addressing the concerns people commonly search for, Google has no reason to rank you highly. Your self-focused site is not getting attention from search engines or from potential customers.
To fix the problem, use a website like AnswerThePublic to find common questions that search engine users ask about your products and services. Create content around those questions, and over time you’ll see your search engine results improve dramatically.
The goal is to be as relevant and useful as possible, so create your content with those goals in mind!
A Website That’s Slow or Not Secure
If you haven’t carefully chosen your hosting service to meet your website’s needs, you may have a slow loading time. A slow website drives away visitors, and Google uses site speed as a ranking signal.
To test your website’s speed, use a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights to see how you stack up. If speed is a concern, optimize your image sizes, eliminate auto-play features, and make sure your hosting service is high-quality. You can also take advantage of browser caching to help repeat visitors have a faster load time.
When it comes to security, HTTPS is king. If you haven’t bought a high-quality security certificate, you can do everything else perfectly and you still won’t rank. Google takes security very seriously and uses HTTPS as a ranking signal.
Fortunately, HTTPS is easy to purchase, generally from your domain provider or hosting service. You can have your webmaster install it, and you won’t have to worry about security concerns – or ranking issues.
Failing to Optimize for Mobile
More than half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices. Google started boosting mobile-optimized sites several years ago, and now it specifically downgrades sites that don’t display and function well on a smaller screen.
What does it mean to be mobile-friendly? You’ll want to make sure you don’t use software that’s not commonly found on phones, such as Flash. Text should be easy to read on a small screen without being too big or small. Your menus need to be easy to access and navigate on a small touchscreen.
If you’ve taken these steps, you’re in good shape when it comes to mobile optimization. Not only does that benefit your search ranking, it helps more users get to benefit from your website.
Are You Making These Mistakes?
These are just a few of the most common mistakes that can cause you to not rank as highly as you expect. If you correct these mistakes, you should see increasing rankings over time.
Don’t give up on SEO. It’s a process. Be sure you’re using all the best practices today!
Katrina is a hardworking individual who always gives her best. As a degree holder, she aspires to establish herself within the media industry. Her passion for everything fashion and adventure made her a go-getter. Expert in building an online partnership, she’s been working in the digital marketplace for several years.
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