Why is my website not ranking in Google?

Business owners who are new to SEO often wonder why their attempts to rank in Google go unnoticed. "But I've optimised my site, I'm using keywords", and "I have a blog" might seem like they're enough, but there's a little more to it than that. Here are a few reasons you may not be ranking in Google:

You are not doing keyword research properly

Some people think keyword research is just looking at the suggested phrases at the bottom of a Google search listing. This is not keyword research. Yes, these are popular searched phrases and you can use them as a guide, but we don't really have much data on them, and they're not likely to help us rank. Instead, you will need to use a keyword research tool. I use Keysearch, because it's cost effective at $17USD per month and it does everything I need it to. If you want to take keyword research seriously, you must use a tool and you should be able to distinguish between what makes a good keyword, and what is one to avoid.

You are targeting keywords which are too difficult to rank for

It would be great to rank for something like "home builder sydney" but there are a lot of businesses (with much bigger budgets) already optimising for it, so unless your website is very authoritative you don't stand a good chance (at least not in the beginning). It's important to first begin with easier to rank for keywords that will drive traffic to your blog. More traffic means more opportunities for rankings later on. Eventually, with some work you will be able to compete for more challenging keywords. Patience is key!

You're expecting quick results

SEO is for businesses who are in it for the long haul, and who ultimately don't want to spend a tonne of money on advertising. If you want quick results with immediate ROI then definitely go for PPC or online advertising (it's worth getting a professional to help you, because it does get quite tricky). Ranking in Google can take months, but it can also take days depending on your domain and how trustworthy it is in the eyes of Google.

Your website domain is too young

It takes time for Google to trust new domains, so you are unlikely to rank well within the first 6-12 months especially if you are not receiving much traffic. You'll have to play the waiting game for a while, and this is a good time to start driving traffic through ads.

You do not have a high Domain Authority

Domain Authority is a score developed by Moz that indicates how authoritative your domain is, and it takes into account a number of factors including how old your domain is and how many links you have pointing to it. You always begin with a DA of 1 and you can build towards 100 - the highest score. Scores of 30+ have a decent chance at ranking #1 for specific keywords (I've seen it many times) so you don't need to have an incredibly high score in order to rank. It's a good idea to get help from a professional to improve your DA score if it's low.

Of course, ranking in Google is a messy subject and there are many other reasons why you might not be ranking – these are just a few. At the end of the day, with the right strategy and a focus on delivering great content, ranking is not quite as much of a challenge as most people think.

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Psst.. If you want to learn more about keyword research, I'm developing a course on generating content ideas to improve your rankings. It's completely FREE and there are many valuable things to learn that you can use for your business (no matter what it is!) check out the course here, and find out when it goes live!