To many people, getting found on Google is a mystery. To make matters worse, those who know how Google works often like to keep this little black box a mystery. But, it’s not complicated. There is nothing magical about how search engines work.
Top 5 Reasons Why Websites Don’t Rank on Google
- The site is 100% Flash or sliced images (not crawlable by search engines)
- Nobody links to it (invisible, Google doesn’t know it exists)
- It contains malware, spam, or porn (Google thinks it is dangerous)
- Lots of competition (perhaps your keywords have multiple meanings)
- Google thinks it is not relevant (your keywords are not part of the site content)
How to Get Found on Google
So what do you do if your site reflects one or more of these 5 things?
If your site is 100% Flash or has a Flash intro (skip intro) then you probably need to remove it or embed it within a larger HTML/CSS page with content or transcripts of the Flash. The problem is that Google cannot hear what is being said or see what is being shown on a Flash animation. Google can only read letters and text. A good test is to try to highlight the words on your site. If you cannot highlight individual letters within the text of your site the Google probably cannot index those words.
- Hire an SEO savvy web designer who knows how to animate without Flash.
- Remove or minimize the Flash and images and make sure that there is as much content (text and words) on the site as photos and Flash.
- Make your site Section 508 compliant.
There are two ways that Google finds out about your site; 1) Site Submit, and 2) Links to your site from other sites crawled by Google. If Google has never seen or heard of your site then, for all intents and purposes, it is invisible. The remedy is easy:
- Submit your site content to Google – click this link
- Encourage webmasters and bloggers to link to or write about your site
Google is somewhat sensitive to sites with dangerous content, malware, and spam. If you have installed the Google Webmasters Tools verification code, then you can see if Google thinks your site contains malware and how Google sees your site.
- Sign up for Google Webmaster Central
- Clean up your site from dangerous content
If you are trying to compete on Google for a key word or keyword phrase that is extremely competitive then it is going to be extremely hard to compete and rank high. Moreover, if the key words or keyword phrases you are going for are generic or have multiple meanings then it’s going to be even harder for Google to determine if your website is relevant to a searcher’s query.
For example, say that you are trying to rank on Google for the word, “pan.” Pan has multiple meanings:
- A cooking utensil
- A sweeping movement
- A negative opinion
- Spanish for bread
- A Chinese family name
- A Norwegian film from 1922
- The name of the largest crater on one of Jupiter’s moons
- The name of a Greek god of shepherds and the countryside
- An arts and literary magazine published from 1895 to 1900
- An 1894 novel
Who would have known that the word, “pan,” had so many meanings? To make matters worse, imagine how many different websites might be competing for each multiple meaning? Solution:
- Be more specific with your key words
- Go for the long tail, 3-4 word keyword phrases
- Optimize for alternate keywords with less competition
- Focus on local geographic qualifiers, e.g., LA web designer
Recently, I had an owner of a massage spa in the Tenleytown section of Washington DC complain because she was not ranking on Google for the keyword phrase, “Tenleytown massage”. But, when I looked at her website, I did not see a single mention of the word, “Tenleytown.” How can you expect your site to rank for a keyword that does not exist on your site? By the way, if you are in the Tenleytown area of Washington DC and are looking for a massage spa, please visit The Spa Room.
- Determine and prioritize your key word phrases
- Make sure they are in your title tags of each page
- Make sure your URL and file path contain those key words
- Make sure your headings reflect these key words
- Make sure your link names reflect these key words
- Make sure your images are named after these key words
- Make sure your image alt text contains these keywords
- Make sure you write and blog about these subjects
- Make sure your content reflects these key word phrases
- Make sure people link to you using these words in their anchor text
I hope that helps. If you are having trouble, please contact us for a free consultation and website analysis.