Like in school, where grades make a big difference to your status, ranking high with websites isn’t easy. However, the formula for it isn’t plain hard-work; it is ‘Smart-Work.’

“Why is my website not ranking?” The woebegone cries of hardworking website owners!

This article lists the top 13 reasons why a deserving website fails to reach the high rank it is worthy of.

Ranging from ‘Un-Optimized Keywords’ to ‘Google Guidelines’, this list contains the most common points overlooked in most websites, thereby limiting their rankings.

Read through to identify your SEO mistakes and learn how to soar your SEO rankings in 2016.

1. Lack of Optimized Keywords

The words that a searcher might type when looking for information online through a search engine are known as keywords. These keywords are essential for the search engine to understand your article and hence, rate its utility. Try to include keywords wherever applicable to your website to ensure that it ranks high.

If you are new at this and aren’t sure of where to locate the keywords, follow this checklist:

Title – Title is the most important location. It helps search engine recognize the subject of your article. This is the first thing a potential reader lays eyes upon. Unavailability of the appropriate keywords will disinterest any user.

Web Content – Include keywords in Subheads and paragraphs to constantly direct the search engine towards the topic of your article/website to rank high and appropriate to the User’s Search Terms.

Image Alt Tag – The only way search engines can read images is by the keywords it is uploaded as. Naming an image something absolutely unrelated is the worst possible thing to do. (Eg – Naming an image of a car as ‘chair’ is BAD SEO.)

Name your image what it represents and name it appropriately with keywords.

Meta Description – Meta Description is the description you provide that gets displayed under the link on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

Using keywords here provides your sites-pages a smart advantage since an appropriate and attractive description of the web page results in higher Click Through Rates (CTR).

URL – Search Engines label and identify your webpages using URLs i.e., the link tailing your website. Ensure that URLs are easy to read and are understandable by humans to encourage them to click on it.

Ex: www.example.com/topic-name is easier to read than www.example.com/ExApl562748

2. Your site is S-L-O-W

How many times have you rage-closed a webpage just because it was loading too slowly?

Creating a website that loads too slowly is the fastest way to tell the user that you do not value their time. No one, is going to sit and wait for your pages to load.

Slow loading sites are the best way to frustrate the user. By creating a slow site, you are kicking away that user to your competitors’ sites.

Optimizing images (Cropping images, Using JPEG formats and resizing); reducing the number of plug-ins required; and reducing redirects are the easiest ways to start reducing your page’s loading time.

3. Irrelevant Content

What’s worse than a slow loading website?

Honestly, nothing.

However, irrelevant content is second on the list. The only thing people hate more than a slow site is a fast site that gives them nothing.

If you have a site called ‘moviereviews.com’ and post about irrelevant or unrelated topics like ‘Real Estate’, users are going to feel irritated and probably won’t ever visit your page again.
You don’t want that, do you?

4. Improper Back-links

  • Viewing articles is NOT like listening to music on iPod Shuffle.
  • Backlink is a link coming from another website to your webpage.
  • Providing backlinks to unrelated websites is a great way to make the user feel cheated and start mistrusting BOTH the sites. If your links are coming from unrelated sites or pages, they’ll be regarded as bad links.

Serious-minded users are not going to feel appreciated when a back-link from a travel website takes them to a web-development website.

Use your basic senses here. What is related to your website? Honestly answer this question to get the right back-links and never face this problem again.

5. Have you blocked GoogleBot

This is by far the stupidest mistake that can be made. It is the web equivalent of wearing your spectacles and looking everywhere for it.

GoogleBots are the web crawlers of the Search Engine giant: Google, which function to detect relevant web pages. If you have blocked it, then how are they supposed to find your pages, let alone rank you?

Fortunately it’s too easy to undo. You will usually be getting messages from google that it is unable to crawl your page and will give you instructions to check it out.

Alternatively, DNS errors in connecting to your domain or DNS providers unknowingly blocking GoogleBot can cause this error, and it can be easily fixed.

Don’t forget to check your firewall settings and your webmaster’s site-control options.

6. Not updating website content

If you don’t make it evident that you care about your webpages, Search Engines will assume you aren’t concerned. And if that is case, then they won’t be bothered to rank you high.

Keeping your articles fresh and alive is the easiest way to let engines know that you are dedicating the fullest of your attention to all your posts.

Keep a track of your posts, stay focused and keep yourself updated with your field of study. Now and then update your content to keep the articles alive.

7. Mobile-hating website

If Google rules the world of Search Engines, then Mobile devices rule the internet-viewing world.

Making a website that doesn’t respond appropriately or fast enough to mobile-viewers is like fighting a losing war for the reward of low rankings. You are supposed to improve website traffic. Not discourage it.

People use mobiles a lot. Make your site mobile friendly and search engines will make your webpage ‘Rank-Friendly.’

8. Duplicate Content

There isn’t a lack of data on the net. In-fact, there is too much. Search Engines are tired of dealing with useless, fake, inappropriate and duplicate content. If you want to irritate search engines, duplicating content is one way to do it.

Naturally, duplicate content does not high rankings make.
However, this mistake can also be made if your articles aren’t being tended to by you or by mismanagement of posts.

Now, we aren’t assuming that you would do this, but: Do NOT steal anyone’s articles. Search Engines have their way of tracking the original source of any online content, so you won’t be fooling anybody.

In fact, duplicating anyone’s rightful content is equivalent to plagiarism, is in defiance of Google’s guidelines. If they so deem necessary, they can penalize you for it.

9. Too many Broken Links

Similar to the concept of irrelevant back-links, providing users with links to sites that are dead, no longer functional or attached, broken and showing errors will reduce your ranking by a significant deal.

Providing utterly useless broken links on your sites can cause search engines to assume your pages are just as useless. Result? Low ranking.

Sometimes it isn’t your fault when a previously active link suddenly vanishes without prior warnings. Keep this in check by monitoring your links regularly, and fixing any breakages.

(The tool ‘Dead Link Checker’ could prove useful in monitoring)

10. Website Content is Anti-Search-Engine

Not following search engine guidelines in open defiance of their rules is equivalent to inviting a losing battle for yourself.

Follow the basic rules set by the search engines to even be qualified to rank high. Here’s the basics:

Focus on the Users:
The purpose of the web is to help users. Focus on what they need.
Link Others:
Coexist. You can’t live alone on the web. Link others and help spread info.
Easily Accessible:
Logical text structure and at least one static text link are all that engines require.
Don’t Cheat:
For your own good, refrain from trying to fool the search engines by keyword stuffing, purchasing links, etc. They know all the tricks. Don’t piss them off.

11. Targeting highly competitive Keywords

This is more of a smart move than a trick.

Naturally, if you write on a topic that is in high demand or is highly popular, your article is bound to get lost in the crowd.

Using keywords that a large crowd uses will cause your article to dissolve within the flow and hence will have low visibility. Drift away from the crowd. Stand Out. The way to do that is to be creative and smart with your keywords.

12. New Website

Be PATIENT.

All new entries take time to get recognized and ranked. You can’t just overnight become a first ranker. It takes time.

Often, the new sites require some time to gain the search engine’s trust along with a decent following. Just keep at the good work and results ought to follow soon.

13. Missing Internal Linking

This is an unspoken way of displaying confidence and your interest in having site visitors to the user. If your site provides links that takes the user through and through your site, displaying the content you have built, it will be sign on confidence on your part. It will show that you are inviting the user into the website, are guiding them with hospitality and are laying bare everything.

“Make your site so well interconnected, that the user doesn’t want to exit” — Just a little something to put on your wallpaper.

Conclusion

The big question: “Why is my website not ranking?” has an answer that many have guessed, but never gone to the depths with. This article has listed the most common reasons why you fail to reach the apex, and feel dejected.

Start following the above points and do the needful, because before you know it, you can get lost in this web crowd.

Stand Out. Rank High.

Good Luck!

Guest post by: Rintu Biswas is an SEO expert at MyTasker, a professional SEO Company. He is extremely passionate about his work. He has been in the SEO Industry for 5 years.