What to do if your Keywords don’t Rank?
You have created an incredible website and, of course, you know it is crucial to rank high in the search results. Therefore, you have also taken care of search engine optimization (SEO).
Each of your brand new website’s pages contains hand-picked keywords in all the right places. You have done everything and are now excited as you anticipate seeing your website shining at the top of the search engine results page.
But your website is nowhere to be found in the search results. It is not ranking, even after all you have done. Your keywords, which you thought would make your website soar, are not ranking.
Are The Search Engines Arrayed Against You?
Is it because the search engine giant has chosen you as an enemy and is avenging some uncommitted crime? Or is it because search marketing does not align with your lucky stars, and you should stick to the old-school print ads?
None of that.
The search engine is still fair to all websites. Yes, even yours. And search marketing can be profitable for everyone when done right.
So, what is the reason? Why won’t your keywords rank? Isn’t keyword optimization the backbone of SEO?
It Starts with Keyword Optimization
Keyword optimization is indeed one of the founding pillars of successful SEO; the key phrase being “one of the founding pillars.”
Multiple pillars support SEO and if one of these pillars is missing, your campaign could collapse or not progress at all.
In the search marketing world, these pillars are referred to as ranking factors. Your website needs to satisfy all of the latest ranking factors to have a fair chance of competing with other websites and finding a place among the top search results.
So, if your keywords are not ranking, look at the latest ranking factors and see what’s missing on your website.
Finding the right keywords and including them on your website is only one of the ranking factors. Website owners often fail to do that right. The success of a website’s keyword optimization is rooted in a careful selection of relevant keywords.
If your website isn’t ranking even after you have chosen and included keywords after thorough research, it could be because you are attempting to rank for highly competitive keywords.
It is Harder to Rank for Competitive Keywords
When too many websites, especially high authority ones, are trying to rank for a keyword, the keyword is said to be competitive. And so, it becomes difficult for other, newer websites to rank for it. So, if your keywords are not ranking, see if they are competing against the 800-pound gorillas of your industry. One way to do that is to google your keywords. If the established websites within your niche are ranking for it, it might be a good idea to look for other keywords.
Long-tail keywords are a reasonable alternative to short but competitive keywords. These phrases are more specific and often have significantly lower competition. Few websites are trying to rank for them, which gives you a chance to rank higher.
However, these keywords also have a lower search volume. That means fewer people use them. But that’s a compromise often worth doing. Once your website starts ranking for long-tail keywords and builds authority, you can target the shorter ones with a higher probability of success.
Content is King
But what to do if you are using long-tail keywords and your website still isn’t ranking? Another reason why keywords don’t rank is due to poor quality content.
Google has become content-driven. It prefers websites that feature high-quality, user-focused, and substantial content.
If your website has thin, low-quality content, it may continue to struggle in the search engine space.
Content marketing is done to solve the target audience’s most pressing problems and get their attention in return.
This is why your keywords may also not rank if your website content fails to align with what the users are looking for.
For example, if your users struggle with Math and you offer Chemistry solutions on your Math website, it will remain unable to connect with those users; it will not help them and it will not help your business.
On-Page Optimization Must be in Place Even Before Off-Page Optimization
Apart from content, poor on-page optimization can also be why your keywords don’t rank. Your website needs optimized meta tags to have a chance to rank higher. Meta tags include title tag or the title of the web page, meta description or the short description we see below the search results, alt tags which are used to describe on-site images, etc.
These tags help search engines and users understand what the website is about. And hence, if you skimp on them or neglect keyword-optimizing these tags, your web page may struggle to find visibility, despite being optimized otherwise.
On-page optimization is one thing but successful SEO also needs effective off-page optimization as well. Off-page optimization entails building a website’s online authority by getting links from other websites (backlinks).
Backlinks, Backlinks, Backlinks
Google prefers to rank high authority websites. And it judges a website’s authority based on the number of links it has from other websites. Google sees backlinks as votes of trust and is likely to rank websites with many high quality and relevant backlinks higher.
Therefore, if your website isn’t ranking, you need to build your backlink profile.
The number of backlinks needed to rank high depends on your niche. But you need to focus on the quality as well as quality while you build backlinks. That means finding relevant high authority websites to get links from.
Beware of Blackhat SEO
Before you double down on link acquisition though, know that Google is strictly against any shady approaches to link building. It classifies all such activities as illegitimate or “blackhat” SEO tactics and penalizes websites for them.
This brings us to the next reason why your keywords may not be ranking.
A search engine penalty restricts a website’s progress in the search engine space. These penalties can make it impossible to rank ever again in some cases.
If your website is struggling to rank, see if you are inadvertently involved in any blackhat SEO tactics that have earned you a penalty. This could be a possibility because many techniques that used to be SEO best practices have become blackhat tactics after certain algorithm updates.
Internal Links are also Important
After backlinking, internal linking can also become a hindrance to your search engine growth.
Internal linking is when you link a web page to other web pages on the same website. These links help Google understand and crawl your website better. Consequently, an effective interlinking strategy can help websites rank higher.
Make sure the important pages of your website are all interlinked. Your interlinking structure should look like a flowchart, with the primary page linked to the secondary pages and the secondary ones linked to the tertiary pages and so on.
Technical SEO also plays a crucial role in the overall ranking of your website. So, if your keywords don’t rank, even after you have done everything, it might help to look at the technical elements of your website and see if they need an uplift.
Load Speed and Mobile-Friendly Cannot Be Ignored
Your website could be performing poorly due to slow load speed or lack of mobile optimization. And this could be the reason it faces difficulties in ranking.
Find out your website’s load speed and if it is any more than a few seconds, optimize the website so it loads faster. Additionally, make sure each web page is optimized to load perfectly on mobile devices since most of the searches often come from smartphones.
So, can your website rank after you have taken care of all the factors mentioned above? Most likely.
But a high rank is never guaranteed when it comes to SEO.
There are Things You Can Control, and Things You Can’t
Why? Because certain uncontrollable factors influence your search engine rank, and if these uncontrollable factors are not on your side, your website can struggle to rank, despite being well-optimized otherwise. (Don’t worry, the search engine still isn’t against you in any way.)
If your webpage is new, it may take the search engine some time to discover it and include it in its database. And while this happens, you cannot do anything but wait for Google to notice your webpage and pick it up.
Additionally, Google’s proprietary algorithm also works in mysterious ways. No one outside of Google knows exactly how the search engine giant ranks websites, and all the tactics are essentially excellent guesses that tend to work.
Therefore, sometimes while doing everything right, there could be a part of the algorithm that you might be missing.
Apart from that, algorithm updates are also beyond your control. You can deploy all the best practices, use the best keywords, and still not rank because the algorithm changed overnight and rendered your website sub-optimal.
You are not the Only One Optimizing Your Keywords
Finally, your competition is another factor you cannot control as you try to rank.
Ranking among the top search results involves fierce competition. And if your competitors are investing large amounts in search marketing, running paid ads, and creating and publishing new content every day, it might become impossible to compete with them.
So be realistic, know who you can compete with and win and when it is better to pick an alternate route.
Ranking among the top search results unlocks many new opportunities for a business. And in a world where most people turn to search engines whenever they are looking for anything, appearing at the top is critical.
If your keywords are not ranking, and the solutions recommended here are too time-consuming or complicated for you to implement, consider talking to SEO professionals.
A Professional NJ SEO Consulting Company Can Help
Landau Consulting is a NJ SEO company that offers SEO in NJ and beyond and helps businesses find online visibility with experience-backed optimization tactics.
They have a team of specialists to take care of each of the ranking factors listed above and can help you do your best to rank higher.
Also, you might enjoy more informative and fun infographics on Landau Consulting’s Blog.