Why Is My Website Not Showing On Google? 10 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Confused drawing of a man looking lost for our post Why Is My Website Not Showing On Google?

This post was written by Jordan Farrar

30 Nov, 2023
Confused drawing of a man looking lost for our post Why Is My Website Not Showing On Google?

Introduction: Why Isn’t Your Website Showing on Google?

It’s a question we often hear at Akoca: ‘Why is my website not showing on Google? If you’re in this boat, you’re certainly not rowing alone.

Many wonder why their digital storefront isn’t making its mark where it matters most – on Google’s search pages.

In this post, we’re going to demystify this for you. From SEO missteps to content challenges, we’ll delve into both the common and the less apparent reasons your site might be keeping a low profile.

By the end of this post, you’ll have a clear understanding of why your site might be invisible on Google and practical steps to elevate its visibility.

So, let’s get to it…

Identifying Common Issues: The Basics of Website Visibility

Online visibility can be tricky, and often, it’s the small things that make a big difference. Let’s walk through the basics of website visibility together and pinpoint the usual suspects that might be keeping your site out of Google’s spotlight.

  1. Mismatch with Search Intent: Ensure your content aligns with what users are searching for related to your business or industry.
  2. Poor Keyword Optimisation: Ensure you’re using relevant keywords effectively in your content and meta tags.
  3. Content Duplication Issues: Avoid having the same or very similar content across multiple pages of your site.
  4. Basic Technical Glitches: Look for common technical issues like broken links, slow loading times, or unresponsive design.
  5. New Website Visibility Delay: If your site is new, it might not show up immediately in search results.
  6. Search Engine Access Blocked: Check if your site settings or server configurations are unintentionally preventing search engine indexing.
  7. Crawl Blockage in Robots.txt File: Ensure your robots.txt file isn’t blocking search engines from crawling your site.
  8. Inconsistent Business Listings: Verify that your business information is consistent and accurate across all online directories and platforms.
  9. Improper 301 Redirects for Changed URLs: Mishandling redirects when changing URLs can disrupt indexing and hurt search rankings. It’s essential to redirect old URLs correctly to preserve SEO performance.
  10. Potential Google Penalties: Check if there are any penalties imposed by Google due to non-compliance with their guidelines.

Deep Dive into Website Visibility: Detailed Analysis and Practical Fixes

Mismatch with Search Intent

The Problem

Imagine your website as a specialty bookstore. If a customer walks in looking for cookbooks but you only display novels, they won’t find what they need, even though they’re in the right store. Similarly, if your website content doesn’t match what your audience is searching for, your site might not appear in relevant search results, despite being indexed.

The Solution

To align your website with your audience’s search intent, first understand the questions and keywords they use when looking for your products or services. Then, tailor your content to address these queries directly. This approach ensures your website is like a well-organized bookstore, where customers find exactly what they’re looking for, enhancing your site’s relevance and visibility in search results.

Poor Keyword Optimisation

The Problem

Think of keywords as the clues you give Google to help it understand what your website offers. If you’re not using the right keywords, or if they’re not well-integrated into your content, it’s like trying to guide someone to your location without clear signs. They might never find you, even though you have what they’re looking for.

The Solution

To optimise your keywords effectively, start by researching the terms and phrases your target audience uses when searching for your services or products. Incorporate these keywords naturally into your website’s content, titles, and meta descriptions. Remember, it’s not just about quantity; the relevance and placement of keywords are crucial for guiding the right traffic to your site. For more on Keyword research, check out our post on 7 Keyword Research Tips You Can Apply Today.

Content Duplication Issues

The Problem

Having duplicate content on your website sends mixed signals to search engines. When multiple pages have substantially similar or identical content, it confuses them. They struggle to determine which page to prioritise, potentially leading to none of them ranking well.

The Solution

Audit your website to identify any duplicate content. This includes not just text but also meta tags and descriptions. Once identified, either modify the content to make it unique or use canonical tags to tell Google which version is the primary one. This clarity helps Google understand your site’s structure better and rank your pages appropriately.

Basic Technical Glitches

The Problem

Common technical issues like broken links, slow loading times, or an unresponsive design can significantly hinder your website’s performance on search engines. These glitches create a poor user experience, which Google takes seriously. It’s akin to having a high-street shop with a jammed door and flickering lights – not very inviting for customers.

The Solution

Regularly check your website for any technical issues. Use tools like screaming frog to scan for broken links, test your website’s loading speed, and ensure it’s mobile-friendly. Addressing these issues not only improves your site’s usability for visitors but also enhances its standing in Google’s eyes, making your site more likely to appear in search results.

New Website Visibility Delay

The Problem

If your website is relatively new, it might not immediately show up in Google’s search results. This delay is similar to a new business opening in town – it takes a bit of time for locals to discover it and for it to gain popularity.

The Solution

Firstly, ensure you submit your website’s sitemap to Google Search Console then  allow some time for indexing. New sites can take a while to appear in search results.

Search Engine Access Blocked

The Problem

If your website settings or server configurations are unintentionally blocking search engines, it’s akin to having a ‘Do Not Enter’ sign on your website’s door. This prevents search engines from indexing your site, making it invisible in search results.

Server (CPanel) blocking search engine

Server (CPanel) blocking search engine

The Solution

Review your website’s settings and server configurations to ensure they’re not inadvertently blocking search engines.

WordPress settings image of an arrow showing the option 'Discourage search engines from indexing this site'

Unblock Search Engine Access on your WordPress Website

Crawl Blockage in Robots.txt File

The Problem

If your robots.txt file is configured to block search engines, it prevents them from crawling and indexing your pages. This can result in your website becoming invisible in search results.

The Solution

To check if this is the case for your website, simply append /robots.txt to your site’s URL (e.g., examplesite.co.uk/robots.txt). If you find directives like Disallow: /, it means your site is blocking search engine access. You’ll need to modify these settings to allow search engines to crawl your site. If you’re not comfortable editing the robots.txt file yourself, consider consulting with a web developer or using online tools to guide you. Ensuring your robots.txt file is correctly set up is crucial for search engine visibility.

Inconsistent Business Listings

The Problem

Inconsistent or inaccurate business listings across various online directories and platforms can confuse both potential customers and search engines. If your business name, address, phone number, or other key details vary from one listing to another, it undermines the credibility and trustworthiness of your business. This inconsistency can negatively impact your local SEO efforts and make it harder for your website to appear in relevant local searches.

The Solution

Start by conducting an audit of all the places your business is listed online, including directories like Google My Business, Yelp, and industry-specific platforms. Ensure that your business information is uniform and up-to-date across all these listings. Consistency in your business details not only helps in improving your local SEO but also builds trust with your audience. Regularly monitoring and updating your listings can significantly enhance your online visibility, especially in local search results.

Improper 301 Redirects for Changed URLs

The Problem

Changing URLs is common during site redesigns or migrations. When you change the URLs of your website pages, it’s crucial to implement 301 redirects correctly. These redirects tell search engines that a page has permanently moved to a new location. If done incorrectly, it can lead to indexing issues, where the old URL still appears in search results but leads to a dead link, or the new URL doesn’t get indexed at all. This can harm your site’s SEO and user experience.

The Solution

To ensure smooth transitions during URL changes, carefully set up 301 redirects from the old URLs to the new ones. This process involves updating your website’s .htaccess file or using redirect plugins if you’re on a platform like WordPress. It’s important to test these redirects to make sure they’re working correctly. By managing your 301 redirects correctly, you maintain the SEO value of the old pages and ensure that visitors and search engines are directed to the correct new pages, preserving your site’s search rankings and user experience.

Potential Google Penalties

The Problem

Google penalties can significantly impact your website’s visibility. These penalties are typically a result of non-compliance with Google’s guidelines, such as using black-hat SEO techniques, having spammy backlinks, or publishing low-quality content. If Google detects these issues, it may penalise your site, leading to a drop in rankings or even removal from search results.

The Solution

To avoid or address Google penalties, start by reviewing Google’s Search Essentials to understand the best practices. If you suspect a penalty, use tools like Google Search Console to check for any notifications or issues. Address these issues promptly by removing harmful backlinks, improving content quality, or correcting any SEO tactics that go against Google’s guidelines. After making the necessary changes, you can submit a reconsideration request to Google. It’s important to be thorough and transparent in your request, detailing the changes made to comply with Google’s standards. Regular monitoring and adherence to ethical SEO practices are key to maintaining a good standing with Google and ensuring your website’s visibility.

Image showing the manual actions section within google search console

Google Search Console Manual Actions

Summing Up: Solving the Puzzle of Online Visibility

In conclusion, understanding why your website is not showing on Google involves a multifaceted approach. From ensuring your content matches search intent to optimising for mobile SEO, each aspect plays a crucial role in your online visibility. Remember, technical SEO tools can be invaluable in diagnosing and resolving issues, whether they’re related to site speed, mobile responsiveness, or backlink profiles.

By addressing the common issues we’ve discussed, such as duplicate content, crawl blockages, and potential Google penalties, you’re not just fixing immediate problems. You’re also laying a strong foundation for your website’s long-term success in search rankings.

Remember, SEO is a continuous effort of learning, and adaptation. If you’re still wondering, “Why is my website not showing on Google?” and need more guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out, we’ll be happy to help.

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