It can be very frustrating to spend time and money on your website and in the end, it doesn’t rank on Google. You probably think you’ve done everything right. However, if it’s not indexed, your clients will not be able to find your website on Google.
According to Google “Indexing” is:
“A page is indexed by Google if it has been visited by the Google crawler (“Googlebot”), analyzed for content and meaning, and stored in the Google index. Indexed pages can be shown in Google Search results (if they follow Google’s webmaster guidelines). While most pages are crawled before indexing, Google may also index pages without access to their content (for example, if a page is blocked by a robots.txt directive).”
According to the definition you need to follow certain rules, called Google’s webmaster guidelines in order to get your website “stored” to Google’s database or index. Once your website is indexed Google will show your page to any user who is performing a query using keywords relevant to your site.
However, sometimes, even when you follow Google’s guidelines, your site may not be indexed properly and therefore doesn’t appear in Google searches. There might be several reasons for this happening. Good news, they all can be fixed.
In this article we are going to discuss the most common reasons why websites are not indexed on Google.
Your Website Is New
If you’ve just built and launched your website it needs time to show up in search engine results. It’s actually pretty common for new websites to not be indexed. In fact, it can take several weeks for Google to index your website. You didn’t do anything wrong, it’s just that Google needs time to crawl your new website and include it in its index.
There are different factors that are playing here. Since your website is new, you probably don’t have enough quality inbound links. You need time to get more high-quality links which will benefit your website authority, so don’t expect to see your website showing up on the first page of the results right away.
There’s one easy way to check if Google knows that your website exists. You can perform a search for:
This is an example with DevriX website:
DevriX.com is not a new website and as you can see there are about 985 results. Try it now with your website and see the results. Keep in mind if there is at least one result this means Google has discovered your website. In case there are no results – it’s just Google needs more time to crawl your page.
Still, there is something you can do to help your rankings while “waiting” for Google to discover your website. You can create a sitemap and submit it via Google Search Console. It’s something you need to do anyway, as the sitemap is a list of your website pages and it helps search engines crawl your pages easily. It’s also obligatory for your SEO as it tells Google which pages are important on your website and where to find them. In addition, it will help speed up the discovery process.
Check Your robots.txt File
Most websites should have something called a robots.txt file that instructs search engines where they can or can’t go on your website. If you have blocked your website and told Google not to crawl certain URLs then Google won’t visit their pages and it usually results in them not showing up in search results.
If you’ve submitted your sitemap via Google Search Console, it should alert you about issues related to this. Keep in mind that you will get alerts if Google bots have attempted to crawl your URLs. If Google still hasn’t discovered your website then this won’t be the case.
Another way to check if your robots.txt file doesn’t block your pages is to type in your browser: yourwebsite.com/robots.txt:
DIsallow shows the pages that are blocked from being crawled from Google. Check if you have the following command in your file:
This blocks Google from crawling your website. In addition, you don’t want to have “Disallow” for any of your important pages such as your blog, product pages or FAQ pages. This will prevent them from being discovered by Google. If they are not discovered they won’t rank in Google when a user searches for the keywords related to your site and as a result the users will never discover your website nor buy from you.
You Don’t Have Enough High-Quality Backlinks
We discussed earlier in this article the lack of high-quality backlinks can be one of the reasons your website is not indexed on Google. It’s true that hundreds of factors play into Google’s algorithm and no one knows for sure all the details on Google’s ranking system. However the number of high-quality backlinks is a pretty strong factor and seriously affects your rankings.
There is an easy way to check the number of unique websites linking to your pages. There are different free or paid SEO tools that provide you with this information. The easiest way is to use the Ahrefs Backlink Checker or the Link Explorer by Moz.
In this example we are going to use Ahrefs. Once you type your domain or URL into the search bar you will see how many unique referring domains link to your website exist. See “Referring Domains” column on the screenshot below.
The column shows how many unique referring domains link to your website. If your website is new you will have a really low number. To have a better idea of how many referring domains you should have you can compare with your competitors. Analyzing their websites will give you an idea of where to begin when you start your link building campaigns.
Your Website Is Lacking Authority
Building high-quality links is related to your domain authority or domain rating. The rule that applies is the more high-quality links, the bigger authority.
Keep in mind there are different tools that measure the domain rating and the number could vary depending on their data. For instance if you want to use the Ahrefs’ Backlink Checker you can measure your domain rating. The tool shows the strength of a target website’s backlink profile compared to others in their database on a 100-point scale.
In the screenshot below we can see Content Marketing Institute has a domain rating of 88 which is a fairly good number that speaks to its authority.
If you prefer to use Moz’s Free Domain SEO Analysis Tool you can measure your domain authority score. The tool provides information on which website will rank higher in SERP by
measuring linking root domains and the number of quality incoming and outgoing links. It also predicts how well the website will rank in search results.
If we analyze Content Marketing Institute website’s using Moz, we see that the domain authority score is 76.
This doesn’t mean that Moz’s tool shows a lower score. It’s just that Moz uses different data and measures slightly different things than Ahrefs. It’s up to you which tool you are going to use.
You can compare your score with your competitors to have a better understanding of how many quality backlinks they have and how higher your domain authority needs to “grow”.
What’s the connection between your website authority and Google’s index? If your page has low domain authority this could prevent you from ranking higher in Google. Again, if your website is new it’s not possible to have domain authority right away but you can boost it a bit with two simple strategies:
- Build backlinks
- Increase the amount of internal links
Your Web Page Doesn’t Align With “Search Intent”
Google’s mission is to provide the user with the most useful and relevant results. That’s why it’s essential to align your content and a keywords strategy with what your target audience wants to see.
You need to provide outstanding and valuable content that will interest your audience and/or solve their problems. Google won’t rank in the first pages content that is not outstanding and doesn’t help users to find the information they are searching for.
To fix all your content-related issues you need to create a content marketing strategy and align it with your customer’s needs. You can launch a blog where you publish articles on topics that are interesting to your target audience and respond to their needs. Or you might provide tutorials or answers to different questions. You need to keep your target audience engaged with your website. This way you will improve your positions in the SERP.
Related article: Prepare For Content Marketing Trends In 2020
You Have Duplicated Content on Your Website
Duplicate content is when the same or similar web page is accessible at different URLs. Imagine it like having two copies of the same book. You don’t need them both, righ? Usually Google doesn’t index duplicate content because it takes up unnecessary space in their index.
In this case Google usually indexes the version of the page that is set as canonical. The canonical tag prevents search engines from determining certain pages as duplicate content. When you set a canonical tag you tell the search engines which version of the URL you want to appear during a search.
If you haven’t marked which page is canonical Google tries to identify it for you. Which is not good as Google’s doesn’t have the ability to identify duplicate pages when the canonical isn’t set right.
To check if your website has a duplicate page you can use some of the SEO tools listed here.
You Have a Google Penalty
Penalties can also prevent your site from ranking in Google’s search results.There are two types of Google penalties:
- Manual: This is when Google removes or demotes your site in their search results. It happens when a Google employee manually reviews your website and finds that it doesn’t comply with their Webmaster Guidelines.
- Algorithmic: This is when Google’s algorithm sanctions a website or a web page due to quality issues.
What do Google penalties include?
- Deindexed, meaning Google completely removes your domain from search results.
- Penalization which means your domain still exists, but you can’t find your page if you search it directly.
How to fix a Google penalty? If you have a penalty you will receive a message in Google Search Console. If this happens you need to follow Google’s guidelines and submit your website for reconsideration to get back on Google.
Having duplicated content on your website is a serious problem that any website can experience. That’s why it is essential to monitor yours for all the important details we’ve listed in this article.
If you notice that your website isn’t ranking in searches go through the list we’ve provided and try to find out what’s the problem. Hopefully, that’ll help you out so that your website will rank higher.
Get Your Website on Google
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