Everyone wants their site to shoot straight to the top of the first page of Google results, right where everyone will see it. You can put weeks or months of hard effort in, but if you haven’t got the foundation of good SEO (search engine optimization) right, you may not see results.  Many people are left wondering where their site ranks at all, or if Google has even noticed that it exists.

Ironically, that usually sends people right back to Google asking questions like “why doesn’t my website appear on Google?” and “how long until my website appears on Google?” to try and find some answers. Well, we’re here to give you those answers and to help you understand just what it is you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, and what you can do to fix it.

Here are 11 reasons why your site may not be showing up (ranking) on Google:

1. The website has not been registered with Google.

This is the simplest and most straightforward reason why your site may not be showing up in the Google search results. If you want Google (and other major search engines) to find your website, it first needs to be listed in their index. Essentially, if they don’t know about it (if it isn’t in their index) they can’t share it.

You don’t have to register your site with Google in order for it to be found – eventually, if enough other sites link to it Google will find it, but if you are looking to get your site ranking in Google’s search results, you are better off registering it yourself, or paying a professional to do it for you, which is the easier of the two options. (If you need help, we are more than happy to do it for you.)

2. Your pages aren’t set up to be search engine friendly.

If you are building your site through a third-party like WordPress, then this likely isn’t an issue you need to worry about, but if you have a custom-built website that is less easy to manage, you need to consider if your pages are search engine friendly.

To ensure each page you create makes Google’s job easier, you need to use title and meta description tags, and fully utilize the space they offer. This is the data Google receives about your page and will help it understand which searchers the page may help, so ensure what you enter here properly describes what is on the page.

You also need to consider whether your pages are set up to be user-friendly. They should look good, be easy to navigate, and offer quality, easy-to-read content that can be easily digested by readers. Outdated SEO advice may tell you to jam as many relevant keywords onto a page and that will be enough to get you noticed by Google, but that simply isn’t the case anymore. Now, you should have a rule that if it’s not good for your user, it’s no good for Google.

Every page included in the sites we build for our customers is Google friendly because we build custom sites on WordPress. We can help you if you are interested in a custom-built WordPress site, or if you want to migrate to WordPress.

3. The site has been registered, but it has not yet been indexed and crawled due to errors, or simply not enough time.

This reason answers the common question, “when will my website appear on Google?” While there is no exact answer, in most cases it takes between 4 days and 4 weeks for a new site to be crawled and indexed by Google. There are people who have claimed to have a site indexed in less time, but this is a good range for most people starting out with SEO.

So, if you are typing “my site is not showing up in Google search” into the same search engine after just a week or two (and you’re doing all the other points on this list right), try giving it more time.

Indexing is handled completely by Google’s algorithm, a notoriously difficult thing to pin down, as well as bots like the Googlebot, which run constantly searching for any and all information they can to index the internet and create an almost infinite library.

If a month has passed, you’ve done everything right and your site has still not been indexed, you may have an error. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait that long to find out. Google Search Console can help you search for errors on your site that Google doesn’t like.

4. The site has a low domain authority.

Domain authority was developed by the SEO software company Moz; it is a search engine ranking score (1 to 100) that predicts a website’s ability to rank on search engine results pages (SERPs). The higher your score, the higher your website is likely to rank.

A domain authority score takes into account over 40 different factors that all work toward giving your site the best chance with Google. Websites with a high number of inbound links (other websites linking to yours) often have the highest domain authority score. The domain authority score is relative to all other sites’ scores, so if you want to improve your domain authority score you should focus on building valuable links and great content.

5. The pages you want to rank has a low page authority score.

How does this differ from domain authority? Well, page authority is a score that was also created by Moz, and it ranks individual pages on their ability to rank on search engine ranking pages (SERPs). Like domain authority, it scores on a range of 1 to 100. Again, you should focus on improving your inbound page links and how useful a page is to your readers, rather than becoming too focused on the actual page authority score, because it often fluctuates, or pass the job over to professionals who have experience improving page authority. If you believe your page authority needs work, we can help.

6. Your site has “low trust flow”.

Trust flow is a metric created by Majestic that measures how trustworthy a site is based on its quality. Mostly, this relies on accumulating authoritative, relevant, and qualitative links to point to your site. In essence, you are getting “trustworthy” organic traffic from another relevant source, which improves your trust flow score. This can be hard to improve, and takes time, though SEO professionals can help speed the process up. See our SEO packages if you’re interested in quickly improving your trust flow score.

7. There’s not enough content on the site.

This is a simple problem, but one that enthusiastic new website owners don’t often give enough time before Googling “why doesn’t my website appear on Google?” or “how to get my website to the top of Google”. Simply, the more (good quality) content you have on your website, the better. There’s no sense throwing up as much content as possible, especially if it doesn’t have good readability or has been taken from another site. You want as much great original content as you can.

Currently, long-form posts seem to rank higher but focus on quality content that genuinely helps your audience, and you won’t go wrong. In other words, don’t waffle for the sake of word count.

Building up a good backlog of content takes time, and if you are in the process of building a business you may not have the time to write it all yourself. Fortunately, we have a fully managed blog writing service, so you can focus on responding to leads and working with your clients.

8. The site has low citation flow.

Citation flow is another metric by Majestic that simply measures the popularity of a link, but doesn’t take into account the quality. Websites that share things that trend or are popular but don’t have much long-term value may qualify for a high citation flow score, but a low trust flow score. Ideally, you want a high citation flow score and a high trust flow score, as citation flow can be high but if your trust flow is low, it may push it even lower.

9. You have copied or duplicated content from another site.

As mentioned briefly above, copying content from another site and pasting it on your own site can negatively affect your Google rankings. Google doesn’t like it when there is a lot of identical content as it doesn’t know what version to include in their indices. If you have a lot of it, Google starts to realize that your site isn’t reputable. If a page or two of your original content is stolen, don’t worry, but it’s important you don’t rely on stealing other site’s content just to fill out your site.

10. Your content is too thin and/or too short.

While content length will vary depending on what the page or article has to say and the topic, you should look to give your users as much useful information on a topic as possible. There are top-ranking pages that contain as little as 300 words, so this is a good minimum word count to keep in mind. Generally, longer is better, provided you aren’t waffling.

Another thing to keep in mind is to not let your content be too “thin”. You can think of this as an article that could contain more content on a subject, and thus readers bounce off the page fairly quickly because there isn’t much for them to read. You want your page content to contain enough information and calls-to-action to keep them on the page, and then on your site, as this will send Google signals that your content is worth sharing.

11. Your keyword density is too high.

Remember how I mentioned right back at the beginning how the days of keyword-filled pages were gone? They aren’t just out of fashion, but Google will actively notice if your pages have an unnaturally high density of keywords, and little to no readability, and will mark you as using “black-hat” tactics (that’s bad). Google values a great experience for its own users above anything else, and so if you keyword stuff your pages, you won’t get a high page ranking.

Building a great online presence with the most popular search engines is crucial to having a successful website or business online. If you’ve been struggling to increase your search engine rankings, it may be time to get some help from the experts. We offer SEO services to suit all needs, and if you think your time would be better spent elsewhere while an expert team takes care of improving your SEO, take a look at our SEO services and packages.