Imagine pouring your heart and soul into a beautifully designed website, only to have it exist in a digital void, hidden from the world—this is the reality many website owners face when their content fails to show up on Google.
The natural question we all ask when our content doesn’t rank is – why? In this article we will explain the common reasons for poor Google visibility that all online content creators face at some point in their journey to success.
I know it’s frustrating, it certainly was frustrating for me too. Still, there are solutions to this dilemma and this article will explain them to you.
So, without further ado, let’s discuss why your website is not showing up on Google!
Table of Contents on Why is my Website not Showing up on Google
- Understanding Google Search
- Common Reasons for Poor Google Visibility
- Solutions and Best Practices
- Final Thoughts on Why is my Website not Showing up on Google
Understanding Google Search
It’s helpful to break down how Google search works into three processes and explain what happens – and the problems that can occur – in those steps.
Google Crawls your Website
Google discovers new content and new websites by actively searching the internet using “Googlebot“. The crawler has two versions:
- Googlebot Desktop
- Googlebot Smartphone
Given Google’s mobile-first indexing approach, most visits to your site will be from the Googlebot Smartphone crawler.
Google runs these crawlers on thousands of machines simultaneously, with many of them using US-based internet addresses. While Google can still crawl your site from other locations, the process may be slower due to fewer crawlers outside of the US.
Don’t block Google from visiting your website. This prevents Google from crawling and indexing your content.
There are a number of problems that can occur in this crawling stage.
- Google does not detect your website or new content
- Google is unable to crawl your content for some technical reasons (explained later)
- Your website is slow – causing the GoogleBot to reduce or stop processing content
- Google knows about your website but has trouble finding new content on your site
Diagnosing a crawling issue with your site can be done with the Google Search Console (GSC) tool available for free from Google. We explain about this tool later in the article.
Google Indexes your Website
Once Google has found and crawled your website the next step is for Google to add your content to it’s index. Google maintains an enormous database linking keywords against content. Once your content is indexed it may be shown by Google in it’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
For various technical reasons we go into later it could be Google cannot index your content.
The solution, as you may be familiar with now, it so check on Google Search Console the index status of your content.
Google Shows your content in SERPs
Once you content is crawled and indexed it may show up in Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Those are the familiar pages you see in a Google Search containing a list of links to various websites for a given query.
Many factors determine whether you content will be shown by a particular search query. This is what the field of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is about – figuring out how to make your content appear at the top of the rankings.
While this is a huge topic I will briefly list a few of the main factors that can determine your ranking potential:
- High Quality Content that is people-first and not aimed at search engines
- Your content is highly relevant for the search query (the keywords typed by the searcher)
- Your website is fast and mobile-friendly
- Google considers your site authoritative for the query and keywords
In practice, Google uses hundreds of ranking factors to determine whether your rank for a particular keywords and what position you rank in.
To rank highly in Google SERPs focus on producing high quality content that is useful and relevant for your niche and your target audience.
To learn more about how to use the URL Inspection tool in Google Search Console to check the indexing status, watch this video from Google below:
Setup and configure Google Search Console for your website if you have not done so already as it’s an essential tool for troubleshooting indexing issues with your website.
Common Reasons for Poor Google Visibility
As promised in the introduction, we can now cover the common reasons your content is not showing in Google. This is not an exhaustive list but should give you some ideas of what the problem is. Later in the article we will discuss solutions and best practises but first let’s cover the reasons.
Your Website is not in Google’s Index
One thing is absolutely certain, Google must index your content before it shows in the search results page.
Sometimes, Google is slow to find and index your content – or can’t for various technical reasons we will explain later in this article.
The solution could be as simple as requesting Google to index your content. Use the Google Search Console to request an individual page be indexed.
Violates Google’s Content Policy
To be visible in Google’s search engine your content must comply with Google’s content policy. This policy is available to read online but I give a short summary here:
- No exploitation material
- No highly personal material
- No spam
- Not removed by a valid legal request (e.g. “Right to be forgotten” in the EU)
For a full list of violative content see the Google content policy:
Content Policies for Google Search (Source: Google)
Insufficient or Low-Quality Content
Your website, especially if it’s new, may not contain much content so Google is unable to assess the overall quality of your website.
In addition, if you content pages are “thin”, that is they have low word counts, then Google may deem not only those pages but your entire website is “low quality”. This can result in a sitewide penalty being applied which can persist for a considerable period of time – even after your content quality issues have been fixed.
Poor Website Structure
When your website is challenging to navigate or features an unwelcoming user interface, such as small fonts that are hard to read or poor color contrast in the theme, it can result in low user engagement, resulting in poor rankings.
Think about it for a minute, Google’s primary aim is to present engaging and valuable content to searchers. If your content fails to engage users effectively, Google’s algorithms may choose not to feature it in future searches, favoring content that receives higher user engagement.
Aim for high user engagement as measured by user engagement metrics when you write content.
Technical Issues with your Website
A number of technical issues can prevent your website content from being crawled or indexed by Google.
The first issue is the presence of the “noindex” tag in your page. This will look something like this:
<meta name="robots" content="noindex">
This tells Google that the page should not be indexed. You can verify this from the Google Search Console. Below, in the screenshot, Google finds the “noindex” meta tag present in the page:
Remove this meta tag if you want the page indexed.
Another technical issue that can stop Google from indexing your website content is a special file called “
robots.txt” – this file is present in the root directory of your website.
robots.txt file may not exist – it could be generated automatically by the software you have installed on your website. For instance, many SEO plugins will generate this file automatically.
You can edit this file manually but it’s safer to use an SEO plugin that includes a robots.txt editor. I use the All in One SEO plugin, other good SEO plugins are available from Yoast SEO and RankMath. Below is shown the editor page for this file from which you can safely modify the robots.txt file.
Lack of Backlinks and External Recognition
Google wants to show highly authoritative content. You should aim to signal to Google your content is authoritative by, linking to highly credible sources in your text.
Over time, if others find your content relevant, convincing and credible they may link to your content from their websites. These external links are called backlinks. They are a signal to Google you content is valuable and authorative.
It’s always good if you can blog on authoritative sites in your niche or other related sites and link back to your site. This will improve your backlink profile and show Google you are a credible voice in your niche.
Reach out to authoritative sites in your niche or related niches and ask if they need guest bloggers.
Solutions and Best Practices
Let’s go over some solutions to poor visibility and best practices that can help your content rank well in Google and other search engines.
Conducting a Website Audit to find Low Quality Content
To fix your low quality content you first need to identify it, and that’s what a website audit does. You may already know the pages that are ranking poorly so you can focus on those. If your entire site is struggling in terms of rankings, then check each page for content quality issues.
I highly recommend investing in an SEO tool that can conduct automated website audits, including individual pages for SEO-related issues. Modern SEO tools can analyze for over 100 parameters to pinpoint problems and provide solutions. Additionally, they offer the convenience of scheduling weekly email reports, ensuring you are promptly alerted to any SEO and content issues on your site.
Use an automated SEO tool for audits.
While it’s technically possible to conduct SEO audits manually, in practice, even for small to moderate-sized websites, they tend to be overly time-consuming and intricate to perform manually.
Neglecting technical and content issues can lead to deteriorating rankings or prevent your site from gaining traction in the first place. Given that most content creators have limited time at their disposal, it’s far more efficient to focus on producing new content rather than spending valuable time on manual checks. An automated tool can do this task much better and faster than you.
Regularly updating and improving website content
It’s important to regularly publish fresh, original content on your website. Aim for a regular content schedule, ideally posting daily, especially when you’re just starting your blog.
Don’t forget to promote your website content across social media platforms and encourage your readers to share and comment on your blog. Feedback is invaluable, helping you evolve as a content creator and guiding you in choosing the right topics to write about
Ensure your content can be easily reached by Googlebot
Many websites lack multiple access points to their content. Some blog posts might be buried deep within the site, requiring users to click through multiple pages to reach them.
While having a search feature can help users in finding content, it’s essential to note that Googlebot doesn’t perform internal searches on your website. Instead, it follows links starting from the homepage.
If your content is buried deep within your site, the crawler might not discover it quickly. In the worst-case scenario, if a blog post lacks links from other pages, Googlebot won’t find it at all, resulting in no crawling or indexing of that page.
The solution is to generously incorporate links to your other content pages throughout your blog and website. This offers multiple pathways for users – and Googlebot – to find your content.
Final Thoughts on Why is my Website not Showing up on Google
Thanks for reading! I hope you found out some useful information oh why your content is not showing up on Google’s search engine. Here’s a quick recap:
- Your website is not crawlable by Google
- Google cannot index your site for some technical reason
- Too much low-quality content
- Your website is too difficult to navigate
- Content is hidden deep in your website and difficult for Google to find
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