Here are 10 SEO reasons why Google might not like your website.
1. Your content comes from somewhere else
Google loves original content! Write your content yourself or pay a professional to do it for you.
It will be well worth it! Poaching content from somewhere else on the web will not only lower your ranking in a Google search but it’s against the law.
If you are unable to write your own content, at least write some notes and give it to someone who can. Be authentic and remember that you are an expert in your field. There is information you know that others want to know. Tell people something valuable.
Your content needs to be original. No-one knows your business better than you do – share your knowledge to get the trust of potential customers coming to your site.
2. Your URLs aren’t friendly (What the!)
Your website address is something like www.MyBusiness.com.au. When you go to your ‘About Page’ hopefully the address (or URL) is www.MyBusiness.com.au/about (or something similar). If it’s more like www.MyBusiness.com.au/?p=10327 Google ain’t gonna love that! Google uses your URL as part of the equation to work out what your site is all about. Best tell your web guy you need ‘pretty URLs’ from now on and make sure those URLs are telling Google what the page is all about eg. www.MyBusiness.com.au/tax-accounting-services
3. You’ve hidden stuff
Now why you want to go hiding stuff?
If you have important valuable information on your site integral to your site’s message and it’s in the form of PDFs or text embedded within an image or (perish the thought) you are using Flash, Google can’t read it! Nope. Wherever possible the important stuff should be in text so that Google can read and evaluate.
4. You’re not telling Google what your images are all about
Further to number 3, you need to tell Google what your images are about. If you’re using a CMS (something like WordPress) there will be an easy way to add an ALT tag for your images. The main purpose of the ALT tag is to tell people using screen readers (used by the visually impaired) the meaning of your images. Google also finds this particularly useful. An ALT tag example would be ‘Man throwing frisbee to a small dog’. Right mouse click on your images and select ‘Inspect’ and you might be able to see if your images have ALT tags.
5. Slow to load
Visit a website speed test site like Pingdom# to see how your site rates speed-wise. Whilst you’re not aiming to get 100%, you are aiming for a nice balance between a reasonably fast loading site and cool functionality.
6. Dodgy hosting
Don’t discount the importance of good web hosting (hosting is the space that all your website files reside so that they can be seen over the web). A good host will have a massive effect on the performance and uptime of your site. Webtree uses VentraIP.
7. No SSL
Recently Google has started penalising sites that don’t have an SSL Certificate. SSL allows form data to be sent securely over the interwaves <- not a real word. If your website address starts with https:// you have a certificate installed. If it starts with http:// it doesn’t.
8. You don’t exist anywhere else
Google does a lot of work to establish how genuine your business is. It tries extremely hard to only serve up the best search results to its customers. To achieve this it trawls through the net day after day gathering intel on businesses to assess how important they are in the grand scheme of things.
If your business has:
- – active social media accounts,
- – is listed in reputable directories,
- – has a verified actual address,
- – is listed with Google Business and Google Maps
you are going to get some Google Cred. But the deal breaker here is that Google can’t be tricked, or if it can, it won’t take long to work out that it’s been tricked and then you’ll be in real trouble and penalised accordingly. Dodgy SEO companies increase your ratings by spreading links to your website around the web (like evil fairy dust) This might work in the short term but it’ll come back to bite you – legit links only people!
9. Your site has been hacked!
If your site has been hacked (or for some reason Google thinks your site has been hacked) it may contain a bunch of dodgy links that Google can see are dodgy OR Google may be sensing something that indicates that the site has been hacked. It may then include a little message under your search result “This site may be hacked” to try to protect site visitors from spreading the infection.
Try searching for your business in Google and see if you are getting the “This site may be hacked” message. If your site has been hacked, you could try going back to your host to restore an old backup or appoint someone to clean the site. Wordfence is recommended for WordPress sites to keep them secure.
10. You haven’t connected directly with Google
Go to Google Search Console and add your website. This is a great set of tools to see how often Google is indexing your site, what keywords they are seeing as relevant and they will alert you if they see any problems. Get it straight from the horse’s mouth.
And that’s our 10 SEO reasons why Google may not be giving your website the love it deserves. These things are fundamental to good search engine optimisation (SEO) but, by no means an exhaustive list. It’s a great start.