6 Hidden Reasons Your Site Won’t Rank in Google


"*" indicates required fields

Got Questions?

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Computer security

No matter how hard you try, sometimes it seems like you can’t rank your site in Google. As far as you know, you’re doing everything right. We know how it is—after all that hard work and content spend, it can feel like quite a waste. Before you fight Google, let’s take a closer look—there could be some hidden reasons why your site won’t rank in Google.

1 – A Competitor Manipulated Spammy Backlinks

Angry bearded businessman annoyed with phone call in office

Ugh, this is such a slimy thing to do, but it happens. One of your competitors may have paid to have some spammy, shady websites link to yours. Google sees that as a big red flag, and as a result, Google might have de-indexed you. The worst part of it is that it all happened without your knowledge.

How can you fix this?

You can disavow those spammy backlinks using Google’s official instructions. It can get a bit messy, though, so make sure to reach out for help if you’re not sure about it (or if you run into trouble). We also recommend you regularly monitor your backlinks in Ahrefs or SEMrush to avoid future issues.

2 – Your Website Isn’t Mobile-Friendly

Close up of a man using mobile smart phone
This guy is *super* displeased about your lack of mobile accessibility.

How does your website look on a mobile phone or tablet? If it’s not looking great (or if it’s hard to navigate), Google’s going to punish you—big time.

Even if the solution might involve a website redesign, this one’s at least easy to diagnose. You can use Google’s free mobile-friendly test to determine whether it deems your site a friend to mobile devices.

Yep—we passed with flying colors. We want to help you pass, too!

How can you fix this?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here. If you’re using WordPress, it could be as simple as enabling the mobile version of your site or upgrading your existing theme (after a backup, of course). If you’re using a hand-coded site, you may need to contact a web developer for more advanced help with that upgrade. If you’re not sure, you can certainly give us a call—we’re happy to take a look at it for you to help you assess your needs.

3 – You Aren’t Running a Secure Site (https://)

Computer security concept with a closed padlock on the keyboard
Lock that shiz down. Protect your customers.

Site security is now a ranking factor for Google, especially for sites that sell stuff. That means that the good ole “http://” isn’t good enough anymore. You need to be secure. Think of “https://” as the weighted blanket to soothe the search engines’ souls. Without it, you’re not going to rank.

How can you fix this?

You need to upgrade to a secure site. Some hosts will charge extra for it, but we recommend shopping around. Site security is becoming the norm since Google now requires it to rank. 

4 – You Don’t Have Clear Home Page Content

Wooden signpost with four arrows - confused, unsure, puzzled, problem - great for topics like being lost/ confused etc.
Hopefully this isn’t an accurate representation of your homepage…

What’s on the main page of your site? If it’s simply your latest blog posts or a bunch of fancy pictures, you could be in trouble. Sure, that stuff is useful content (especially if it’s well-made), but Google wants your homepage to tell visitors about your site and what you have to offer. You can start by describing (in the “body” of the page, if you’re into HTML and all) what you do.

How can you fix this?

There are a few simple fixes for this problem:

  • Make sure each of your pages is appropriately titled (home, about us, blog, etc.).
  • Write some content for your home page and be sure to include keywords relating to your business.
  • Include and update meta information and page titles to provide clarity on your page content. We recommend using Yoast SEO if you use WordPress.
  • Add your location, business name, and phone number to your main page. All of this will help Google classify you.

5 – Someone Stole Your Homepage Content

masked man appeared from below with an expression of surprise
Really? REALLY?

Google wants to discourage plagiarism, and that’s awesome—none of us want to reward thieves who steal your content (and your customers). Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy for Google to tell who was the content originator, and who was the thief. In some rare instances, Google may punish the original (that’s you, “OG content!”), giving your ranking to the thief. Damn, Google. Damn.

How can you fix this?

If you’re worried this might be the case, head on over to Copyscape and run your homepage content through this nifty tool. It’ll pick up instances of duplication.

If this did happen to you, it’s possible to petition Google—but the fastest and most inexpensive way to fix it is to rewrite the content, or pay someone to rewrite it for you. It blows, but that’s the way of it.

6 – You Have Manufacturer Descriptions on Your Homepage

Photo table for product photography in a studio
It IS a good looking shoe, tbh.

You know what else reads as duplicate content? Manufacturer descriptions—you know, those handy product descriptions that manufacturers provide so you can list their products in your online store or catalog. Those are problematic for Google. If you have too many of them on your site, Google’s going to think you’re totally uncool and unoriginal, and you won’t rank.

How can you fix it?

Write original descriptions—ones that’ll pass a Copyscape test. If you have a lot of those, you may want to outsource the task to a professional writer.

Still Not Ranking?

Have you checked for all of these issues and find that you’re still not ranking, even for your branded search term or business name? You might have something else going on in the inner workings of your site, like a pesky noindex tag, which tells search engines to ignore you. It’s also possible that your website host is blacklisted or you just don’t have enough content of substance to rank.

Whatever the problem, Dominate With SEO can help. Let us investigate the issue and provide some solutions to correct the issue. There’s no risk in contacting us, and we’re happy to take a look at your site and advise you on ways to improve. Whatever the problem, we want you to know that you don’t have to tackle it alone. We’re here to help. Let us do the heavy lifting.

About the Author

Sam Romain

Sam Romain

Digital marketing expert, data interpreter, and adventurous entrepreneur empowering businesses while fearlessly embracing the wild frontiers of fatherhood and community engagement.

TLDR: Embracing web accessibility not only meets legal standards but enhances overall user experience, expands...
On May 24, 2024, Governor Walz signed the Minnesota Consumer Data Privacy Act (MCDPA) into...
Explore the nuances of choosing between .com and .org for your website. Learn how Romain...
Discover how SEO transforms real estate marketing, with insights from expert Romain Berg. Learn the...
Learn the true timeline of SEO impact with our in-depth article, highlighting the importance of...
Discover the powerful capabilities of Link Whisper in our review, highlighting its AI-driven internal linking...
Discover essential restaurant SEO strategies for enhancing your online presence. Learn how to leverage reviews,...
Discover how to leverage Help A Reporter Out (HARO) to elevate your brand with Romain...
Discover how analytics and tracking elevate pest control SEO, using platforms like Google Analytics to...
Discover the top SEO podcasts for actionable insights and strategies: The SEO Playbook, SEO Unmasked,...