Have you done everything right to optimise your site, only to find yourself asking ‘Why is my website not on Google’?
It is a frustrating challenge to face, but this is a common question asked by website owners and SEO professionals alike. Even if a site is optimised there can be a number of reasons why it may not be showing on Google. One of the top reasons is that indexing has not been set up correctly for your site, which can impact how Google crawls and ranks pages.
Although there are many issues which may play a part, the good news is that these are easily rectifiable problems. Below we’ll discuss how to fix these indexing issues and how to get your website ranking correctly.
Here at Embryo, indexation and ranking correctly is a core focus of our SEO strategy. To learn more, feel free to reach out to our team by phone at 0161 327 2635 or email [email protected].
What is Indexation (and 5 Reasons Why Your Website Has Yet to be Indexed by Google)?
Simply put, indexed pages are ones that can be shown in Google Search results. According to Google’s explanation of indexation, ‘a page is indexed by Google if it has been visited by the Google crawler (“Googlebot”), analysed for content and meaning, and stored in the Google index.’. A page which is not indexed cannot show in a SERP, and there are many reasons this may be the case which we will discuss below.
1. Your site is too new
New sites and pages take time for Google to fully crawl for indexability. It may take up to four weeks for a new site to be indexed correctly, but the easiest way to check whether your site is visible in Google search results is to search site:[your website’s URL]. This will load all pages for your website that are visible in Google search results. If you can see results for your website, then you are visible to Google.
If you can’t see any results, then you may need to create a sitemap and upload using Google Search Console. A sitemap signals to Google which pages are important and the structure of your website, and these can be uploaded to Google Search Console using the following steps;
- Open Google Search Console.
- Navigate to Indexing > Sitemaps.
- Paste your sitemap URL into the empty box.
You can mark pages to be noindex by using custom code, and by doing this you are hiding that page from Google’s crawl. These pages are still accessible to users, but not from any SERP. There may be instances where you don’t remember adding this noindex tag to your page when building it out, but they can often be put in place by developers if a page is under construction or automatically by a content management system (CMS).
Why do we noindex pages to begin with? Generally, we would use these tags for pages which we do not want Google to index for a number of reasons, for example, they are under development or they cannibalise other top pages. However, if a page has been noindexed incorrectly this can be easily rectified. You can either use a Search Console report or run an AHrefs Site Audit, which will be able to identify any pages with noindex tags. Once you have identified the incorrectly tagged pages, remove the “noindex” tags.
3. You are blocking Google from crawling your site
In some instances, you may be inadvertently blocking Google from crawling pages or entire sections of your site by incorrectly using a robots.txt file A robots.txt file instructs search engine bots on where they can and cannot go on your site. If you have blocked certain pages in your robot.txt file from search engines, they cannot crawl and index these pages.
There are two ways to identify and address this issue. First, you can use the Coverage Report in Google Search Console and find pages which have been highlighted with ‘Submitted URL blocked by robots.txt’ errors. However, this only works if Google has already attempted to crawl the URLs in your sitemap so this may not work if you have only recently uploaded your sitemap.
The other method is to check manually, which can be achieved by searching [your domain name]/robots.txt. If you find the line disallow: / under User-agent: * or User-agent: Googlebot, this will need to be removed. Why? Because this line will block Googlebot from crawling any part of your site. Be sure to Remove any tags blocking content that you want to show up on Google.
There are many factors that indicate to Google that a website has high authority and boosts its rankings, one of which is having a strong backlink profile. If your competitors are ranking higher than you for the same terms, it could mean they have more high-quality backlinks than your own website. You can check the number of backlinks your site has using Ahrefs Free Backlink Checker, which can also give you the number of referring domains your site has as well.
The emphasis here is on high quality over quantity. Having a large number of backlinks from low-authority sites can have the inverse effect of damaging your site, as it can be perceived as spam by Google.
Using this tool, you can compare the number of backlinks you have to competitors. If you fall short, consider building out your backlink profile with more high-quality external links.
5. Your site has a Google penalty
The last (but certainly not least) reason your site may not be seen in Google’s results is that it has a Google Penalty. This is the least likely reason, but it is always a possibility.
Manual penalties are put in place by Google to deindex or demote your site and are applied when Google reviews your site and it does not adhere to their Webmaster Guidelines. These penalties are very rare, however, and are only put in place if something has been done drastically wrong. Google will alert you of any penalties in Google Search Console, under Security & Manual Actions > Manual Actions tab.
If there’s no warning in there, then you probably don’t have a manual penalty. If you do have a warning, you can submit your site for reconsideration to get your ranking back again on Google
Conclusion: Have No Fear, Indexing Is Near
There are many reasons your site may not show on Google. As we have addressed, the majority of these are easily fixable. Although there are a few which may take more time to address, such as building out your backlink profile, these are longer-term issues and most of your problems can be resolved relatively quickly.
If you are experiencing issues or are looking to expand your website, reach out and contact us here at Embryo and we will help in any way we can.