Why is my site not shown in search?

For an e-commerce business, there is nothing better than seeing your website show up on the first page of the search engine results page (SERP). It signifies that you have a better lead than your competitors and more opportunities for conversions.

Unfortunately, not all business websites make the cut.

Have you tried searching your website using a non-branded search query and wondered why it is not showing up? Let us take you through some reasons that prevent your site from appearing on the top list of SERPs.

#1. Your Website Has Poor User Experience

Attracting your target market to your website is a difficult task. Getting them to stay on it longer is even more challenging. Visitors leave a site quickly when they are unable to get the information they need or when it is inconvenient to navigate through the site. These indicate that the website offers a poor user experience.
Bad design and structure often constitute a poor user experience. Just as visitors find it hard to navigate your site, search engines find it difficult to crawl the content on such sites. This shows that good user experience is important for search engines to understand your website and its contents better to allow it to rank for the search queries you are targeting – i.e. if your website does not bring any value to visitors, search engines are more likely to penalise it.

To improve the user experience of your site, you should study the preferences of your audience. Some customers may go for minimalist designs while others want to see a vibrant page. Provide a simple structure in which they can easily navigate through webpages, acquire information and make purchases.

These can help reduce the bounce rate of your site – i.e. the rate at which visitors leave a site after viewing a page. Good user experience also translates to brand identity – your target market will be more willing to trust you and what you offer.

#2. Your website is not properly indexed (or not indexed at all)

Indexing your website is essential for search engines, such as Google, to crawl your site. Websites that are not crawled do not appear on SERPs.

If your website is new, it will take some time for Google to check and verify your site. For older websites, however, issues such as ‘no-index’ tags or ‘robot.txt’ files prevent search engines from indexing your site.

To solve these problems, you can use free tools available online to check the index status of your site. You can manually submit your sitemap.xml file to Google Search Console (GSC) to allow Google to crawl and index your site.

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#3. Your site is suffering from penalties and is removed from search

Search engines have several guidelines that you need to follow. Failure to comply with their terms may result in penalties. Google, for instance, removes websites because they are:

a. Deindexed: Certain violations have caused a permanent removal of your
domain from search results.
b. Penalised: Your site exists, but you cannot directly search it. This can occur
with a new algorithm update or applied manually by a Google Quality
Engineer.
c. Sandboxed: Your site suffers from a sudden drop in traffic.

The best thing to do when faced with such situations is to redesign your site and follow guidelines correctly. You may check GSC to review any penalties applied to your site so that you can find the appropriate solution to rectify the issues.

#4. Your website lacks optimisation

It has been reiterated many times that your site must be optimised to appear on search. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is essential to your online visibility and rankings.
Here are some ways to boost the SEO of your website:

• Improve on-page SEO by optimising metadata, content and URLs with targeted
keywords
Acquire relevant backlinks to your site as an off-page SEO strategy
• Simplifying your website structure to improve user experience

Managing an SEO campaign is not easy and many businesses find it better to partner with digital marketing agencies who can provide professional assistance in these areas. These agencies work hard to improve the performance of your site on search engines through a campaign that is targeted to your business needs.

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#5. Poor web contents

Apart from providing your target market with a useful and pleasing website, never forget to publish high-quality content. While it is important to optimise the content with your targeted keywords, you must also ensure that the content provides the answers to the search queries and questions. Search engines like Google look at whether your content is relevant to what users are searching for.

When it comes to content creation, ensure it is fresh, updated and descriptive. You can tap on the latest trends in the market or understand what your customers are searching for, and provide them with the information they need. In terms of writing, clear and concise copies work best – you should write in a way your target market (and the search engine) will understand.

#6. Your keywords are too broad or competitive

Using only short-tail keywords on your website will not help with your SEO. You should also consider more descriptive long-tail keywords to address narrow search intent. For instance, instead of ‘comfortable clothes’, you can consider ‘comfortable summer clothes for women’.

Relying only on short-tail keywords is not ideal as they are too competitive. Other companies may have already been ranking for these keywords and it is difficult to compete for a higher rank on the search space. Using long-tail keywords, especially if you are new, can help drive more conversions from customers who are already searching for the exact type of product they need (i.e. summer clothes for women; hotel room with hot shower and free breakfast etc.).

There are several keyword research tools, such as Google’s Keyword Planner or Keyword Tool, you can use to narrow down to the most appropriate phrases to include to your site.

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In a nutshell

One of the goals of your digital marketing campaign is for your target market to notice and visit your site. This will not be possible if your website does not appear on search.

This problem is common among new and old websites. When faced with such a problem, always check your site’s health and other relevant settings. Do not hesitate to look for professional help if you are unable to find a solution.

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