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SEO 14 min read October 31, 2023

Why Doesn't Your Content Rank High in Google: 5 Reasons

Ranking troubles? Let's solve them

Why Doesn’t It Rank in Google? 5 Reasons It Won’t Rank
Andy Crestodina
Andy Crestodina
Co-founder and CMO of Orbit Media

Let’s face it. Most URLs don’t rank and will never get traffic from search. There’s nothing strange about that. Most URLs aren’t search-optimized. But many are and still don’t rank. So in this piece, we’re going to answer a question you may have asked yourself…

Why don’t I rank in Google?

The successful pages receive exponentially greater visibility and traffic than those ranking lower, making it a worthwhile pursuit.

We won't delve into technical SEO concerns (load speed, mobile friendliness, duplicates of meta tags, sitemap, or HTTP issues ); my team and I have observed that most web pages do not have these issues. This article will highlight mostly content aspects.

Delaying the resolution of ranking issues can lead to substantial decreases in visibility, traffic, and conversions. So, let’s discover common SEO pitfalls and the path to Google's first page right now! 

Understanding SEO Success

SEO can be compared to rowing a boat; you can buy traffic (put gas in the tank) or earn it through email and social media (rolling the boat). 

Image source: Orbit Media

SEO, PPC, Email Social, Branding

In other words, when it works, the search can become a passive source of traffic, attracting huge numbers of visitors over time without lots of ongoing, incremental effort. Every page has the chance to catch traffic, like a sail catches wind.

However, perfectly optimized SEO pages can provide a continuous stream of passive traffic, limited only by the number of phrases you can target.


From this metaphor, we can assume that SEO success is about creating pages optimized for specific keywords (it's because pages, not entire websites, rank on search engines). However, publishing more search-optimized pages increases overall website traffic and aligns brand awareness.

To achieve SEO success, several fundamental rules and principles must be considered. These guidelines form the cornerstone of effective strategies:

1.Understanding intent across the sales funnel. Visitor intent varies from information-seeking to commercial intent. It is pivotal to comprehend visitor goals and address their needs at each sales funnel stage.
Sales funnel
2.Site mapping and targeted page creation. The homepage often targets navigational intent queries, and it's the page with the most authority, capable of targeting competitive commercial intent keywords. Deeper internal pages can target various phrases.
3.SEO and UX. SEO and user experience considerations are separate. Not everything you target needs to appear in the main navigation, and you can create off-nav pages for targeting more phrases without cluttering menus.
4.Aligning pages with visitor intent. Regrettably, SEOs cannot alter the exact intent of search engine users. However, they can adjust the content strategy by examining the search results meticulously (in private mode) and assessing the prevailing result type. Keyword clustering is helpful concerning this matter as well.

Understanding the intent behind a particular topic helps shape your content strategy and determines if it's worth creating content about it.

5.URL's merits evaluation. Page-level search ranking factors are more important and heavily weighted than site-level ranking metrics.
6.Authority and relevance. Links represent authority, and the quality of links matters more than quantity. A link from an authoritative site is exponentially more valuable.
7.Keyword difficulty (KD). Evaluating keyword difficulty compared to a website's ranking helps determine if a phrase is too competitive. 

Serpstat, KD in the Keyword selection report

Serpstat, KD in the Keyword selection report

By keeping these basic rules in mind and adapting them to the specific needs of your site, you can navigate the complex world of SEO with a clearer understanding of how to join best ranked websites.

The 5 Reasons Why Your Page Won't Rank Top 10

Without understanding the reasons, you'll be uncertain about the suitable course of action, potentially leading to unhelpful steps. Let’s cover the most common causes.

1. You’re not targeting the keyphrase

A keyword-focused page is essential for SEO. Additionally, keyword-based URLs are crucial for making your webpage content understandable to search engines. If your website lacks such pages on a particular topic, it might not rank well in SERP.

Each keyword represents a competitive arena, while every page holds the potential to become a competitor; that’s why it is worth a thorough analysis.

How to fix it?

You can secure higher positions by crafting content that answers questions related to the keyword or provides information on topics relevant to your business. Ensure your search-optimized page is tailored to the target keyword, effectively conveying relevance. 

A proficiently optimized website boasts an array of pages, each meticulously crafted to cater to various keywords. The site's structure and navigation should be designed, focusing on these keywords. 

The site's structure and navigation

To check the keywords of ranking site with a tree-view structure, you can try the self-titled Serpstat domain analysis report:

Serpstat domain analysis report

Unlock the power of multitasking tools and improve your chances of ranking higher in SERP.

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2. The keyword is too competitive

You're not alone in optimizing your website to secure a spot on Google's first page. Every one of your competitors is actively engaged in similar efforts. When a keyword is highly competitive, it means many websites are trying to rank for it. This competition makes it harder for your webpage to rank well, especially if those competing websites have higher authority or have been established longer. 

Use the Keyword Difficulty (KD) indicator to assess the risks during your keyword research. Please note that most services calculate the KD based on how many backlinks the Google top 10 ranking websites have. Keyword difficulty relies on the number of referring domains and the authority rating of competitor backlinks.

The Serpstat KD algorithm relies on a formula encompassing three key indicators:

The KD score ranges from 0 to 100, where:

0–20 indicates that the keyword is easy to rank for

21–40 shows medium difficulty

41–60 means that the keyword is challenging to rank for

61–100 indicates that the keyword is tough to rank for.

The KD score ranges from 0 to 100

How to fix it?

Go back to keyword research and opt for realistic queries. Consider targeting less competitive or long-tail keywords that are more specific and relevant to your content. Instead of wasting time tracking down highly competitive keywords that are difficult to rank for, you can focus on keywords guaranteed to bring a lot of traffic.

SEOs consistently assess the competition before honing in on a specific keyword. They evaluate the keyword's difficulty against the authority of their page or, if the page doesn't exist yet, the domain's authority.

In the long run, always seize opportunities to acquire backlinks to improve your authoritativeness. Authority is determined by the quality of your content and the number and quality of backlinks pointing to your website. 

3. The page isn’t that relevant

Relevance is a critical factor in search engine rankings. If a page isn't relevant to the keywords it's targeting, compared to competing pages, it may rank poorly for several reasons:

1.User experience. Search engines aim to provide users with the most relevant results for their queries. If a page isn't relevant to a user's search, it may lead to a poor user experience, causing users to quickly leave the site (a high bounce rate), which search engines can interpret as a signal of low relevance.
2.Keyword usage. If the content on the page doesn't include the keywords that users are searching for, or if those keywords aren't used in a meaningful and contextually fitting way, search engines may deem the page less relevant.
Keyword usage
3.Content quality. The dedicated SEO professional doesn't expect a first-page ranking on Google search without creating exceptional content. If a page's content is thin or lacks depth, it may be seen as less relevant. Besides, failing to address user queries with comprehensive content on your website can lead to the risk of a Google thin content penalty. In essence, if the content you're creating barely covers the topic, you could be dealing with an issue of thin content. 

How to fix it?

Improving relevance could involve:

Incorporate the primary keyword into the title, headers, URL, and body text. Include semantically related phrases in the body text, addressing relevant subtopics and questions to cover the subject matter comprehensively. This is the key to semantic SEO, which aligns with how Google understands quality. 

While word count doesn't directly affect site ranking on Google, longer, more comprehensive content often better satisfies users' information needs.Try to assist Google in understanding the central focus of your page, improving its chances of being discovered by users.

4. Visitors don’t like your page

Your website rankings are being negatively impacted by unfavorable "user interaction signals":

How to fix it?

To enhance user satisfaction, focus on improving the user experience. This involves optimizing site speed, creating an intuitive navigation structure, delivering pertinent, structured content, etc.

Format for scanners

Applying these formatting and visual elements to your content can significantly improve dwell time, keeping your readers engaged and indirectly benefiting your search rankings.

5. You only wrote it once

Search engines aim to provide users with the most accurate and up-to-date information. If your content remains static, it may be outranked by newer content that covers the same topic. So, in case you're targeting competitive keywords, your content needs to be regularly updated to rank well.

How to fix it?

Regularly update your content with new information, insights, or resources to improve your rankings. Revamping an existing page that was close to achieving high rankings is among the most reliable strategies in the field of search marketing. The concept is straightforward: target not just a keyword you prefer but one that's already gaining traction in search results. In other words, let Google Search Console guide your keyword research. However, it's vital to maintain the existing URL.

The Mindset of an SEO for High-Ranking Websites

The SEO professional's mindset is strategically enhancing search engine visibility for the highest-ranking sites. It encompasses using keywords effectively, optimizing user engagement, maintaining content freshness, earning quality backlinks, and consistently analyzing and adapting strategies. This long-term approach demands patience, persistence, and adaptability to achieve improved rankings over time.

If you don’t see yourself in search results, ask yourself a few key questions:

If you haven’t answered yes to each of those questions, you have no right to rank. 

While achieving a top ranking for every industry-specific search term may not be feasible, securing high rankings for crucial search terms on key pages can significantly contribute to the organic growth of your business from within.

But ranking isn't traffic… Your perspective should extend beyond rankings, which, in isolation, do not directly influence the tangible bottom-line business results. Revenue generation occurs only when these rankings result in clicks, engaged visitors, and leads.

The opinion of the guest post authors may not coincide with the opinion of the Serpstat editorial staff and specialists.

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