Google Hates My Website….. HELP!
Hate is a strong word….. but it certainly feels very personal when it seems like Google hates you! How can you make Google give your site the love it deserves?
Problems ranking in Google fall into three categories;
- I used to rank, but have disappeared
- I have never ranked anywhere for anything
- I have a new site and want to avoid upsetting Google
Depending on where you fall in the list above, there are a series of measures which you need to take. These will establish why you aren’t ranking and why google hates you. Once you know why, you can take steps to improve the areas that google dislikes and then you will rank.
Google is just a machine and it applies a series of automated rules to each website it finds online to determine where to position it in its search results. If your site fails to fall within their guidelines for these rules, then you disappear…. simple as.
The most common reasons for not ranking are;
- Domain not indexed
- No backlinks
- Not in Google Web master Tools
- Low value/duplicate/spam content
- Spammed domain
- Over optimized exact match link text
- Under / over optimized content
- Slow loading pages
- High bounce rate
- Manual penalties
- Black hat practices
- Bad link Neighbourhoods
- Coding errors and excessive 404’s
- Duplicate Websites
Your Domain Isn’t In Google Index
Go to Google and search for www.yourdomain.com
If all is well then your website should be the first in the list. If you site doesn’t appear first then you have issues that need to be looked into. Google hasn’t included your website in its results, because it doesn’t consider your site to be good enough.
There are many reasons why this could be, but if you continue through the following steps, you will rule out many potential issues and it will help you to identify the cause.
If your site is new, and no SEO work has ever been done on it, then not being found by Google is quite straightforward to fix. All you need to do is to create a few links from Google friendly sites pointing to your site. Google will then follow those links and you will become a part of the ‘web’ of sites that are all joined together by links.
No Backlinks Issues
Without backlinks, no website would ever rank for anything. Google isn’t just looking for backlinks however, it is looking for quality backlinks, so getting links from any old Tom, Dick or Harry won’t do you much good in the long run.
Many times, a site won’t appear in Google because google doesn’t know you exist. If no one links to you then you are unfindable for search purposes.
In addition to creating a few links, it is beneficial to add your site to Google Web Master Tools (WMT’s). This is a tool that will provide you with lots of useful information that you will need going forwards, developing your website.
It will also allow you to submit an XML Sitemap to Google so it knows which pages of your site to visit and which to ignore. You also get error stats, schema mark up tools, and traffic keyword information that is not available in Google Analytics without WMTs.
Content Quality Issues
You have probably heard that content is king….. and to a certain extent it is……
There was once a time when you could scrape someone elses words and republish them on your page without any problems. Putting the moral issues of stealing content to one side for a moment…… the other problem with this, is that your words aren’t original or unique. They don’t offer value, or anything new to the topic, discussion or debate…. they are just recycling content that google already knows about.
Google checks the words on your pages, it can see if those words exist in the same order elsewhere and if they do…… they will compare the ages of the pages and if yours is found to be younger then you will be penalised in the search results. How much of a penalty depends on many other ranking factors, but duplicate content can kill your traffic…. and often does.
Pages with little content on the page often struggle to rank well. Search engines are looking for pages that provide answers to problems, solutions, information, help and advice. If you provide comprehensive content that is about a specific topic then your content will meet minimum requirements.
As a rule of thumb, 300 words is the bare minimum for a page, 500 words is better and 1000 or more starts to demonstrate a page that offers real value.
Domains can be spammed in several ways. In many cases your domain can be hijacked by spammers to send millions of junk mails. These are then marked as junk by recipients and your domain is classified as a ‘spam’ sender. This can soon impact your search engine rankings because search engines refer to this list as an indicator of quality and integrity.
If you buy a domain that has been used in the past, it is quite common for the domain to have a history and in many cases that history isn’t one of quality and trust. It is vital therefore to perform due diligence before you buy a domain to make sure that it hasn’t already been over optimized and spammed to death with low quality links from bad neighbourhoods.
Many site that have been around for a few years and that have had historic SEO carried out on them are ‘over optimized’. The way to get to the top of Google used to be to use ‘exact match anchor text’ from any links you could get to blast a site to the top of SERP’s. Since Google introduced their Penguin algorithm, all that has been turned on its head. Instead of large volumes of exact match anchor text, search engines want to see lots of ‘Brand’ link text and ‘URL’ link text from high quality, relevant websites.
As a consequence, if your site has a lot of exact match anchor text, you will not rank for the terms that are used in your exact match anchors. In extreme cases you won’t rank for anything until you address your backlink profile.
You can view your websites backlinks using majesticseo.com or ahrefs.com which will show you all of the sites and pages that link to you along with their trust and authority metrics, giving you a clear view of the current health of your backlink profile.
Quite often, a site won’t rank because it lack some or all of the key indicators thatsearch engines use to rank each site. If your site is lacking some or all of these indicators then you will struggle to rank well, if at all. Being under optimized is much easier to fix than over optimization and is certainly a quicker fix.
Use the SEO Quake Firefox plugin to analyse your website pages. This will show you what key indicators are in place for each page.
Slow Load Speed
Pages that load slowly can destroy your rankings. Google compares the load speed of each site, rewarding the fastest 20% and gradually penalising the slowest 80% by degrees.
With the advent of mobile devices now being used for over 50% of all searches, pages that load fast are vital for Google, and with the majority of potential visitors losing interest in slow sites in just a few seconds, Google will not show your site in its results if you load slowly…..
Check your website load speed with this Google tool
High Bounce Rate
Your bounce rate is a measure of the amount of people who don’t like what they find when they land on your page…… and hit the ‘back’ button.
Google will soon conclude that if lots of people hit the back button as soon as they arrive on your website that you are not a good result to give them for that particular search….. makes sense doesn’t it?
Your challenge is to get your visitors to stay on your site for longer and to click on more pages of your site. This sends strong signals to search engines that you are a good result for them to provide for that search term.
Manual Google Penalties
If Googles spiders flag up significant issues with your site, then they go to the trouble of having a real person review your website. If you reach this stage in the ranking process, it usually spells big trouble.
Historically, when Google release large significant algorithm updates which have a large scale impact….. as they did with Panda and Penguin, they notify website owners of the issue in WMT’s.
If your site has a manual penalty then you will usually see a notification in Google WMT’s under the >Search Traffic > Manual Action tab.
If you have had a manual penalty on your site then ask us how we can help you to get it removed
If you have a large number of 404 page not found errors on your site, or html / css coding errors then Google may take the view that your site isn’t managed well enough to deserve to receive any of their valuable search traffic.
Normally, a few 404 errors won’t have an impact, but combined with other errors can soon be harmful to your sites ability to rank well.
It used to be standard practice 4 or 5 years ago to have many microsites to rank for similar or the same keywords and search terms. Google stamped this out a few years ago and can easily see if you are trying to dominate a niche with multiple websites. If you are found to be trying to list multiple sites for the same keywords Google will demote all the related sites.
It is better practice to concentrate on having one high authority website.
The issues listed above are the most common reasons why a website is removed, dropped or excluded form Google SERP’s. There are other ways to get yourself dropped, but are far less common.
If you have any of the issues listed above, we can help to restore your websites reputation, trust and authority…… ask us for help now.