5 Reasons Why Your Website Can't Be Found in Search Engines

Inevitably, every successful business figures out that merely having a website doesn't guarantee a boost in traffic and sales. Chances are that unless your business has a nationally known brand, you need to leverage the awesome power of search engines to deliver the traffic necessary to grow your business.

Some businesses realize it early, maybe even before their website launches (usually because they have someone giving them good advice) and as a result see fairly immediate dividends. Most businesses, however, are not as lucky. After about 6-12 months of having their website up-and-running with little-to-no traffic, it dawns on them that their customers can't buy their products or services if they don't even know they exist.

We hear all the time from business owners who have recently come to this realization. In most cases, those business owners are frustrated that their investment in a web presence is not yielding a return. On top of that, their frustration is compounded because they see their competition performing far better in searches for similar products and services.

So, the big question is why some websites perform better than others in search engines. The long-winded answer is complex, but based on our experience with incoming clients, here are the 5 most common reasons why a website is hard to find in search engines:

  1. Your audience doesn't search for you, they search for your services. Unless your company is in the very rare position of being a universally-known brand, people don't search for your products or services by your company's name. Assume that if someone goes to a search engine, it's because they don't know your business exists. If they did,  they would just go directly to your website instead of a search engine. The most common way to solve this issue is to do Keyword Research. This will tell you what search terms will deliver to your website the highest amount of customers who are looking for your product or service.

  2. Form over function. When your website was built 3 years ago, you choose to have it done in Flash because it looked a lot more cool and that's really all you cared about. What you didn't know at the time was that Flash websites are, in effect, useless to search engines like Google. A search engine may technically know that a Flash website exists, but the lack of proper coding essentially makes the website look blank.

  3. The website was built by a designer, not someone with knowledge of best-practice search engine optimization. A lot of businesses get their websites developed by companies that have deep skill sets in design, but no experience in search engine optimization. The result is a cool looking website, but it looses points with the search engines. Realize this: every time a search engine like Google indexes your website, it is compared to Google's standards. Things like bad code, poorly-titled URL's, and lack of Meta Data will actually count against a website. In some cases, a website's score can be so poor that Google will blacklist the website, making sure is disappears from organic search results altogether.

  4. Competitors have more quality content. Yes, size matters in search engines. You heard it hear first. If you took one website with 10 pages and compared it to a website in the same industry with 25 pages that are full of valuable keywords (See #1), a search engine will rank the larger site higher in almost every case. This doesn't mean that a website should have hundreds of pages that don't add value. Search engines like to see lots of pages, each offering unique content. The more pages that have unique and valuable content, the better the site will perform in search engine results. This is why a well thought out content strategy is very important to a website's success in garnering traffic from search engines.

  5. No inbound links. Related to #4, the more valuable the content on your website, the better the chances that other websites will link to your website--almost like a validation that the content is so good, it needs to be read by others. So, inbound links are extremely valuable to how well a website performs in search engine results because search engines like to see other sites linking to your website. It's very important to have a sound Link Building strategy.

If your website suffers from any or all of these common issues, consider hiring an SEO expert to reverse the current trend and start getting results.