We’ve all been there, you start posting high quality content on your new website that Google should be loving. But nobody’s visiting your site, and you’ve got no idea why not. Turns out there’s a number of reasons why and you’re certainly not alone.
It’s a pretty natural thought when you’re just starting out to think that if you write good content and make a nice looking website, you’ll be making big money in no time. Hell, I’ve thought that since day 1. The reality is though, particularly nowadays, it’s quite difficult to climb to the top of the rankings in your first year.
In this guide, I’m going to look at common issues as to why you’re not ranking as high as you should be, why Google doesn’t want new sites ranking high and how to fast track your success.
Sitemaps and Indexing
The first invisible hurdle I reached was that Google wasn’t indexing my site. That pretty much means Google can’t read the site properly and therefore wasn’t bothering putting it in any search results. Ultimately, without the right sitemap setup you simply won’t get any traffic to any of your site pages. How do you know if you have a sitemap or not though? Type into a google search the following:
Site:yourwebsitename.com (so mine would be site:zeroeffortcash.com)
Then have a look at the results. This will only show pages from your site that Google has successfully indexed. If it looks like this, you’ve got a problem
If your site comes up with all your pages and posts, then you’re fine! If not here’s how to fix that:
- Create a Google Search Console Account
- Verify your account and link it with your website
- Go to the sitemap tab
- Submit your sites sitemap, then wait for Google to index it over the next few days
Once that’s all done, you can view your sitemap in search console to make sure all your posts are in it. You can also put any url from your site into the inspect Url bar at the top to check its status and request indexing if need be.
Another common problem is Google simply doesn’t like your content. That’s not to say that you’re writing rubbish posts, but the format of it may not be to Google’s liking. In fact, Google is very particular about how it reads and understands your content, so above all, it needs to know what your content is about.
This is where correctly labelling your title tags comes into use. As a simple rule use them as follows:
- H1: For use in the page title only (this will be set as default)
- H2: Any major headings throughout your article, such as ‘Diagnosing Problems’ in this article
- H3, H4, H5, H6: Different levels of sub-headings, in this article, ‘Title Tags’ along with all other sub-headings are H3 level.
Labelling these properly will allow Google to properly understand what your article is about and rank you for the appropriate keywords.
Site Speed is a struggle for all websites, regardless of how old or new they are. In fact, the top websites employ teams of people whose job is simply to make the site faster. Why? Because it heavily effects your rankings.
In our increasingly impatient world, people prefer to click on sites that load as quickly as possible. You can check what Google thinks of your site speed in search console by clicking the speed button on the side bar.
Speed is a huge ranking factor, so making sure your site is well optimized is crucial to picking up every little point you can in the rankings. I won’t get into how to speed up your site here, because we’d be here for hours and frankly, it’s the most boring thing ever.
However it’s extremely important to have both your desktop and mobile sites loading in under 3 seconds.
Google Just Doesn’t Like New Websites
Ok here’s the hard truth to swallow. While they won’t admit it, Google just doesn’t like new sites. Why not? You could be doing everything right and still not be getting any organic traffic from searches.
Dumbing things down for a second, Google puts sites at the top of the rankings which it trusts the most. They like lots of backlinks, quick page speeds, high social stats and hundreds of other things because it proves to them that the site has had a lot of work put into it and therefore, is producing high quality content.
The issue for those with a new site though, is we can’t get any of those things instantly. That’s where this whole issue starts. You need these metrics to rank well, but you kind of need to be ranking well to get these metrics. A little further down I’ll show you 7 different ways you can fast track your way through this annoying phase.
But for the moment try and understand where this all comes from. In Google’s eyes, sites that provide no substance, are filled with spam or scams tend to not last very long. There’s people out there who make a living out of creating bulk amounts of sites in one of those dodgy categories so it’s never an issue if one gets shut down. As well as this, new sites are never as good as sites that have been in the business for 10 years.
So when new sites like that pop up for them to index, regardless of what you’ve done, Google just won’t like it. This isn’t just my theory either, check out this study done by Ahrefs, which shows just how old the average site is on the first page of any Google search results.
On top of that, the individual page has quite a big influence, the hard truth is most pages will never rank for high traffic keywords if you don’t have a killer site to back it up. But just like the age of the site, you probably won’t know how the page is truly going until after a year.
Right now you’re probably quite annoyed at this info. It’s a real kick in the guts to know that your dreams of having a big successful blog could be way further away than you had hoped. Believe me, I had exactly the same feeling not all that long ago. So instead of getting down in the dumps about it, lets have a look at ways you can skip through that time frame quicker and start crushing your competition.
How To Fast Track Your Success
As mentioned earlier, there are a few ways that you can be getting solid site traffic in those early stages. Using all the tips below combined will surely result in your site getting off to a flying start.
Social media has become the most used part of the internet, so why not get in on it. If done right, the exposure you get from socials could be earning you a lot of traffic. Look at sites like Buzzfeed, who get more than 7 Billion monthly views, the vast majority of which come from their social channels.
Obviously you’re not going to be a powerhouse like Buzzfeed just yet, so what you’ll need to do is create eye catching content and make sure it’s in the right places. A good spot to start is through Pinterest, I didn’t think Pinterest was used by bloggers, but I was very wrong. In fact Pinterest generates hundreds of millions of clicks a month for blogs of all niches, here’s an example of how dollarsprout posted in their early days.
Notice how it’s colorful, has different fonts and is just generally eye-catching (without being ugly). This pin, and all their others, get shared around to hundreds of different users boards around Pinterest, meaning there’s hundreds of different ways people will come across them and hopefully click on them.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are a little more basic to market your articles on, it’s a lot more text based here and while a picture like that attached will certainly help, it’s not crucial to grabbing your audiences attention. In saying that though, if you create a good image like above, share it around to all your social channels, there’s no harm in copying your own post on different sites.
To really smash out your social work and not spend long hours on it, I’d suggest getting a social media automation tool, such as Buffer or Hootsuite. There tools will allow you to connect all your accounts to one platform, then be able to schedule posts across all your channels months in advance.
As a bonus for your effort with socials, many SEO experts seem to think that it is a factor that Google counts towards ranking.
Obviously this is my least favorite technique because it requires spending money, but it’s guaranteed to work as soon as you set it up. Depending on your niche, you might find that different ads work better, whether it’s on social media or just in Google. I’d certainly recommend starting with Google though.
How Google ads work (in search results), is you set a bid for a particular keyword, which will be part of a constant auction system and the highest bid wins the position at the top of the search results. Costs per click (CPC), is usually between $1 and $2, but can range anywhere up to $50 for highly competitive keywords.
Building links is absolutely crucial to the long term success of your SEO efforts and website as a whole. Time and time again, it’s been proven that dofollow backlinks are the most important ranking factor that Google counts, as it is the only true way that they can determine the quality of your sites’ material.
What that basically means to Google is, the more people who are referencing your content around the net by linking to it, the higher quality your content is and the higher they will rank you in searches.
White hat links are any links that are completely legit and natural. For example, if an article from a reputable website linked to an article on your website to support their content, that would be white hat.
These are super important to the success of your site. Put simply, Google loves them and you will too when you get rewarded for them. Common examples of white hat links are:
- In text links
- Guest posts
Unless you’re extremely talented with your writing, you’re going to have to do some outreach for all of these. Link building can be one of the most time consuming elements you will have to deal with in the early stages of your site, but remember, a website is a long term investment, the work you put in now will pay off later.
Unfortunately, the system is a little broken. Since this became an important ranking factor more than 15 years ago, people have searched for loopholes wherever they can to jump ahead of their competition.
These types of links are called ‘black hat’, which basically describes any links gained illegitimately, most of which you will see on spammy websites.
These types of links used to work really well, but Google saw what was happening and made it far harder to get away with this. In fact, you’re far more likely to get a penalty doing this than you are of gaining any traffic. In summary, don’t do it.
High Quality Articles
Taking some time to write a comprehensive, long article could also greatly push your rankings higher. Both the length and the quality of what you’ve written will be important here.
The length of an article may not seem too important to you, but in the mind of Google, the longer it is, the more information you’re giving on a particular topic, therefore the more likely you are to solve the readers issue. This was shown in a study conducted by Backlinko, who found back in 2016 that longer was indeed favored.
While the amount that is preferred changes all the time, it’s clear that you should be writing long articles, I typically aim mine to be around the 2,000 mark at a minimum.
As well as directly effecting your position, having longer articles also influences a few other ranking factors:
- Viewers will spend longer on your page, telling Google you’re site has a lot to offer
- The chance that they click a link to another part of your site is higher, which Google loves
- More content = more keywords!
Long Tail Keywords
As we know, ranking for high competition keywords without a good site is nearly impossible. Targeting lower competition keywords is far easier to rank on the first page for, and will also give you a more refined audience, who are more likely to be looking for exactly what you’ve written.
If you don’t know what a long tail keyword is, if we look at a high competition keyword such as ‘best online surveys’, we could change that to ‘best online surveys for American teens’ and have a far higher chance of ranking for that phrase than the first. Sure, there will be less traffic, but being on the first page for a long tail keyword is better than being on the fifth page of a high traffic keyword.
To find suggestions for long tail keywords, you can use tools such as Ubersuggest or Long Tail Pro and look for the keywords with a low competition rating. To get the most out of the suggestions, use the keywords you’ve picked as either a part of the title of the page, or a subheading (with H2) tag.
Guest Posts are without a doubt the king of gaining backlinks. I thought I’d talk about it separately because it has been so effective for me that it deserves it’s own section.
Firstly, there’s nothing fancy about guest posts; for the most part, they’re just like any other post you’d create for you own site. The beauty of it though, is that by slotting in links to your own content where possible (and if they let you), you’ll not only jump in the rankings, but are likely to also gain traffic direct from the links.
Finding opportunities for guest posts is surprisingly easy, but it will take time. The quickest way is to type: [your niche + “guest post”] and click on all the results that come up, then message them with a solid pitch. An ideal pitch is personal, never bulk sent and features examples of past work and your topic idea you want to write about for them.
Remember, they get hundreds of these a month, they’re not interested in spammy mail. Here’s an example of one that landed me a post on a 29 DA site:
You might be thinking, how is this going to effect my rankings at all. Well, it won’t directly, however forums contain millions of people with highly specific questions or interests, that’s why they’re in the forum in the first place.
In one of these forums around the web, there’s bound to be people whose question can be answered with content from your website. The benefit of this is that they’ll definitely improve your bounce rate, time on page and potentially even pages per visitor.
All you have to do is search Google for the questions you think people might be asking (or your target keywords in quotations), then go through and reply. For the love of god, don’t just reply a link, it’s a sure fire way to have your account banned and the whole exercise be pointless.
Websites Are Long Term Money Makers
Every time I would hear someone say that when my site was new, I wanted to ram my head against a wall. I didn’t start blogging to make money in a years’ time, I wanted to make money now. It took some time to come to the realization that nothing would change the fact that websites are pretty slow for a while.
But believe me, once they get going, they get going. It’s no secret that there’s been sites out there that have made people millions upon millions of dollars after only a few years. I mean, look at dollarsprout, they only took 8 months before their monthly revenue was over $100,000. Obviously they’re a very extreme case, who started up when the game was a lot easier than it is now, but still, the internet is limitless in your potential earnings.
If you’ve tried all these steps and given it a few months to take effect, but are still having no luck, get in touch with me by commenting or emailing me and I will personally help you find your issues.