4 Big Reasons Your Search Rankings Fail

Table Of Contents

Although it is challenging, improving your website’s search rankings can be done. It is knowing the strategies and how to implement them that frustrate even experienced website owners.

Improving your search rankings is simple if you follow some helpful tips that guarantee your website is visible and attractive to visitors. WordPress users can get the Free Ultimate SEO Checklist.

Why Search Rankings Matter

Rankings determine your website’s placement in search results. Google uses ranking signals to organize millions of websites. Many of these rankings are partially under your control. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of visitors to a website by increasing the website’s visibility to users. Websites that appear on the first page of relevant searches, receive more attention. Who likes scrolling through multiple google pages? This is why about 75% of clicks occur on the first page. High visibility requires some effort using SEO techniques.

Google Penalties

Google, like everything, has a law and order system. This means that it could impose penalties that in turn will lower your rankings. If your site has been penalized, you should do everything in your power to remove the penalty ASAP. You will never achieve good search rankings in Google until the penalties are gone.

Although there are many different kinds they are often sorted into two categories: ‘algorithmic’ and ‘manual review’ penalties. If Google’s Webmaster quality guidelines are not followed, a Google reviewer will apply a manual review.

Google Panda Update for Website Rankings
The Google Panda update punishes websites with thin, boring content.

When thinking of the algorithmic penalties, you need to know your animals. As the two types of algorithmic penalties result from Google Panda and Google Penguin updates. Google Panda rewards compelling and gripping content, while penalizing thin, bland content. Google Penguin, targets spam and link-building practices.

You can be penalized by Google for many other reasons, mostly they involve breaking Google’s quality guidelines.

Penalties can result from:

  • Having hidden links or text in pages.
  • Cloaking) distributing a different version of web page to search engine bots and human visitors.
  • Having pages that contain irrelevant keywords.
  • Building poor-quality backlinks.
  • Distributing spyware, adware, or viruses.
  • Unnaturally using the same phrases or words in your texts (keyword stuffing) .
  • Using deceptive redirects.
  • Displaying large amounts of duplicate content .

If you think that your site has been penalized manually for any reason, there are some things you are able to do to recover your rankings. Firstly, you must log into Google Search Console. Once you have logged in, scroll down to Security & Manual Actions. You should see a drop-down menu, select Manual actions. Once you have done that you should be able to see if any manual penalties have been applied to your website. If you have penalties, you can request a reconsideration on the same page, only after you fixed the identified problems.

The best thing you can do to recover from algorithmic penalties, is to follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines. Following Google’s updates, and making sure your website and hosting is secure is another way to stay on top of penalties.

Seek & Destroy Poor Quality Backlinks

Poor-quality backlinks are any links to your website from undesirable domains, which crush your site’s rankings.

These links can include:

  • Links from ‘bad neighborhoods’, such as gambling sites.
  • Excessive exact-match anchor text links.
  • Excessive links from foreign language sites or unrelated websites.
  • Links from penalized domains, link directories, and link farms.

If there are any harmful links, you must take action. First, you need to locate where they came from. This can be found under the Links section, in the Google Search Console.

In that section, you will see a full summary of external links, internal links, and top linking sites of your website. Select Export External Links, which will give you a drop-down menus listing choices. To see a list of sites that link to yours, select More sample links.

You will then be able to export a list of your external links as a Google sheet, CSV file, or Excel spreadsheet. Once it is downloaded, you can then go through and look from suspicious domains by name.

To remove these backlinks you can use Google’s free disavow tool. You’ll need to upload a text document containing the links and domains of the site you no longer wish to associate with.

Make Your Website Faster for Better Search Rankings

Google has added a new tool to their Search Console name Core Web Vitals, which will evaluates your overall page experience. Page load speed, user interactivity and content stability are the key metrics.

Page Speed is the, now older, metric for page experience and is still included in the Web Vitals data. This is the amount of time it takes a page to display all of it’s content. Which in turn means that fast-loading sites usually appear higher in search results.

A good start to improve your website’s performance is to benchmark it with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. This tool tells you currently how long it takes your site to load and will point out ways to improve that speed.

To access this tool, enter your domain and then select Analyze. Once it has benchmarked your site, you should receive a score between 0 and 100. The higher the score, means the faster your website is performing.

Page Speed Tool

GT Metrix

GTMetrix makes a better Page Speed tool if you are a bit more of an advanced user. Try the GTMetrix Website Speed Test.

You’ll also see a section detailing the results of the tests and some recommendations. This will be located underneath your score. By following those recommendations, you can improve your score even further, making your website fasters for users.

Another method to improve your site’s loading time by choosing a high-performance hosting provider, as well as implementing the improvements mentioned in the PageSpeed tool. Using a high-performance hosting provider is like choosing between Mr. Pibb and Dr. Pepper, you know deep down which one you should choose.

Make a Mobile Friendly Website

Honestly… If your site is not mobile friendly you should update it before working on SEO & rankings.

Everyone has a smartphone nowadays. Therefore, being able to reach everyone anytime, anywhere is a huge thing. Most searches are made from mobile devices.

Sites that offer mobile-friendly designs tend to keep high traffic longer. This is an important signal for Google when it’s determining search rankings.

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.

Google Webmaster Central Blog

You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool, to see if your website is optimized for mobile devices. There you can see how your site is holding up for mobile users and improve where it is needed.


As you can tell, getting your rankings high is can be frustrating, but you can ensure that your site is on the right track by following these simple steps. Focus your efforts on the top 2, Penalties and Poor Backlinks, for the biggest bang for you buck type efforts. The task may seem daunting, but you have to take the first step four steps to get to the top of any mountain.

By Doug Harper

I make WordPress websites and offer Web-hosting for small business. Follow me: Twitter

3 comments

  1. You make some great and valid points, a lot of sites are struggling with these. I have seen that many companies ignore conversion optimization totally. They focus on getting content up and ignore all the basic problems and responsibilities of maintaining a quality website.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *