Being an advertising agency that specializes in local SEO, we get this question a lot.
Business owners type a word into Google that they want their website to show up for, but they’re nowhere to be found.
And they have no idea why.
Over the last little while, we here at Active Business Growth have been exposed to hundreds and hundreds of websites.
And from this, we have learned the most common reasons for why local business owner’s websites have poor SEO results.
Today, we would like to share with you the 5 most common reasons we have found for why this is so.
The 5 Most Common Reasons Your Local Business Website Isn’t Showing Up On Google
1) Thin Content
When we’re analyzing a client’s website, quite often we find that their website has VERY thin content.
By “very” thin content, we mean that their website only consists of a few pages with a couple paragraphs each.
But when it comes to SEO, the more words you can include in your content – the better.
This is because the more words you have, the more data Google has to work with.
And the more data Google has to work with, the more potential search terms your website can show up for.
For example: if you’re a landscaper and all you have on your site are the different prices and packages for your services, you’re limiting yourself to what you can rank for on Google.
Whereas, if you had that same information PLUS you had pages on your website that explain the process behind what you do, the current trends in the landscaping industry, answers to frequently asked client questions, and other valuable content, you would be helping Google understand what your site is about and how it is relevant to specific keyword searches.
And if someone actually did type in, let’s say, one of the questions that you answered such as “how long does it take to install a fence in my backyard?”, you just might show up for this search.
As you can probably tell, the more helpful, relevant content that you add, the more likely it is that your website will show up on Google for industry-related local searches.
And if you continue to do this, you will seriously be increasing your website’s online presence through best SEO practices.
2) Poor On Page Optimization
With this content, though, you need to ensure it is optimized in such a way that it makes it very easily understandable and digestible for Google’s crawlers.
When Google crawls your site, there are certain aspects of each page that it looks for to understand what that page is about.
It looks through the title of your page, your heading tags, your image file names, image alternative text, and much, much more.
We find that a lot of websites that DO have a substantial amount of content HAVE NOT optimized this content for Googlebot.
If you went back and structured each page to include your target keywords in the places that matter (ie. the title tag, heading tags, etc.) it would allow Google to easily understand what it is each specific page is about.
By doing this, you’re able to construct each page in such a way that gives you the highest chance of ranking for the relevant keywords that you want.
Most business owners don’t know the ins and outs of optimizing their web pages, so there is ALWAYS room for improvement.
This is a common reason business owners are not getting the SEO results they desire.
3) Not Enough Quality Backlinks
This is another extremely common reason for a website’s lack of rankings because most business owners don’t know what backlinks are and/or don’t know how to check how many they have.
Backlinks are simply a link TO your site FROM another site.
We explain this concept in detail here.
In general, the more backlinks you have, the more trustworthy your site is seen in the eyes of Google; thus, the higher your rankings.
However, since this is such an unknown concept for most people, it is one of the pillars that is usually lacking in most local business owner’s websites.
Now, there are paid tools that we can utilize to find how many backlinks your site has, such as ahrefs, Majestic, or Mangools.
And when we use these tools to analyze a client’s site, we usually see only a couple of backlinks that have been naturally formed.
It would look something like this:
Only 13 backlinks from 7 referring domains (7 other websites).
This is considered extremely weak.
And it’s because your competitors that are on the first page of Google for most of your local industry searches will have backlinks that look like this:
126 backlinks from 30 referring domains (30 other websites).
Therefore, if you want to replace your competitors on the first page of Google, you need to focus on building up your backlinks.
4) Competitive Industry
Speaking of competitors, understanding how competitive your industry is in terms of SEO is essential.
Some industries are more competitive than others, so knowing where you stand right out of the gate is crucial when building a strategic SEO action plan.
For example, ranking your website in the real estate industry will be MUCH harder than ranking your website in the pop-up frozen yogurt industry, all else being equal.
This is because there are certain industries that make BIG money off of a single sale.
In this example, for a real estate broker to make their money back from investing in SEO, they may only have to make 1 sale a month.
Whereas, the frozen yogurt shop may have to make hundreds of sales to make their investment back.
Because of this, industries with large one-time transactions or a high customer lifetime value will have the ability to pour money into their SEO campaigns and see MASSIVE results.
This makes it MUCH harder to compete and may be the reason your website isn’t yet ranking, despite your best efforts.
Keep in mind that your business’s location matters, too.
Ranking a real estate agent in Toronto is going to be a lot harder than ranking a real estate agent in Aurora.
The amount of competition and how saturated your local market is will greatly affect how difficult it will be to rank your site in your area.
You must keep this in mind as you are evaluating your website’s rankings.
5) Your Site Is Too New
The fifth and last most common reason we find that a client’s website isn’t ranking is because the website itself is too new.
Have you ever heard of Google’s Sandbox?
Think of it as the probation period or “proving period” for your website.
For about the first 6 months since you register your domain, even if you do everything right, Google will not rank your site.
This is because Google values trust above all else.
And when a website is within that first 6-month window, there is nothing Google can go off of to establish that your website can be trusted.
It doesn’t want to lead its users to a spammy, unsecured site, so it makes new websites stand the test of time to prove to the search engine that it is safe to send its users there.
Although, Google itself hasn’t outright admitted to the “sandbox”, it is generally agreed upon within the SEO community that it indeed does exist (although the timelines may vary).
You can read the ahrefs article – which compiles dozens of SEO experts’ opinions about this topic – here.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t neglect SEO, though.
If you optimize your site during this sandbox period, by the time your website passes the probation, you have the potential to see a MASSIVE influx of visitors within a relatively short period of time.
If you can tough through those first few months, you may be heavily rewarded in the end.
Why Your Website Isn’t Ranking – A Summary
To sum it up, there can be many, many reasons why your local business website isn’t ranking for your target keywords on Google.
The 5 most common reasons we find most business owners to have are: thin content, poor on-page optimization, lack of quality backlinks, an intensely competitive industry, and a site that is too new.
The good news is that these problems are easy to fix.
Here at Active Business Growth, we specialize in helping our clients appear at the top of a Google search.
We use all of the latest tools, technologies, and insider knowledge to ensure you profit from your SEO investment.
If you would like us to perform a completely FREE SEO audit of your website, please fill out our contact form here.
We’ll draft a custom growth SEO action plan for you to take advantage of that will help get your website to the top of Google.
We look forward to working with you.