22 Important Reasons Why Your Articles Aren’t Ranking on Google in 2022

Do you keep pressing that Publish button and not seeing the results you think you should be getting?

Looking for the potential reasons why your articles aren’t ranking?

I have good news and bad news for you.

The bad news is most of the reasons why your articles aren’t ranking are your fault.

Now to the good news. Two pieces of good news, actually.

The first one is there might not be anything wrong with your blog or your content, you just might be impatient.

The second good news is that even if there are problems, you can fix almost all of them.

It’s not going to be easy, though.

Stick to the end of this article and you’ll become aware of what might be going wrong with your blog and what you need to do to reverse the damage.

Let’s jump in and look at the reasons why your articles aren’t ranking!

Reason #1: Your website is relatively new

How old is your website?

A week, a month, or even 3 months?

In the VAST majority of cases, that’s not nearly enough time for your website to start being taken seriously by the search engine algorithms.

This is especially true if you’re in a competitive niche and you’re writing content on competitive keywords.

But even if you did your homework and you’re creating content on low-competition keywords and you’re publishing 3-4 quality articles per week, your website will still not be able to build trust with Google that fast.

There are exceptions to this rule, but I’m guessing that if you’re looking for advice on this topic, your website isn’t one.

And that’s perfectly OK.

This is actually one of the biggest barriers to entry when it comes to blogging.

The search engine game just takes time.

So, if you’ve just published an article on a relatively fresh website, don’t expect it to go anywhere anytime soon.

Now, if your website is older than, for example, a couple of years and it’s still not getting any traffic, you need to keep reading.

This article is going to go into many specific areas and hopefully help you realize what you need to improve.

Solution:

If your website is younger than 6 months, there might be nothing wrong with it and I have no solutions to offer at this point.

I would urge you to continue reading so you know what pitfalls to avoid.

This is a game of patience and constant improvements.

Reason #2: Your articles are relatively new

I’ve written extensively on this topic so you can check out my article “How Long Does it Take For an Article to Rank on Google [in 2020]” for an in-depth answer.

If you “ain’t got time for that,” here’s a TL:DR version.

It takes 6-10 months for a new article to reach its peak placement on Google.

There are 200 known ranking factors Google takes into account when ranking a piece of content so it naturally takes quite a bit of time for the algorithm to test everything out.

6-10 months is just an average amount of time, some articles will take even longer to reach their peak placement.

Why do I say “peak placement?”

Because that’s where your article is going to start getting the most amount of page views in its lifespan.

On the other hand, if it’s been a year and your article is nowhere to be seen, something went wrong.

Solution:

For new articles, you just have to be patient and give it 6-10 months before starting to panic.

Still, if you continue reading you will find about a ton of best practices and you’ll be able to start improving your articles immediately.

If your article is a year old and isn’t ranking on the first page of Google, the usual suspects are:

  • Keyword is too competitive
  • Article isn’t comprehensive enough
  • Your website isn’t authoritative enough
  • Technical issues on your website
  • Missed search intent, etc.

Odds are, it’s a combination of all these things.

I will go more in-depth on each of these points as the article progresses.

Reason #3: Your website is having technical issues

Search engines are sophisticated enough to recognize if a website is having technical issues and are likely to recommend websites that aren’t having issues instead.

You can discover the most severe issues in the Google Search Console.

You can find this information under Coverage.

If your website is having technical issues, you will find out how many errors are there and more information about each of the errors in the Details section.

You can also use a tool like Screaming Frog to audit your website for any errors.

This tool has a free and a paid version.

The free version has a 500 URL limitation, but that should be enough for smaller websites.

Upon auditing your website, the tool will provide you with an in-depth analysis of the issues it found.

Let’s go through the most common technical issues and how to solve them.

1. Robots.txt file is set to block access to web crawlers

Robots.txt is a text file search engine crawlers first go to when visiting your website to check what they’re allowed and not allowed to access.

To check this, type in “yourdomain.com/robots.txt” into your web browser and press Enter.

Here’s a couple of examples you could end up with:

If you get the second results, it means all access to web crawlers is blocked.

The only reason why this setting would be set to “block all access” is if it was manually set this way.

Solution:

How to change the robots.txt file settings varies from platform to platform so to change it on your website, you will have to search Google for specific guidelines.

If you had 3rd party work done on your website, it may very well be that a developer forgot to change this back to “allow access.”

Contact them to rectify this issue.

Alternatively, check out this in-depth article on robots.txt files from Neil Patel’s blog and learn how to make manual changes safely.

2. Noindex or Nofollow meta tags are set for certain pages

Noindex meta tag means search engines will not index a certain page.

If this meta tag is set for a page, it would be as if it didn’t exist when it comes to search engines.

They would avoid indexing it and, in turn, it wouldn’t appear anywhere in the search results.

You can imagine how damaging that would be if this is set by mistake or not removed after work was being done on your pages.

If your website is being updated or worked on by a lot of people, it would be a good idea to audit the website and check for this meta tag from time to time.

Nofollow meta tag tells search engines not to follow any links on the page this meta tag is set for.

In general, you want search engines to follow the links on your website.

Google in its guidelines suggests that the reasons to “nofollow” the links would be paid links and untrusted content.

Why?

Because Google penalizes you if you buy backlinks or if the links lead to untrusted content.

Why does Google penalize for bought backlinks?

Because backlinks are an important ranking factor and buying or selling them messes up with organic search results.

In other words, pages that buy backlinks artificially boost their search rankings and Google wants to put a stop to that.

Solution:

A tool like Screaming Frog shows you all the pages with Noindex and Nofollow meta tags.

This way you can make sure none of them are tagged with these meta tags by mistake.

If multiple people have access to your website it would be a good idea to periodically make sure none of the pages are miss-tagged.

3. Your website doesn’t have an XML Sitemap

XML Sitemap helps search engine crawlers to get to every page of your website and index them all.

While crawlers are getting better and better at doing their job, sometimes they need a bit of help.

To check if your website has a sitemap or not, simply add “/sitemap.xml” to your domain name and press enter.

If you end up with a 404 Error, this means your site doesn’t have an XML sitemap.

Solution:

You need to create a sitemap for your website.

Manually creating a sitemap is more or less simple, depending on your website platform.

If your website is based on WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugin can generate a sitemap for you.

Yoast SEO is a fantastic SEO plugin and I suggest getting it regardless of needing it for generating a sitemap or not.

I’m talking about the free version Yoast SEO, of course.

That’s all you need.

Reason #4: Your article is missing or has a non-optimized meta description

Meta descriptions are the blurbs displayed right on the SERPs (search engine results pages).

They’re supposed to entice potential readers to click on your article and give them a taste of what’s inside.

Although meta descriptions are the length of a Tweet or a little longer (up to 160 characters) and might seem insignificant, they can often make a huge difference in the click-through rates.

By default, Google pulls a piece of your article it thinks is relevant and displays it as the meta description.

However, Google often doesn’t pull the most relevant info or even any info at all, which looks odd in the SERPs.

And when something looks odd in the SERPs, people are less likely to click on it.

Backlinko did a study on 5 million websites and found that “pages with a meta description get 5.8% more clicks than those without a description.”

Solution:

Needless to say, a well-crafted meta description is much better than anything Google could pull from the article itself.

This is another thing Yoast SEO can help you with.

It simply allows you to set your meta descriptions with ease, among other things.

Yoast also gives you a preview and lets you see how your meta description is going to look like both on mobile and desktop.

By having this much control, your meta descriptions don’t simply have to be previews of your content but can serve as crafted advertisements that entice readers to click on your articles.

And the more people click on your links in the SERPs, the higher rankings your articles will get.

Of course, the articles themselves have to provide value too or else your audience will simply bounce.

Reason #5: Your website or article isn’t indexed by Google

Although search engine algorithms are becoming more and more sophisticated, they’re far from perfect.

There are quite a few reasons why this might happen and some of them I’ve already covered.

Solution:

There are two ways to “force” Google to index your article.

Both ways involve the Google Search Console tool. https://search.google.com/search-console/about

For the first one to work, you have to visit the Google Search Console in your web browser.

When you’re inside the tool, do the following:

  • Step 1: click on “Add Property” and connect your website with the tool
  • Step 2: add the URL you want to be indexed
  • Step 3: click on the Request Indexing button
  • Step 4: wait until your indexing request is logged, it could take 20+ seconds

The second way to connect your website with Google Search Console and make sure your articles get indexed asap is to install the Google Site Kit WordPress plugin.

This way, Google’s services you choose to activate connect with your website on your very dashboard.

Follow these steps to do this:

  • Step 1: Hover over Plugins in your dashboard and click on Add New
  • Step 2: Search for “Google Site Kit” in the search box
  • Step 3: Click on Install Now and then click on Activate right after that
  • Step 4: Click on the Site Kit button on your dashboard and then click on the Start Setup button
  • Note: Make sure you’re logged into your Google account in your web browser before going to the next step, create one if necessary (it can be a Gmail account, for example)
  • Step 5: Get back into your Site Kit plugin and click on the Start Setup button
  • Step 6: Follow Google’s easy 5-step setup process

And you’re done.

Google Search Console should be automatically activated.

From there, you can activate some other Google services if you want.

I suggest activating Google Analytics too.

Warning: do not activate AdSense unless you specifically know what that is and you are certain you want to activate it for your website.

Reason #6: Your website is not mobile-friendly

According to Statista, 51% of all website traffic worldwide comes from mobile devices.

Mobile devices already took over, and their share in website traffic will only increase.

Google recognized this a while back and enacted its mobile-first indexing policy.

This means that Google “predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.”

If this doesn’t make you take mobile seriously, I don’t know what will.

To check if your page is mobile-friendly, head over to this tool by Google and paste the URL into the search box and then click Test URL.

Let the test do its thing (it could take up to a minute so be patient).

I’ve deliberately entered a page that’s not mobile-friendly so you can see what kind of advice Google gives you to make your page mobile-friendly.

Google will tell you what the biggest problems are and send you to their Mobile Design resource pages.

There, you can learn more about mobile-friendly website design and hopefully make improvements to your page.

Solution:

The solutions to this problem may vary depending on what platform your website is on.

If you’re a WordPress user, simply choose a mobile-friendly theme that will save you a lot of headaches.

I’m not going to suggest a theme because there are many options and which one is best for you depends entirely on your tastes and preferences.

Loading speed is another important factor Google takes into account when judging how mobile-friendly a website is.

If your articles or pages are loading slowly, it will likely affect their rankings.

More on this in the next section.

Reason #7: Your articles are loading too slowly

In the worst-case scenario, Google crawlers won’t even index your pages if they’re taking excessive amounts of time to load.

At the very least, slow loading speeds will negatively impact your rankings.

If your page takes more than three seconds to load, 50% or more visitors will simply bail.

Remember, Google starts measuring user experience from the moment someone clicks on your link in the SERPs.

Them leaving before your article even managed to load up does not bode well for the article’s ranking.

Solution:

Head over to Google PageSpeed Insights and perform a test to see what kind of improvements you should consider making.

Simply copy and paste a URL you’d like to test and click Analyze.

I tested one of my pages and, as you can see, I have some work to do.

My score of 58 is not terrible, but it’s definitely not great either.

Google also provides you with tips on how to improve your website loading speeds.

Scroll down and you will see the list of biggest opportunities to speed up your page.

You can click on each opportunity for more info.

Consider taking Google’s advice and make changes that would improve your page loading speeds.

One such area where you could score considerable increases is better image management.

Images take up 50-90% of almost any website’s size so getting an image compression plugin like EWWW Image Optimizer would benefit most websites.

Keep in mind that the final page speed test results can depend on your website hosting plan as well.

Needless to say, dedicated website hosting will always beat shared hosting.

However, this doesn’t mean you should be shelling out money for dedicated website hosting if you have a relatively new website.

Only do this if your website is already earning money and you want to re-invest some of it back into upping your web hosting plan.

Reason #8: Keyword research issues

Now that we’ve covered quite a few of the potential technical reasons why your articles aren’t ranking on Google, let’s consider the content side of the equation.

Creating content should always start with and be influenced by keyword research.

There are free and paid keyword research tools.

Some of the best free keyword research tools are:

  • Answerthepublic.com – check out my in-depth guide on Answer The Public
  • LSI Keywords generator – powerful tool that enables you to find out what other naturally occurring words are found around your specific keyword and use them in your content
  • Keyword Sheeter – a tool that helps you find long-tail keyword ideas around your main keyword of choice
  • People Also Ask and Related Searches features that Google displays directly in the SERPs – use them to find out what problems people are having on a particular topic

A huge reason why your articles aren’t showing up on Google even months and months after being published could be the fact that you’re picking keywords that are too competitive.

Solution:

Focus on long-tail keywords.

Here’s an example of a short-tail keyword branching out into long-tail keywords:

  • Headphones
  • Headphones for gaming
  • Noise cancelling headphones for gaming
  • Noise cancelling headphones for PC gaming
  • Best noise cancelling headphones for PC gaming under $100

As you can see, the keywords start to become longer and more targeted.

Not only do long-tail keywords usually have less competition, but they also carry average conversion rates of 36%!

Why is that?

Let’s take a look at our “Best noise cancelling headphones for PC gaming under $100” example.

This is usually a long-tail keyword that someone would be typing into Google when they’re very close to making a buying decision.

Meanwhile, a person typing in “headphones” likely doesn’t know what they want and is far from making a buying decision.

Would you rather someone ready to buy check out your article or someone far from that decision?

Reason #9: You missed the search intent

Search intent is a critically important concept that can make or break your article.

It’s both easy to miss and hard to fix, unfortunately.

You could create a fantastic piece of content and have it go nowhere if you miss the search intent.

Let me give you an example.

If you search Google for “birthday presents for girlfriend,” you’ll find that virtually all the results on the first page are lists of specific birthday present ideas.

Why?

Because when someone types this keyword into Google, usually their intent is to get a list of ideas to help them pick a nice present for their girlfriend.

If you miss the search intent and write an in-depth article on what makes birthday presents for girlfriends good, for example, the article will go nowhere.

Google doesn’t display lists of present ideas for this keyword because it THINKS people want that, but because it KNOWS people want that through testing and that’s all it will ever show them.

This is why it’s particularly brutal to miss the intent behind search queries.

In a lot of cases, it means you have to write an entirely new article on a particular keyword from scratch.

Solution:

Before starting an article, always Google your keyword and do some competitive research.

It’s OK to emulate successful content because that’s a sign of what searchers want and click on.

This doesn’t have to be super-complicated.

Simply open the first page articles and try to draw meaningful conclusions from what already works on a particular topic.

Reason #10: Your content is not original

Unoriginal content is a complicated issue.

Long story short, Google makes a distinction between ‘copied’ and ‘duplicate’ content.

And the distinction is the intent.

Copied content carries a malicious intent of ‘stealing’ someone else’s work.

Duplicate content does not carry any such intent with it.

For example, websites that sell beauty products can use manufacturer’s descriptions for said products which would mean they all had duplicate content.

Another example would be you duplicating your own content for whatever reason.

Google’s people are adamant that there’s no such thing as ‘duplicate content penalty.’

Copied content, however, does carry a great deal of risk with it.

Google’s algorithm is sophisticated enough to even see through slight changes like the use of synonyms and still treat the content as ‘copied.’

Solution:

Don’t ‘copy’ content with the intent of stealing it.

That’s not a long-term strategy that will get you to the results you desire.

The results will most likely be the opposite of what you want, in fact.

When it comes to ‘duplicate content,’ I would suggest checking out this in-depth article on Hobo Web because this article goes into scenarios where even ‘duplicate content’ could pose a problem.

It’s a long read, but well worth it.

Hats off to Shaun Anderson for creating such an extensive piece on the subject.

My final verdict on ‘duplicate’ content is don’t do it unless you know exactly what you’re doing.

Reason #11: You’re not using images and/or videos in your articles

People like images and videos in articles and, in turn, Google does too.

Images have been essential to our storytelling since the dawn of mankind.

This has not changed in modern times.

In fact, articles with images get 94% more views according to this article.

And when articles are getting views, search engines take note of that.

You will rarely if ever see top results in the SERPs without any kind of multimedia these days.

Using videos in your articles can be just as, or even more powerful.

Take this one case study done by Wistia for example.

Wistia reports a 260% increase of dwell time in content pieces with videos in them.

This has a huge impact on dwell time and other user experience factors Google takes into account when ranking a page.

Solution:

Use images and videos in your articles.

It’s as simple as that.

The only guideline is that the images and videos should fit the content and be used where it makes sense.

If you’re using images to “lighten up” the content and break the monotony, I suggest using an image every 200-300 words of text.

And if you’re using them as a part of a step-by-step guide, for example, use as many as you need.

Using copyrighted images and videos is a big no-no.

Reason #12: Your copywriting skills need improving

There are very few things more important in this world when it comes to ‘selling’ than copywriting.

When I say ‘selling,’ I don’t necessarily mean it literally.

Figuratively speaking, you’re trying to sell your article to potential readers in the SERPs.

With so little information available in the SERPs, good copy can really make your article stand out.

Not only are most people headline-readers, but most of them even share content after only reading the headline according to this study.

This means that a well-crafted title alone can propel your content when it comes to social media sharing.

I won’t be giving you any solutions in this section because I need to improve on my copywriting skills too.

I can only recommend a few books that often find their place in the most recommended books on copywriting:

  • The Copywriter’s Handbook by Robert Bly
  • Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath
  • Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy
  • The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarman
  • The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy

Reason #13: Your content isn’t accurate

While Content accuracy is not a Google ranking factor, in and of itself, it sure does affect how your audience perceives your content and you as its creator.

Let’s take this scenario into account:

  • Someone clicks on your article in the SERPs
  • Starts reading it
  • Notices an inaccuracy
  • They bounce

Google can’t exactly tell why this visitor bounced, but it does know they bounced.

Without the inaccuracy in your article, this visitor would have spent more time on your page and maybe even clicked on some other page on your website.

This would have positively affected dwell time, average session duration, bounce rate, etc.

All direct and indirect factors that affect Google rankings.

Content accuracy is a great example of how something might not be a direct ranking factor, but it certainly is an indirect one because it can affect the direct factors.

Solution:

It goes without saying that you should strive to provide the most accurate content possible when writing an article.

And when you become aware of an inaccuracy in your already published content, it’s always worth it to fix it.

Every bit helps and even the smallest steps have the potential to compound into major shifts in rankings over time.

Reason #14: Your content isn’t comprehensive

Studies like this one cite that the average word count of Google first page results is 1,890 words.

We’ve finally cracked the code.

More words means better rankings, right?

Wrong.

To make it crystal-clear, long-form content does NOT equal comprehensive content.

Artificially boosting your word count will get you nowhere.

The reason why the top results are usually long-form is because they’re comprehensive.

If you’re going to “deal with all or nearly all elements or aspects of something,” your content will tend to be longer rather than shorter.

However, there are plenty of exceptions to this rule.

You will often see articles that aren’t that long, but they include many elements or aspects of the topic they cover which makes them comprehensive.

Solution:

Always approach your topics from as many angles as possible and try to make them comprehensive and, above all, useful to your audience.

Before starting an article, open the first page of SERPs on your keyword and see what caliber of articles are already out there.

Your goal is to always try to write the best article out there on a particular keyword.

Often times, this is your only competitive advantage over websites that have a ton of content and have built a huge authority within your niche.

Brian Dean of Backlinko coined this The Skyscraper Technique.

Who better than himself to talk about this technique so check out his video:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=pqe7U4YOGOA%3Frel%3D0%26modestbranding%3D0%26controls%3D1%26showinfo%3D1%26fs%3D1%26wmode%3Dtransparent

Reason #15: You’re not updating your older articles

Once published, your article is not set in stone.

Search engine crawlers will constantly keep going through it and indexing changes if and when they happen.

Updating older posts can be a very potent part of your content strategy.

For example, going back to an article like “Top places to see in New York” that was published in 2016 and updating it with the places that recently popped would be a great idea.

You wouldn’t have to write an article from scratch and you’d be able to append something like “Updated for 2020” to the title of the article.

And people love seeing updated articles in the SERPs.

Let’s say the first article ranked on the second page of Google.

Because of the added comprehensiveness, freshness, and better click-through rates thanks to the “Updated for 2020” bit in the title, the article stands a real chance of ranking on the first page.

All of a sudden, instead of an article that was bringing in hardly any traffic, you get a new breadwinner in your arsenal.

Solution:

As you continue to improve and grow your expertise within your niche, it’s only natural that after a year or two, you’re able to cover topics more comprehensively.

Strategically updating older content can propel it in the SERPs.

Just make sure the updates are substantial, especially if you’re proclaiming the updates in the title.

Warning: when updating your older content, do not change the URLs.

That can cause issues and even make the search engines think this is a brand new article.

In which case it could lose any rankings it had before and have to go through the entire ranking process from the scratch.

Reason #16: You’re not consistently publishing high-quality content

If this article is to be trusted, consistently publishing high-quality content is the #1 Google ranking factor.

At the very least, it’s one of the most important factors.

The emphasis on “high-quality” is there for a reason.

There are 4.4 million articles published daily on the Internet.

The information has become a commodity.

Publishing high-quality content consistently is one of the differentiators, however.

For new websites, it’s often recommended to publish 30-50 articles in the first 2-3 months for the search engines to start taking the website seriously.

Later on, when you start building an audience, it’s even more important to stay consistent.

Think of it this way, would you stick with a show if it released an episode every 17 days?

How about whenever it darn pleases?

You wouldn’t.

Solution:

What is high-quality content and how consistent you have to be exactly at publishing it?

I’d say that high-quality content is blindly consumer-centric and useful to the consumer.

Furthermore, I’d say that for a single-creator blog, posting 2-3 times a week would be considered consistent.

This number heavily depends on your niche and competition too, though.

You couldn’t run a news website publishing only three articles a week, could you?

So, it’s all relative.

Creating a content calendar and having a few articles written in advance goes a long way when it comes to being prepared for unexpected situations that’ll stop you from writing.

And you can always count on those to happen.

Reason #17: You’re not interlinking your content as well as you could

Interlinking means linking between two pages within your own domain.

Many content creators often neglect to interlink their content but obsess over backlinks.

This is a missed opportunity since two interlinks roughly carry the same weight as one backlink.

And the beautiful thing is, you’re 100% in control of interlinking your content.

Another added benefit of interlinking is that you could be strategically sending traffic to your newer articles which would help them in the rankings.

Warning: only interlink your content when it makes sense to do so.

Going overboard with this would be considered abusing it in the eyes of Google’s algorithm.

As you can probably guess, the algorithm doesn’t like it when ranking factors are getting abused.

Solution:

Work on slowly creating what’s called “content silos.”

A content silo is a series of articles on a similar topic where one article is the all-encompassing piece and the smaller articles are supporting it and going more in-depth into specific sub-topics.

For example, writing a big article on Affiliate Marketing and then writing a series of articles further exploring various sub-topics would be considered a content silo.

Interlinking such content in a logical way would tell Google that you’ve written extensively on the topic of Affiliate Marketing and that would make you somewhat of an expert.

Of course, many people have created content silos on the topic of Affiliate Marketing so you would have to go above and beyond if you wanted to stand a chance of ranking above them.

Content silos are more of a “year-two” content strategy, though.

In the beginning, get some smaller wins under your belt first and target long-tail keyword opportunities.

Build some authority before going after the big boys in your industry.

Reason #18: Your backlink profile is weak or non-existent

Although backlinks lost some of their potency as ranking factors, they’re still one of the major ones.

Google still likes to see your peers linking back to your content.

Backlinks tell Google that your content is held in high regard and that it probably deserves to be ranked up.

More backlinks to a single article will significantly boost it in the SERPs.

Lack of backlinks doesn’t necessarily mean your article will go nowhere, but in a more competitive setting, it certainly becomes an uphill battle.

Solution:

How do you earn backlinks in a legit way that doesn’t carry a risk of backfiring?

Guest posts are always a popular way to earn backlinks.

Guest posting is a concept of writing an article on someone else’s website in return for being featured on said website.

Podcasting is another phenomenal way of getting backlinks.

If you’ve built something of authority within your niche, maybe it’s time to start looking for podcasting opportunities.

Another idea is researching what kind of content in your niche gets a lot of backlinks and coming up with better versions of such content.

For example, in many industries, people like to link to statistics.

Last but not least, if you’re using the Skyscraper Technique and you’re pulling it off, odds are your articles will stand out and people will link to them organically.

That’s always the best was of getting backlinks.

Reason #19: You’re not E-A-T-ing the right way

In August of 2018 Google released its E-A-T algorithm update aka The Medic update.

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.

Now, that’s a mouthful.

In this update, Google basically tightened up the rules on what sites the algorithm would recommend when it comes to medical advice.

Aside from the medical updates, this algorithm update also hit the niches under the YMYL umbrella.

YMYL stands for Your Money Your Life.

Meaning, the algorithm, from that point on, scrutinizes sites offering health and financial advice a lot more.

Needless to say, many content creators in those niches lost a lot of traffic overnight.

Is it possible for someone who isn’t a doctor to be successful in the medical niche these days?

The answer is yes, but it’s a lot harder.

Solution:

If you’re in one of the niches that were hit by the E-A-T update and don’t have the necessary formal education that would provide you with expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, you have to “borrow” those things from the people that do.

How?

By interviewing them, getting them to verify the accuracy of your content, etc.

For example, a good idea would be to reach out to a lot of doctors and get them to give their opinions and advice on a certain topic.

Then you round up all the answers and publish it, giving them credit, of course.

Connecting with authoritative experts within your niche and featuring them in your content would go a long way in building authority for your website in the eyes of the search engines.

Another evergreen idea, if you’re knowledgeable enough, would be to publish a book.

Book authors get a lot of “authority points” from search engines.

Not to mention that publishing a quality book opens you up for speaking engagements, podcasts, and raises your profile within your niche in general.

This would certainly result in your content shooting up in the SERPs.

Reason #20: You neglected your website

Google doesn’t like to send traffic to neglected websites if it has other choices.

That doesn’t look good for anyone.

What does ‘neglected’ mean in the eyes of the search engines?

Here are a few telltale signs to Google that you’ve neglected your website:

  • Broken links
  • Unmoderated comments section
  • Spammy content
  • Posting infrequently or even no new content at all
  • Broken images, etc.

All this tells Google that your content is most likely neglected too, or even that your website could be compromised and is now an unsafe environment.

The latter really is a valid concern since unauthorized breaches usually happen when website owners neglect their websites and don’t update the software they run on for an extended period.

Solution:

Don’t neglect your website, duh!

Kidding aside, if for some reason you do end up neglecting your website, you can reverse the damage.

Fix the links and images, moderate your comments, delete spam, etc.

You will then need to force Google to reconsider your website once more by publishing high-quality content consistently and addressing manual penalties if any were issued.

Reason #21: Google has issued a manual penalty for your website

To find out if your website has any manual penalties issued against it, log in to your Google Search Console.

Click on “Security & Manual Actions” and then click on “Manual Actions.”

If there are no issues, you will get a green checkmark saying everything’s alright.

In the instance that there indeed has been a manual penalty issued against your website, Google will provide you with a reason.

Solution:

In most cases, you will be able to appeal the decision, but only after you’ve rectified the problem that caused the penalty in the first place.

Check out this in-depth article on Google Penalties by Ahrefs for more information.

Reason #22: You didn’t claim your local business listings like Google My Business

Important: Skip this part if your business is online-only.

Google My Business is a business listing for businesses with physical locations.

Not only is claiming your listings in various business directories and social media platforms important for your local business, but it’s very useful for the online side of your business too.

Especially if you’re creating content with the local intent in mind.

Search engines have become sophisticated enough to decipher the intent behind search queries and provide searchers seeking out location-based information with location-based results.

For example, let’s say you own a local store in Hot Springs, NC, that sells hiking gear and you published a blog article on the topic of Best Trail Hiking Shoes for Women in Hot Springs.

If someone physically located in Hot Springs searches for the keyword “best trail hiking shoes for women,” Google would likely point them to your article.

Because Google will recognize that the searcher is likely wanting to buy the “best trail hiking shoes for women.”

And what would provide more value to this searcher than to point them in the direction of their local hiking gear shop that published an article on this very topic?

This is how properly taking care of local SEO for your business can help your articles to rank higher and send potential customers your way.

Solution:

Claim the listings for your business in all the relevant local business directories on the Internet, especially Google My Business.

Make sure to enter all the data points that you can because the completion rate of your listing profile matters.

Also, your NAP’s (Name, Address, and Phone number) must be identical everywhere on the Internet, including your website.

If your business has been through changes that might cause your NAP’s to not be identical everywhere, consider hiring an audit service that deals with this issue.

Conclusion

There can be many reasons why your content isn’t ranking on Google.

To make the matters worse, it’s usually the combination of many reasons that are slowly but surely dragging your content down in the SERPs.

The important thing to remember is that the damage is almost always reversible if you can pinpoint where you’re making mistakes.

It’s never too late to make changes and see your traffic rise slowly but surely.

I hope you found value in this article and feel free to hit me up with any questions you might have.

Cheers!

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