17 reasons why your blog post is not ranking on Google (And how to fix them!)
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Are you wondering why your blog post is not ranking on Google? It’s so frustrating… You’ve written a brilliant post, you thought you’d done everything right, but it’s STILL not ranking! Here are 17 reasons why your blog post is not ranking on Google (And how to fix them!)
You worked hard on your post, you thought you’d done everything right… and then you go to check it out on Google… You type in your target keyword… and it’s not there! Why is it not ranking?
It’s easy to get frustrated and blame Google for ‘hating’ your website… Or to feel like the whole endeavour is pointless and you might as well just give up!
In reality, there are many reasons why your blog post might not be ranking for your target keyword. And thankfully there are also plenty of practical things you can do to improve your rankings and get more Google traffic!
In this article we’ll look at 17 common reasons why your blog post might not be ranking, and exactly what to do about each one…
1. You accidentally no-indexed your blog post
There are lots of reasons why a blog post might not be ranking in Google… and one of them is that you (probably accidentally) told Google NOT to index your blog post!
This happens when you ‘no-index’ a blog post.
An easy way to check if your blog post has been indexed is by typing into Google
If your blog post has been indexed, it will show your blog post as the only result.
Here’s an example from my website:
How to fix it
Scroll down to the bottom of your post in the editing screen and you should see the Yoast metabox. Go to ‘Advanced’ >> ‘Allow search engines to show this Post in search results?’ And make sure it’s set to ‘YES’.
(NOTE: There are plenty of other reasons why your post might not be showing up. So, if your post is not showing up in Google, but you HAVEN’T accidentally no-indexed it, keep reading!)
2. You accidentally no-indexed all your blog posts
There’s another possibility here and that is you might have accidentally no-indexed ALL your blog posts. This can happen when the Yoast SEO Plugin has not been set up properly.
When you look at ‘Advanced’ >>> ‘Allow search engines to show this Post in search results?’ in the Yoast metabox it should say ‘Yes (current default for Posts)’
If it says ‘No (current default for Posts)’, then you have accidentally no-indexed ALL of your blog posts!
How to fix it
Go to the Yoast SEO plugin >> ‘Search Appearance’ >> ‘Content Types’ >> ‘Single Post Settings’ >> ‘Show Posts in search results?’ and ensure this is set to ON.
While you are there, you might also like to double check that you have not accidentally no-indexed pages! Stay on the ‘Content Types tab’ and go to ‘Pages’ >> ‘Single Page Settings’ >> ‘Show Pages in search results?’ and ensure this is set to ON.
3. You accidentally no-indexed your whole website
And of course, it is entirely possible that you might have accidentally no indexed your whole website. To check this, type into Google:
Here’s an example from my website:
If there is nothing there when you type your website’s URL in, then it’s possible you have accidentally no-indexed your whole website.
(There are other possibilities, such as a manual action or a very new blog – see below for more on these.)
How to fix it
Go to ‘Settings’ >> ‘Reading’ >> ‘Search Engine Visibility’
You may see that you’ve checked the box ‘Discourage search engines from indexing this site’, if so then that’s the most likely reason that your site is not showing up on Google.
If that’s the case, un-check the box and then hit SAVE CHANGES.
4. Your website is new
Another very common reason why your blog post is not ranking is that your website is still quite new. It takes time for Google to rank new websites – meaning it’s quite common for bloggers not to get much traffic from Google in the early days.
How to fix it
It may be that you just have to wait and be patient! But there are things you can do to speed up the process. For example, you can install the Yoast SEO plugin and make sure you have it set up properly. You can also submit your XML sitemap to Google Search Console. This will also give you access to the URL Inspection Tool which you can use to inspect the status of individual posts.
Another good idea is to try and get some links to your site from other websites, for example by guest posting and/or participating in roundup posts. (Never buy backlinks though!)
5. It’s too soon
If your website is not new, the problem may be that your blog post is too new. Just as it takes time for Google to rank new websites, so it takes time for Google to rank new blog posts.
You can go to Google Search Console and use the URL Inspection Tool to see the status of your blog post. It should say ‘Submitted And Indexed’ Like this:
If your post is new, it might say ‘Crawled —currently not indexed’. This means Google has found your blog post but has not yet been indexed, so it is not ranking yet.
How to fix it
You can hit the ‘REQUEST INDEXING’ link to try and speed up the process of getting your blog post indexed and ranking, but this is not guaranteed.
Otherwise, you might just have to wait and be patient!
However, if your blog post has been crawled and indexed, there may be other reasons why it is not ranking for your target keyword. Read on to find out why…
6. The competition is too fierce
If your blog post has been crawled and indexed, but it’s still not ranking on page 1 for your target keyword, then one of the most likely reasons is because you have targeted a keyword that is too competitive.
For example, let’s say you are a new-ish travel blogger and you wrote a piece called ‘Best things to do in New York’. You would be VERY unlikely to rank for this search term!
If you google ‘Best things to do in New York’, you will see the search results are dominated by high authority sites like Trip Advisor, Lonely Planet, Time Out Magazine and Condé Nast. It is very hard for a small / new blog to compete against such big sites!
How to fix it
The best fix here is to make sure you do proper keyword research and target less competitive keywords… especially when your blog is new/small.
One of my favourite tricks is to install the MozBar and use it to give me a quick understanding of how competitive a keyword is BEFORE I write the blog post. (Since spending time writing a post that I know won’t rank is rarely a good use of my time!)
The MozBar will show you the DA – or Domain Authority – of the websites currently ranking for a keyword. The higher the DA the more authoritative Moz estimates a site to be. While DA is in imperfect measure (DA is not something Google uses but rather Moz’s educated guess about how authoritative Google considers a website to be, based on its backlink profile), it is a good indication.
For example, if your site has a DA of 10 and all the results on page 1 of Google for your target search query are 70+, you can be fairly sure you don’t stand a chance of ranking!
One of the easiest ways to target a less competitive keyword is to add a modifier… so instead of targeting a highly competitive keyword like ‘Best things to do in New York’, try ‘Best FREE things to do in New York’, ‘Best things to do WITH KIDS in New York’ or ‘Best things to do in New York WHEN IT RAINS’.
When I Googled all of these search terms, I found that in every case bloggers with low-ish DAs were ranking on page 1!
See this post for more on analysing the competitiveness of a keyword
7. Your blog post is not relevant
Google’s algorithms are designed to sort through hundreds of billions of webpages to find the most relevant, useful answer to any given search query. And Google is very good at ensuring that the search results are relevant to the search query!
Think about it, if you Googled ‘How to make strawberry jam’, you would expect to see tutorials and recipes for how to make strawberry jam on the first page of Google… You would not want to see tutorials and recipes for how to make raspberry jam. Neither would you want to see instructions for how to fix your car or a list of ways to teach your toddler the alphabet!
You may chuckle, but this is why relevance is such an important ranking factor for Google. If they prioritized anything else, you’d likely get those daft results!
So, one big reason why your blog post is not ranking for your target keyword is because it is not relevant, or in other words, it doesn’t give a good answer to the searcher’s query.
And it’s not just about the relevance of that one blog post to the searcher’s query. It’s also about the relevance of the whole website. For example, if you have a food blog, but you wrote a blog post on ‘how to get your baby to sleep’, you’d be much less likely to rank that if a parenting blog that specialised in newborns wrote that exact same piece – because their whole blog is relevant to that search query!
In fact, when you do that MozBar trick (see above) and find low DA sites ranking well for fairly competitive search terms, you’ll often find at least part of the reason is because their whole website is highly relevant to that search term. This is often known as Topical Authority.
How to fix it
The first takeaway is that, when you write a blog post, it must be relevant to the search term you are targeting. That means answering the search query comprehensively… but also not going off on random tangents!
The second takeaway is to niche down. If you niche down, this will help you rank for keywords in your niche, as Google will see that your website is highly relevant to search queries related to your niche. Or, to put it another way, Google will see that your blog has ‘topical authority’.
The third takeaway is to purposely build topical authority by writing lots of blog posts on topics you want to rank for. Using correct internal linking to create topic clusters will also help build topical authority.
The final takeaway is to stay on topic. If your blog is about gardening, don’t suddenly throw in a blog post about parenting or running!
8. You did not target the right ‘searcher intent’
It may be you *think* your blog post is relevant to the search term you are targeting… but is it? One thing that often catches bloggers out is ‘searcher intent’. In other words, what did the searcher really want to get when they typed in that search term?
Take a search term like ‘best booking apps’. What does the searcher mean when they type ‘best booking apps’ into Google? An app for booking a hotel, perhaps? Or maybe for booking flights? Or could it be apps for booking a table at restaurant?
Well, from all its data Google knows, and it isn’t any of the above. Google knows that when someone types ‘best booking apps’ into Google, they are most likely to want an app to help them manage client bookings.
How do I know? Because that’s what the entire first page of Google’s search results is dominated by – blog posts listing the best appointment scheduling apps!
Additionally, Google knows that when someone types in ‘best booking apps’ they are most likely wanting a list comparing several popular apps (as opposed to a review of a single app, for example).
Google uses data from all the billions of searches it processes every day to understand what searchers REALLY want when they type a certain query into Google. If your blog post doesn’t match that ‘searcher intent’ then it likely won’t rank for that search term.
How to fix it
There is a fairly easy fix for this. Once you have chosen your focus keyword, and before you start writing your blog post, first check to see what is already ranking for that keyword. Type the keyword into Google and see what comes up. Google is literally telling you what people want when they type that search term!
It may be exactly what you expected to see… but it might not be. By checking first before you write, you are ensuring you don’t waste your time writing a post that won’t rank.
9. Your blog post isn’t any better than what was already ranking
Want to know the best way to rank #1 in Google? Be the best result! Because for each and every search term, that’s what Google wants to show at the top of its search results. Google is so popular precisely because it is so good at ensuring the best content rises to the top.
But that means the opposite is also true – unless your new blog post is BETTER than what is already ranking for that search term, it won’t rank.
If your blog post isn’t ranking on page 1 for the search term you targeted, take a long hard look at what IS already ranking on page 1. It may well be that your blog post is not ranking on page 1 because it’s no better than the posts that were already ranking.
How to fix it
To fix an existing post, take a long hard look at it compared to what is already ranking and try to figure out how you can make you blog post BETTER than what is already ranking in positions 1-3 for that search term. Then work hard to improve your post and give it a better chance of ranking.
Of course, better still would be to take a look at your competition BEFORE you start to write your blog post. Going forward, make it a habit to look at what is currently ranking for your chosen keyword BEFORE you start to write your post, then make your blog post BETTER: more complete, more comprehensive, more helpful etc.
10. Your blog post was not high-quality content
One big reason why blog posts don’t rank is because they are not what Google considers ‘high-quality content’. Google has repeatedly said that the best way to improve your rankings is to create consistently high-quality content because that’s what their algorithms reward.
But what does ‘high-quality content’ mean? Fortunately, Google tells us exactly what they mean by high-quality! It’s things like:
- Free from errors
- Mobile friendly
How to fix it
The fix here is relatively straightforward. Read this article about what Google considers to be high quality content and ensure every blog post you write meets the criteria.
11. You have lots of low-quality content on your website
It’s not just the quality of the blog post that you want to rank that you need to worry about. The quality of ALL your blog posts matters.
‘Low-quality content on some parts of a website can impact the whole site’s ranking.’
If your latest blog post is not ranking, it may not be a quality issue with that particular blog post, but rather an issue with the quality of all your other blog posts. For example, you may have old, out of date, off topic or unhelpful blog posts on your site that are harming the ranking potential of the new posts you are creating.
How to fix it
First, you need to conduct a thorough content audit: going back through your posts and identifying poor quality content.
Then, you need to decide what to do with each of those poor-quality blog posts. You either need to update and improve the content OR you need to delete that content.
These posts will help you decide what to do:
12. You didn’t optimize your blog post
You may have written a great blog post – one that is high quality, answers the searcher intent and is better than the competition… but unless you make that clear to Google, your post still won’t rank.
‘Making it clear to Google’ is what is known as ‘blog post optimization’ and it includes things like:
- Ensuring your focus keyphrase is used in appropriate places
- Ensuring you have used secondary keywords appropriately
- Ensuring you’ve specified a meta description
- Ensuring you have written alt descriptions for all your images
- Ensuring you have included internal links to and from your new post
How to fix it
The fix here is also fairly straightforward. Simply work through this tutorial on how to optimize a blog post and ensure you have done everything properly.
Going forward you should ensure all of your blog posts are optimized.
13. Your blog post does not give a good user experience
Another big reason why your blog post might not be ranking it because it does not deliver a good user experience, or ‘UX’.
UX is all about how easy and enjoyable it is to read your blog post and interact with your website. It includes many factors, for example:
- Using subheadings, bullets, images and quotes to break up the text
- Using short sentences and paragraphs
- Using an easy-to-read font
- Not having annoying popups
- Not having too many ads
- Not having really annoying ads
- Having a reasonably fast site
How to fix it
Work through this tutorial on how to improve your UX and ensure you have done everything it suggests.
Going forward, you should ensure all of your blog posts deliver a good UX.
14. Your blog post is an orphan
Another possible reason why your blog post is not ranking is because it is an ‘orphan’.
What do I mean?
Orphaned content is content which does not have any internal links pointing to it.
Google considers posts and pages which have lots of links pointing TO them as more important than posts and pages which have fewer links pointing to them.
Conversely, Google sees blog posts which have NO internal links pointing TO them (AKA ‘orphaned posts’) as relatively unimportant.
If your blog post is an orphan, lack of internal links could be at least part of the reason why it’s not ranking.
How to fix it
The fix here is very simple: add some internal links from other blog posts on your site to the post that is not ranking!
For more on orphaned content and how to use internal links strategically, head here >> How to use internal linking to boost your SEO
15. You don’t have many backlinks
Another reason why your blog post is not ranking is because your website does not have many backlinks. Backlinks are links from another websites to your website.
In simple terms, the more backlinks you have and the better quality those backlinks are, the more chance you will have of ranking for any given search term. (Assuming all else is equal!)
This is because backlinks are essentially a ‘vote’ for your website. If Google sees that lots of high authority sites in your niche are linking to you, they will see your site as more authoritative, and this will help your rankings.
If your site does not have many backlinks, or if those backlinks are from low authority websites, you will struggle to rank – especially for the more competitive search terms (see above).
And it’s important to understand that it’s not just about the number of backlinks. It’s also about the quality and relevance of those backlinks. One high quality, relevant backlink is worth many, many low quality and/or irrelevant ones.
But of course, the more high quality / relevant backlinks you can get the better!
How to fix it
This is not something you can fix overnight!
And this is a huge subject. Not something that can be easily summarised in a couple of paragraphs. But good ways to encourage more backlinks include:
- Creating really epic content that people in your niche will naturally want to link to
- Answering journalists’ requests for sources and case studies (for example responding to requests on #journorequest or HARO)
- Participating in roundup posts
- Replying to emails requesting quotes or asking if they can link to you
- Writing guest posts
16. You haven’t worked on your E-A-T
These days, however, it’s not just about backlinks – it’s also about E-A-T, or in other words, your Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.
E-A-T goes beyond backlinks and looks at some of the other indicators that your site is authoritative.
- Is it clear who writes the content on your website?
- Do you link to authoritative sources?
- What does your ‘about’ page say about you?
- Do you have niche-specific credentials, such as qualifications or awards?
- Have you been featured in the press?
If you are struggling to rank, it may be that you need to work on your E-A-T. This is especially true in certain niches, such as health and finance.
How to fix it
As with backlinks, this is not something you can fix overnight, but rather something you should be continually working on. Thankfully there’s lots you can do to boost your blog’s E-A-T. For example:
- Don’t hide your identity
- Improve your ‘about’ page
- Make it clear what your credentials are
- Create an ‘as seen in’ section on your homepage and/or about page
- Write some guest posts
- Get featured in the press
Lots more tips here >>> 15 easy ways to improve your blog’s E-A-T
17. You broke Google’s rules
And finally, your post might not be ranking because you broke Google’s rules and, as a result, received a penalty from Google! This punishment could be a demotion in Google’s search results, or it could mean being removed from Google’s search results altogether if your ‘crime’ was very bad.
Typical reasons why you might receive a penalty from Google include:
- Buying or selling links
- Keyword stuffing
- Showing different content to Google and human readers
- Scraped content
- Spammy / thin content
- Dangerous content
There’s a great list here if you want to learn more >>> The Complete List of Google Penalties and How to Recover
How to fix it
First you need to know if you have received a manual penalty. Fortunately, this is easy to do. Simply go to Google Search Console and navigate to SECURITY AND MANUAL ACTIONS >> MANUAL ACTIONS. Hopefully you should see this message.
However, if you have broken Google’s rules and been issued with a penalty it will be noted here.
The fix will depend on exactly what you have done wrong. But in simple terms, you need to fix what you have done wrong and then tell Google that you’ve fixed it.
If you have received a manual action, I recommend you refer to this article for more specific instructions.
There are many possible reasons why your blog post is not ranking on Google. By working through the 17 reasons above, you should be able to get a much better idea of why your post is not ranking and what to do about it.
However, it’s important to point out that going forward it’s better to refer to these guidelines BEFORE you write more blog posts. In the long run this will save you time (not chasing after impossible keywords for example!), ensure more of your blog posts rank on Google (which should mean you get more traffic) and ultimately make you a more productive blogger!
Over to you
Is there anything I’ve missed? Or perhaps you have a good story about a post that wasn’t ranking and what you did to fix it? Or perhaps you have a question about this topic?
Either way, let me know in the comments below!
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Thank you SO MUCH for putting this blog post together! No kidding, this is as comprehensive as some PAID courses I’ve taken. Wish I had found this sooner. This truly is everything you need to know about ranking.
You are very welcome, Alexa. I am so glad you found this so helpful! Eb 🙂
Thanks a lot for the above tips. Very few of my pages have been ranking and I’ve been wondering why the rest don’t rank. Thanks for the tips as I intend to rectify my errors.
Good to hear you found my post helpful!
Outstanding! really loved your content, but I think I have some kinda complicated issue, so here is the thing, recently I purchased an expired domain, did tons of research and posted really high-quality content, and within 24 hours my first and second posts were ranking in top 10, but after 3 days it totally vanished from result page for that keyword, no matter if I check it putting “allintitle:posttitle”, it doesn’t show up, instead, now homepage ranks for it, and I have checked everything, my domain has no issue no penalty from google or anything like that, and now none of my post out of 20 ranks for there targeted keyword, although I have SEO score of 90 for all of them in rankmath plugin, so now I don’t know what to do, looking forward for your response, thanks.
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I would not expect a new website to be ranking well on Google. Although you purchased an expired domain, Google will very much see your website as brand new and treat it accordingly. The fact that you ranked top 10 in the first 24 hours was probably Google doing some kind of testing – that’s certainly not normal on a brand new website. As I mention in point 4 above, I’m afraid the remedy is to be patient… you may have to wait 3-6 months before you start ranking on Google. I recommend you read everything you can about SEO and publish as much high quality content as you can. Producing lots of high quality content, focusing on building topical authority and ensuring your whole website is optimized for SEO are the best ways to speed up the process. Eb 🙂
Thanks so much. I’m also facing this issues, i hope my website starts ranking soon.
You’re welcome! Hope it helped you diagnose the problem and you start ranking soon 😀