Search Engine Optimization: 10 Search Engine Ranking Problems

I often talk to people who claim that they are suffering from poor search engine rankings. No matter what you do, you just cannot find your web site in Google–and sometimes it’s not just the keywords the sites is targeting, the site cannot be found for the company’s name. In any case, the web site is definitely suffering from search engine ranking problems if you do not have enough traffic on your web site or you perform a site:domain.com search at Google like I did below:

In the video below, I show a few common ways of identifying whether your website is suffering from search engine ranking problems or not. One way is to use the site:domain.com search operator at Google to see if your website is being indexed. Watch the video below to see the other way of identifying if your website is suffering from search engine ranking problems:

I have been keeping a list of the most common search engine ranking problems, and have come up with a list of what I would say are the “most common” search engine ranking problems. Many of these issues can easily be fixed, of course it will take time or money (or both).

1. Lack of links
Easily, the number 1 issue I see in client websites preventing higher search engine rankings is lack of links. This is likely obvious to most of you, but we still need to include it. Many people out there still don’t understand the importance of continual link building. With enough link building, Google will overlook many other issues.

2. Repetitive Title Tags
The other most common issue is the number of repetitive title tags used. This is something Google heavily penalizes for and something that is easily fixed. Make sure every page on your site has a unique title tag.

3. Too many 404 errors
You can spider your site or check to see if you have error pages in the Google search results. A shortcut is to perform a search on google for site:website.com, and it will list all your pages, which you can then go through and check for errors.

4. Too many 301s
301 redirects do not pass through credit like they once did. Newer websites need to be careful not to have too many 301′s, because this can cause the site to get ‘sandboxed’. This is especially common when performing site re-designs and initial SEO audits, making it increasingly important to make sure and do the proper SEO and keyword research initially, to avoid having to redo this later.

5. Purchased links
If you saw your rankings go down overnight, then chances are you paid for a link that google frowns upon. We all know that google frowns upon and technique that attempts to artificially increase rankings, so here it is vitally important when engaging in link building that you continually check analytics to notice traffic declines.

6. Unclean URLs
Search engine spiders have to be very efficient, so, they are leery of anything that seems like a risk to them, even though it may not be. Dynamically generated pages present a risk to them because the spiders could get caught up in an infinite loop within the site. So, make sure to clean your url of special characters such as question marks, equal signs, ampersands, etc. URLs having long, complex query strings will have a harder time getting indexed with everything else being equal, than a shorter url with no special characters.

7. Bad Links to your Home Page
All web sites have a home page, www.domain.com and a www.domain.com/index.html. This is diluting the effectiveness of all your seo efforts. Make sure and modify all internal links to go to / instead of going to /index.html. Then make sure you redirect the index.html page to /. It is important that you do both, because merely redirecting all /index.html pages to / will not be as effective.

8. Unnecessary Text in Title Tags and Link Text
Are you using phrases such as “click here” in anchor text or phrases such as “We sell” or “Come visit us for” in your title tags. If you do, stop it. Use only the keyword phrases you are targeting. You are diluting their value when using unnecessary text.

9. Slow web page load time
If you noticed a rankings decrease in April of 2010, it could have been due to a slow web page load time. Google is now including site speed in their algorithm.

10. Not Enough Patience
Perhaps the biggest mental shift needing to take place in clients minds is being patient. Effective SEO takes time to implement. There are techniques that can be used to increase rankings much quicker, the same way crash diets can work for the short term, but in the long term, they can hurt you. You want to make sure you do ample work up front, which unfortunately means spending more time and resources which are usually scarce, but with the proper plan, you can be well on your way to utilizing perhaps the most cost efficient form of marketing that exists.

Whether it a lack of links to your website or another internal issue with your website, you can certainly take steps to correct your search engine ranking problems.