When you run a business online, you might find yourself reaching out for that sometimes elusive position one ranking.
Other times, you may feel like you are publishing pages into the void, seeing little return on the investment you’ve put into them. Maybe you once were champion of your keyword, but now have found yourself slipping back behind your competitors.
A lot goes into making a website or page rank well in Google. What’s more, while one day you may feel you have mastered it, the next day the goal posts have been moved. Indeed, the world of SEO is an ever evolving creature that you have to constantly be tracking to learn its latest tricks.
There a million reasons why your website may not be ranking, and it would take forever to go through every little detail. However, in this article, we’re going to discuss three key reasons why your website might not be ranking in 2019:
- Your site speed is suffering
- The effects of artificial intelligence in searches
- What mobile first means
Read on to find out more…
1. You’re Not Up To Speed
Site speed is important to any website. Your potential customers aren’t going to wait around for a page to load when there are plenty more available. It can be frustrating and turn people off for a long while. One study even revealed that loading time would affect almost 70% of consumers’ decisions to buy.
There’s also another very important reason to ensure your site speed can keep up with the rest: it affects your search engine ranking.
Google recently gave official word on site speed as a ranking factor for mobile devices. Speed has also been part of Google’s ranking algorithm for desktops since 2010. Nevertheless, it was announced last year that mobile pages are taking an average of 15 seconds to load – which is quite a stretch from the 3 seconds over half of people are prepared to wait.
This means a slow site can also often lead to a high bounce rate – something which can also contribute towards a lower ranking.
It’s also important to note that faster sites are easier to crawl. If your site speed is too slow, this could potentially translate as fewer of your pages being crawled. Overall, a fast site is easier for your audience to find, use and purchase from.
What causes a slow website?
There are a number of reasons why your website speed may be slow. Here are just a few:
- Images are too large. They need to be compressed and optimised to load as fast as possible.
- Your server isn’t good enough or can’t handle the amount of traffic.
- You’re running too many plug-ins.
- Your website’s code is too dense.
What Does it Mean?
There are many more reasons why your site speed may be suffering. While it is important, if your site is performing exceptionally well in other areas, it may not be a huge factor, unless it is seriously slow. However, if your site has a few issues, speed should be one of your main priorities to address.
2. You’re Not Preparing for the Future
We’ve just spoken about how you need to keep your website’s loading time up to speed. However, you also need to make sure you are keeping up to speed with latest developments to prepare for the future. If you don’t, you might find your once winning ranking strategy beginning to slip.
Google’s algorithm for ranking pages is constantly changing and adapting. Whether it’s down to new technology or a shift in the way we use the internet, search engines are always looking for ways to evolve and meet users’ needs.
One of the latest and biggest game changers is the advent of AI in the world of searches. AI, or ‘artificial intelligence’, may sound like something from a science fiction film. However, Google has been using it to help rank content for longer than you might think – and there is plenty more of it to come.
What is AI?
Search engines used to operate largely off matching up keyword phrases. Today, AI is used to analyse the intent behind the search query, and match it as helpfully as possible. With the assistance of machine learning, this means that content that best provides answers to questions and problems will start to rank higher.
What Does it Mean?
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can throw your technical SEO and keyword research out the window. But you do need to think about how the way people search is changing, and how to keep up with that.
Voice search, for example, is on the rise. It has been reported that 100 million Alexa devices have already been sold by Amazon. ‘Alexa’ was also the 26th most searched for term on Amazon in 2018. Voice search has come a long way since Siri first appeared on iPhones, too. In fact, it is claimed to be 95% accurate in understanding the English language.
How does this affect your search ranking? It means that long tail search phrases are on the rise. A sentence that is too long for you to take the time to type suddenly becomes easy to search for with voice assistant. If your content addresses as many questions around your keyword or search term as possible, you stand the best chance of finding yourself ranking.
If you find yourself answering well enough to find your way into Google’s featured snippet, you’ve hit the jackpot – this is where many voice assistants find their answers!
3. You Haven’t Considered Mobile
It won’t come as a surprise to anyone with a smartphone that most Google searches now come from mobile devices.
In 2016, Google announced it was beginning to roll out Mobile First Indexing. This means that it will primarily use the mobile version of a site when it comes to ranking. While this may not affect your website yet, it probably will become a factor for your rankings in the future.
What Does it Mean?
You could say that mobile indexing brings together the other two points in this list in the following ways:
- Site Speed – When your site is indexed mobile first, you need to make sure your mobile site is optimised as well as your desktop version. It won’t matter how well your desktop site is running – if your mobile version is lagging behind, it will still be what Google bases its rankings on
- AI and Voice search – Smartphones were the first devices to bring voice search into everyday life, and they still do. As mobile becomes more important in the technical ranking of your site, it’s good to think about how people use their phones, too.
If your mobile and desktop sites are exactly the same, then you won’t need to do anything different. If your site is responsive, runs just as smoothly on a phone as it does a computer and contains all the same information, you are good to go!
However, it may be that you have a separate mobile and desktop site. It might even contain information on your desktop version that isn’t featured on your mobile site. If this is the case for you, you’ll need to give your mobile site some love to ensure you continue improving your rankings in 2019.
Again, there’s a lot more to consider than these three areas in order to get your website ranking better, but these are a good place to start.