It’s frustrating when you can’t find your WordPress website on Google. Especially when you’ve put countless hours into designing a website with the aim of generating new business.
Quite often there’s a straightforward reason and solution, but there’s also a number of things to remember when putting a website together that may have an impact on whether Google will index your website in the organic search results.
Common Reasons Why your website can’t be found
There are numerous possible reasons why website owners can’t find their WordPress website on Google. We’ve compiled a list with some of the most common reasons, along with solutions, to help you get your website indexed, and appearing for relevant searches.
It’s a New Website
If your website has just been launched, the chances are that Google may not know about it yet. It can vary quite dramatically between sites how long it takes for Google to find and index your website pages. To index your website, Google first needs to know it exists. The search engine can find your website via a sitemap, or via a link to your website from another website, also known as a backlink.
The chances are that if the website is new, you’ll have few or no backlinks linking to your website pages. These will undoubtedly increase in time, especially if you have an off-page SEO strategy in place.
In the meantime, it’s always worth submitting a sitemap to Google. This can be done via Google Search Console and provides Google with a list of your website pages and posts. Google will then read your sitemap and crawl the site URLs within.
WordPress website themes won’t usually generate a sitemap by default, so the best way to do this quickly and easily is with the use of an SEO plugin. Plugins including RankMath and Yoast will automatically generate a sitemap one activated. You can confirm your website has a sitemap in place by visiting the URL subfolder /sitemap.xml
For example: yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml
Once you have a sitemap in place, head to Google Search Console and click the ‘sitemap’ tab to the left. Here you can add your sitemap URL, allowing Google to crawl your website pages.
Your Website is Blocking Search Engines
This is a very common mistake made by WordPress website owners. Often, while sites are being developed, either owners or web design agencies will block search engines from visiting your website. This is a feature within WordPress under the settings>reading page in the dashboard, and amends the robots.txt file to discourage Google’s crawlers from reading your web pages and indexing the content.
Your Website Lacks Content
Today, Google will refrain from indexing a site with thin content, content that is poorly written, plagiarised content or content with no clear topic. Websites should contain written content that is useful and informative, helping the user to find the answer to the query they have searched for.
Develop your content to be useful, informative and relevant to your business or website topic. Remember as a priority to write content for users rather than for search engines. It’s a good idea to put yourself in the position of a user, providing all the information they may need, set out in a way that is easy to understand, with a website design that is easy to use and navigate.
While longer form content does tend to perform better when ranking in organic search, it should be high quality content, without writing to a specific word count, or repeating areas of content.
No Keyword SEO
While quality content, written for users as a priority is essential, it’s important to remember that search engines must also be able to establish a topic and relevance to the search term you wish to be found for.
Therefore, optimising your written content with on-page SEO is necessary. Keywords or search terms are a key consideration in written text, and should be researched thoroughly before beginning to develop a piece of content for your website.
Using a free tool such as Google Keyword Planner will help you to find keywords that users search for on a regular basis. Once a relevant and frequently searched term is found, this must be present in your content for Google to determine relevance.
While it’s important for your keywords to appear in the content, whether as an exact match or as similar terms, they should be used naturally in the text. Twenty years ago, it was common practice to stuff as many keywords within a piece of written content to ‘trick’ search engines into thinking the content was highly relevant. This however is not the case today. Misuse or overuse of keywords will result in a negative effect on organic search rankings, or quite possibly a Google Penalty.
No or Poor Quality Backlinks
Backlinks are links from other websites to your website. They act as a kind of vote or referral, and demonstrate to Google and other search engines that a page or piece of content is worth linking to as a reference. Google uses these backlinks as a ranking factor, and while they don’t carry the same weight or importance in ranking as they used to, backlinks are still important and necessary to rank well in organic search.
It’s by no means essential to have backlinks for Google to index your site to be shown in search results. However, high quality links may help site pages get found more quickly in the beginning, as Google follows these from the referring site to yours.
On the other end of the scale, hundreds or poor quality links may have an adverse effect on whether your website is shown in search results. Spammy links from PBNs (personal blog networks) or any other paid link scheme will be ignored by Google, or in extreme circumstances will get you a Google Penalty in the form of a Manual Action.
As we have mentioned above, spammy links will have a negative effect on whether your website displays in organic search results. But there are also various other SEO practices that will also result in a Google Penalty.
Generally, it takes a considerable breach of Google’s guidelines to gain a penalty. It is however worth familiarising yourself with Google’s Search Essentials, formally Google Webmaster Guidelines. These guidelines help to show what Google looks for in a website, and how to go about developing and optimising your website for search engines with the correct practices.
To check whether your website has been penalised by a manual action, head to Google Search Console and click the ‘security & manual actions’ tab. You’ll see details here of why your site has been penalised and can use the information to rectify any issues before submitting your website for review.
Conclusion – Can’t Find your WordPress Website on Google
While it’s common for websites not to appear in organic search results right away, it becomes frustrating when days or weeks have passed, with no sign of your website.
The reasons above cover the most common reasons why you Can’t Find your WordPress Website on Google. More often that not, there’s a straightforward solution, which can be resolved with some investigative work and attention to website quality.
We can help
Struggling with getting your website found on Google? Sometimes a professional SEO strategy is needed, not only to ensure your website is visible in search results, but to consistently improve your website SEO with the aim of ranking on Google page one for your products or services.