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Website cannot be found on search engines

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭



I am helping a friend out by building their website. It has been built and for some reason, using related search terms, I cannot find it anywhere on Google Search Engine. We have optimized the site with content, meta titles/descriptions and nowhere does it show up in Google unless I search exactly for it. 


I know SEO is a beast but I'm just trying to figure out if the domain has something wrong with it. I've submitted the sitemap, corrected any errors that have shown up yet I still cannot find the site anywhere on the web.



Re: Website cannot be found on search engines

[ Edited ]
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 2
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆



There are so many reasons why the website may not be showing organically for the terms you are searching for.


As well as content, there are potentially over 200 ranking factors at play here that form Google's algorithm and determine which sites to display.


As a rough start:


  • Have you added and checked the site in Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools)?
  • Are you sure that it's being indexed correctly and that there are no other critical issues with the site?
  • Are there an abnormal amount of websites linking to the domain and do these look questionable/dodgy?



  • What keywords are you actually searching for - how specific/general are they?


You are correct in saying that 'SEO is a beast'. Far too much to explain in one forum post Smiley Happy

Depending on how general the keywords are that you're aiming for, your goals may not even be realistic for your business/budget.

Remember, there are a lot of people climbing to the top of that 'SEO pile' for any given search term.


If you still suspect that your domain has been penalized - 


Here's a video from Google's Matt Cutts which explains how to research a domain name which you suspect may have been penalised.


How can we check to see if a domain (bought from a registrar) was previously in trouble with Google?


I hope this provides some tips and guidance

Website cannot be found on search engines

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 3
Follower ✭ ☆ ☆



Following on from @Mark W great comments and advice it's also important to note that having an SEO technically sound website is important for ranking but not on it's own. Google looks for signals outside of search such as paid marketing, social interaction, PR, people discussing your site on the web etc etc. These signals tell search engines how popular your site is outside of search and will use this as part of their ranking algorithm.


You also need to setup Google analytics so you can monitor where people are clicking back to the search result pages (bounce rate) in a short period of time. If the numbers are high then that may be telling you that the content or user experience needs work.

Use analytics to see how people are interacting with the site and how you can better their experience. The more you work on this the more you'll see improved conversions, happier customers, and those customers will share and talk about your site online, and hopefully improve your rankings.


But in short if you're site is SEO technically sound then concentrate on marketing to drive quality traffic, and work on the UX (user experience) to improve their experience when on your site.


All the best


Website cannot be found on search engines

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Mark,


Thank you for taking the time to reply. I'm not trying to be rude here but I realize there are many factors in ranking. My question here is really about a potential penalty by Google that Im not seeing. When I search for any keyword that my site has been optimized for and Im not in the first 20 pages, there has to be something wrong. This isn't the first site that I've built and I cannot figure out why it isn't being ranked for any search terms.

Website cannot be found on search engines

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi William,


Thank you for taking the time to reply, again like I said to Mark, this isn't the first site that I've built. I have some years behind me for internet marketing, seo and more. My concern here is some sort of penalty that I'm not seeing. I honestly have no idea why when I search for relevant search terms that my site is optimized for, the site doesn't show up in the first 20 pages on Google. There is something wrong here...

Website cannot be found on search engines

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 6
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆



If you read through my entire post, there are tips in there about checking for a domain penalty and other issues that may be affecting the appearance of the site in Google's index.


An important part of any troubleshooting is not to make assumptions or skip over the basics, which is why I'd recommend checking all of those steps too before coming to any conclusions.


In addition to my original post and checking those points in Google Search Console, there are some other advanced tools you can use to check for potentially bad back links (such as Majestic and Ahrefs) and Barracuda's Panguin tool which gives an overlay of Google's algorithm updates over your website traffic and may assist you in tracking down a potential 'penalty' if there is one.


Beyond this, it's difficult to give more advice with the small amount of information you've provided.


Best of luck.