So, you set up a new website for your business — but it’s nowhere to be found on Google. When you type in your brand name, your website doesn’t even show up!
That can be extremely frustrating, especially if you set up a website so that local customers can always find up-to-date information about your business.
There may be a number of reasons why you are not ranking for your business name on Google, or why it shows up on the second or third page. Fortunately, there is usually a way to fix it — sometimes, the solution is really simple. Let’s go over the top 8 reasons why businesses don’t rank for their business names on Google.
1. Google didn’t index your site
If your site is new, Google might not have crawled it yet. If it’s not indexed, it won’t show up anywhere on Google. Fortunately, you can manually submit a URL to Google for indexing.
Using Google’s URL inspection tool, you can check if a URL has been indexed. Enter your homepage URL in the Domain Search field. If your homepage has not been indexed, use the same tool to request that Google index it.
You should also create a sitemap and submit it to Google. A sitemap contains all of your site’s pages and updates automatically when you add a new page. If you are using WordPress, you can use a plugin like Yoast to generate a sitemap.
2. There is a simple technical or coding issue
Sometimes, a simple technical issue might be preventing Google from indexing your site. For example, you might have accidentally blocked your homepage in your robots.txt file or added a noindex tag to the homepage. Both of those things tell Google not to crawl or index your site.
There are other technical coding errors that may cause Google to overlook your site. An SEO audit can help you figure out what’s going on.
3. Google has penalized your site
A possible reason why your site isn’t showing up anywhere is that Google may have penalized your site. Google penalizes websites when they use black-hat SEO techniques, such as:
- Buying links from link farms
- Using cloaking or doorway pages
- Using any other SEO strategy that violates Google’s guidelines
You may not have even done it yourself. You may have hired an SEO agency that you thought was trustworthy, but which was using black-hat methods.
Alternatively, in the case of black-hat link building, a competitor may have built spammy links pointing to your site in an effort to get Google to think you did it and penalize you.
Fortunately, there are ways to remove a Google penalty, such as by disavowing bad links or fixing your site and submitting a reconsideration request.
4. You chose the wrong brand name
If you choose a business name or domain name that is too competitive or similar to businesses that already exist, it can be harder to rank.
Obviously, if you choose a name like “Amazon,” you won’t rank on the first page. While that’s an extreme example, the principle holds true — if someone else is ranking for a very similar brand name on the first spot of Google, it can be hard to rank at first.
One solution is to simply wait until you’re more popular and build up your site until you start ranking for your unique brand name. It may just be a matter of time; your website might just be too new. Building some citations and filling out your GMB profile can help.
You can also consider choosing a new domain name and/or changing your brand name.
5. You violate Google’s content policies
This isn’t usually the problem, but it can be an issue in a small percentage of cases. Prohibited content is more of a problem in Google Ads and Google Maps/GMB. Nevertheless, Google may also hide some adult content if SafeSearch is enabled or hide your site if you have received a copyright complaint.
6. You don’t have enough content
If your website has very little content, you may get indexed in Google — but you might not appear on the first page. If your site is buried on the third or fourth page, and you want to increase your rankings, continue publishing new pages and blog posts.
7. You don’t have a Google My Business profile
Not having a Google My Business profile might also be holding you back from ranking properly. If you aren’t indexed at all, setting up a GMB profile can help you get indexed quicker. If you are indexed but are not ranking on the first page, a GMB profile can boost your rankings by sending signals to Google.
Make sure to link your GMB profile to your website, and make sure the information on your profile corresponds to that on your website.
In addition to a GMB profile, it would help to get citations in other directories. The more citations you have, the more chances you have at ranking for your brand name. Make sure each citation includes a link to your website.
8. You don’t have enough social signals
Setting up social media profiles and being active on social media can help you rank quicker and better as well. Focus on the big platforms first: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Link to your website from each profile, and follow and engage with others on the platform to start building up your following. Share your blog posts on your profile. You will have more credibility in the algorithm’s eyes if you have established social profiles.
If you don’t yet have a GMB profile or any local citations, that may be why you aren’t ranking for your business name on the first page.
We’ve helped many small businesses get quality citations, build up their Google My Business profiles, create solid social foundations, and distribute press releases. All of those things can help you get noticed by Google, so your website finally starts ranking. Check out our link-building services for more information.