If your website is not showing up on Google there are a variety of factors that could be responsible.
In this post, I will break down the most common reasons your website is not visible on Google and what you can do to fix it.
Is my Website on Google?
Before you can begin assessing any issues with your website, you first need to confirm that it is indeed not on Google.
There are several different ways to check to see if your site is in Google’s index.
First, you can create a Google Search Console account and verify ownership of your website.
You can then go to the “Coverage” section where you will be able to see all the pages that are currently in the index.
You can also use the URL inspection tool to search for a specific page directly.
Another way to tell if your website is in Google is to perform a site search on Google.com. In the search field type in:
site:yoursitename and press enter.
In the results, you will see all the pages from your website that are in Google’s index. If no results appear, then none of your pages are currently on Google.
If this is the case, you’ll want to know why. Let’s get into the reasons your site may not be showing up on Google.
Common reasons a website is not showing up on Google and possible solutions
- Website is Brand New
- Google Crawler is Blocked
- You have the NOINDEX Tag on Your Pages
- Website is Penalized and Taken Out of the Google Index
- Lack of Original Content
- Not Enough Backlinks
- Your Targeting Highly Competitive Keywords
- Your Website Is Too Slow
- Your Website Has Technical Issues
- Your Website is Hacked and Removed from Google
1. Website is Brand New
The first reason that your website may not be appearing in Google is simply that your site is new.
Google only shows sites that are stored in its index. When you first create a website, Google has no way of knowing it exists. It takes time for the search engine to find the sites that it adds to its index but there are steps you can take to speed up the process.
There are a couple of solutions to getting your new website to show up on Google.
First, you could wait for the search engine to find it. Now, this isn’t the best idea because it could take some time for Google to find you. Especially if you do not have any other websites linking to you.
Your other option is to create a sitemap and submit it through Google Search Console. By doing so, you will be telling Google that your site exists and that you want it included in the index.
2. Google Crawler is Blocked
Google finds websites through a process called crawling. In this process, they send robots known as crawlers all across the internet looking for new websites to add to its index.
If you are blocking Google from crawling your website, then their crawlers will skip over your pages and they will not be available to appear on Google.
The most common way Google crawlers are blocked is through the robots.txt file. This file gives Google instructions on how to treat a website. Most websites have one and it is usually stored in the root directory of a site.
You can check to see if your robots.txt file is blocking Google from crawling your site within Google Search Console.
If you have added your sitemap to Search Console, you can go to the Coverage page and search for any errors with crawling your site.
Look for a message that says “Submitted URL blocked by robots.txt”.
You can also check the robots.txt file directly to see if it is blocking crawlers.
For this, you will need to go into the file directory of your hosting platform. The robots.txt file should be located in the root folder.
When you open the file look for the following user agents:
If you find code with “Disallow: /” beneath either of these then you are blocking Google from crawling your site.
To permit Google to crawl your site, simply delete the “Disallow: /” snippet and save the robots.txt file.
The next time Google attempts to crawl your website there should not be any issues.
3. You have the NOINDEX Tag on Your Pages
Letting Google crawl your pages is just part of having your site appear in the search engine. You also need to make sure that you are allowing Google to index your pages.
Now, the process for having your pages indexed is similar to that of crawling. If you specify to Google that you don’t want certain pages included in the index then it won’t include them.
This is typically done by using a “noindex” meta tag. The tag is a small piece of HTML code that is added to a page. It simply tells Google not to include that page in its index.
In most cases, these tags won’t be added to your site unless you do so yourself. However, there are situations when you could unexpectedly apply the “noindex” tag to your pages.
For example, if your site uses WordPress there is a “Search Engine Visibility” setting. If you check the box that says “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” then the “noindex” tag will be added to all your pages.
You can check in Google Search Console to see if any of your pages have the “noindex” tag applied. Go to the Coverage page and look for any errors that say “Submitted URL marked ‘noindex’.
If you find the tag on any unwanted pages there are several ways to get rid of it. You can dive into the HTML code for that particular page and remove it yourself.
Or, you can use software like the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress. This will allow you to specify which pages have the tag and will ensure it isn’t added to pages you don’t want.
Resources to Learn More
4. Website is Penalized and Taken Out of the Google Index
Google has a set of guidelines that website owners must follow for their website to be eligible to rank in search results. If you violate these guidelines (or Google suspects you are) then your site will receive a penalty.
This will either cause your pages to rank lower or to be excluded from the index entirely.
There are two types of penalties you can receive from Google. Algorithmic and manual.
Algorithmic penalties occur when Google’s algorithm deems that there are quality issues with your site and decides to penalize you accordingly.
Manual penalties are when a human reviews your website and determines that your site is not compliant with Google’s webmaster quality guidelines.
Some of the reasons you could receive a manual penalty include:
- User-generated spam
- Structured data problems
- Bad links pointing to your site
- Unnatural links from your site
- Hidden text and keyword stuffing
- Deceptive redirects
The quickest way to tell if your website is penalized by Google is to search within Google Search Console.
Go to the “Security & Manual Actions” section and click on “Manual Actions”.
This will show you if Google has applied any manual penalties to your site.
If you have not penalized you will see a message that says “No issues detected”. If any manual actions have been taken against your site, they will all be listed there on the page.
Google will give you the opportunity to fix the issues and submit a request to have the penalty removed. Once you have addressed the issues select “Request Review” from the manual actions page. Google states that it looks for the following in review requests:
- An explanation of the exact quality issue on your site.
- Description of the steps you’ve taken to fix the issue.
- The outcome of your efforts
Now, algorithmic penalties are harder to track as Google will not notify you if you have received one. If your site is failing to show up in Google at all it is likely not an algorithmic penalty.
However, if your site has previously ranked well and you have experienced a sudden drop in your ranking it may be because of an algorithmic penalty.
The best course you can take is to perform a technical audit. Look for duplicate content issues or serious performance problems.
Resources to Learn More
5. Lack of Original Content
Another possible reason your website is not appearing on Google is a lack of quality, original content on your site.
The goal of Google’s search engine is to provide users the most relevant results to their search queries. To do this, it will rank the content it deems the best at the top of its results.
Google has shown that it values original, in-depth content. If your pages simply reiterate the same ideas found on other websites they are unlikely to rank very high.
Create fresh original evergreen content around your target keywords. Look to approach a topic from a different angle and provide valuable insights that are not present in similar pieces around the web.
6. Not Enough Backlinks
Backlinks are a signal of quality and are one of the most important factors in search engine rankings.
If your website doesn’t have many backlinks it indicates a lack of authority. With a lower page authority and domain authority, it is harder to show up in the results of Google.
Getting high-quality backlinks can take time, especially if your site is new. The first step you should take in earning links is to create high-quality content.
If you don’t have pages worth linking to then earning links will be even more challenging.
Once you have created several high-value pages, reach out to authoritative sites in your industry and ask them to link back to your site.
There are tons of ways to approach this process that are beyond the scope of this post, you can read this post for more details: How to approach link building for SEO.
However you choose to conduct your outreach, I recommend that you focus on reciprocity when trying to gain links. People will be more likely to link to you if you provide some value in return.
This could be in the form of you linking back to them or offering to write a guest post on their site for free.
7. Your Targeting Highly Competitive Keywords
Depending on your industry, the SEO keywords you are trying to rank for may be highly competitive. Naturally, this will make it harder for your site to appear for these terms.
Failing to rank for these keywords could be attributed to the industry you are in rather than any issue with your site.
You’ll need to verify that this is the case and that your lack of visibility is not the result of a deeper issue.
Check the Coverage section within Google Search Console or perform a site search in Google using your website’s name to see if your website is included in the index at all.
Once you confirm that your site is in fact in Google you will know that the issue is you not ranking for particular keywords rather than a complete lack of visibility.
In this situation, you will have to work to boost your ranking to appear at the top for the keywords you are targeting. This will mean continuing to create useful content, increasing your domain authority through high-quality backlinks, and ensuring that all the technical factors of your site are in order.
If you do this you should see your rankings improve over time. While you wait for your site to rank for more competitive keywords, you should consider targeting some other keywords with a lower difficulty to help your site build momentum.
Use your preferred keyword research tool to find long-tail keywords that are less competitive and create content and pages to target those. You will be able to rank these pages faster.
While the traffic you may receive may be lower than that afforded by your primary keyword targets, bringing visitors to your pages will assist in boosting the authority of your site, helping you to rank for your primary keywords faster.
8. Your Website Is Too Slow
In Google’s effort to provide users with the best possible experience, it takes many different technical factors into consideration when indexing and ranking websites. The most important technical factor they will evaluate is your website’s speed.
Slow loading pages lead to a poor user experience and as a result, will affect if your site is visible on Google.
The performance of your mobile website is given precedence over the desktop version as Google follows a “mobile-first indexing” when crawling, indexing, and ranking pages
This means that your mobile site serves as the baseline when evaluating the quality of your site.
Generally, a slow loading site won’t cause your entire site to be absent from Google but it can affect individual pages from ranking high for competitive keywords.
There are plenty of tools you can use to test your website’s loading speed.
If your website has enough data you can use Google Search Console’s Core Web Vitals Report to measure the performance of your web pages. URLs will be broken into three categories based on their loading speed: “Fast”, “Moderate”, and “Slow”.
You can drill down into the details of each page to get a better idea of what is causing any lag in performance.
Make sure that you are caching your pages and using a CDN. This will allow you to serve saved versions of the static elements of your website.
By doing so, you reduce the number of requests the user’s browser needs to make back to your server, ultimately speeding up the page load times.
9. Your Website Has Technical Issues
If your website experiences frequent technical issues it can be difficult for your website to appear on Google.
Problems like server crashes, DNS problems, and HTTP errors not only affect the user experience but also inhibit Google’s ability to crawl and index your site.
Perform a comprehensive technical SEO audit for your website. This will provide you details of all the different technical problems your website may be experiencing.
You can minimize the number of technical problems you experience by using a high-quality web host. Doing so will help ensure that you don’t run into server issues.
10. Your Website is Hacked and Removed from Google
If your website is hacked it may affect your ability to appear in Google’s search results.
The site could be blacklisted and removed from the index entirely or Google could choose to add a message to any results your site ranks for saying “This site may be hacked”.
With the latter, your site may still be on Google but the chances of having visitors click through to the page are low.
You can check to see if a hack is affecting your website’s position in Google through your Search Console account.
Go to the “Security Issues” section and look to see if any URLs are listed.
If any of your pages are having issues, Google will provide more detail about what the problem is. You can then work on fixing the issues to get your site back in order.
Once you have cleaned up your site you can request a review from Google in the Security Issues section. Once they have verified that your site is fixed they will remove the warning from your site’s listing.
Look to keep your site secure going forward. Users are only allowed one review request every 30 days, so if your site is frequently hacked or injected with malware you will severely limit your chances of gaining any traffic from Google.
How to Get Your Website To Show Up on Google
If you’re struggling to get your site to appear on Google at all, or are having trouble achieving the rankings you desire, here are some actionable steps you can take to improve your search engine visibility:
1. Set up Google Search Console
The first step to getting your site to appear on Google is to set up your Google Search Console account. The platform will serve as a hub for monitoring your performance in the search engine and will also provide you useful tools to take action when needed.
2. Submit your sitemap
After setting up your Search Console account, you want to submit the sitemap for your website. This file will let Google know that your site exists and will give a list of all the URLs that you want to have crawled and indexed.
Once you submit your sitemap Google will add your site to a queue of sites to crawl. With the sitemap on file, it will also know where to go for future crawls and will do so on a recurring basis based on how often you post and update your content.
3. Use the URL inspection tool
The URL inspection tool inside of Search Console allows you to evaluate the status of any individual URL. When you type a URL into the field, you are taken to a page with all of Google’s index data for that URL. You will see if it currently is on Google if the page is mobile-friendly, and when the last crawl was.
If the page is not on Google, or if you have made updates to the page you can click the “Request Indexing” button to have Google recrawl your site.
It will quickly scan the page to see if it is eligible. If it is, Google will add it to a queue to crawl and index.
4. Perform a technical SEO audit
Conducting a thorough website review is the most effective way to diagnose any technical issues that may be negatively impacting your website’s search engine rankings.
Some of the main areas to examine during a technical SEO audit include:
- HTTPS status codes
- Site load times
- Sitemap status
- Duplicate content
- Issues with metadata
- Broken links
- Crawling errors
5. Create unique content
Without high-quality and unique content, there isn’t much reason for Google to rank your site well. Good content is also essential to providing value to your audience and establishing the authority of your brand.
Create original pieces focusing on your target keywords. Look to pages that currently rank high for those phrases and look to your own unique angle to the topic.
You should also check to make sure that your website doesn’t have any errors with duplicate content, which can lead to a penalty from Google. This is usually part of a comprehensive SEO audit.
6. Generate high-quality links
Backlinks are critical to high rankings, especially for competitive keywords. As you begin to fill your site with quality content, look to start a link building campaign where you reach out to other site owners to ask them to link back to your site.
Stick with websites that have a high domain authority as links from these sites will be most effective in improving your site’s rankings.
There are a number of reasons your website may not be showing up on Google.
To start, it could be because your site is new and Google hasn’t had a chance to find it yet.
It could be because you are obstructing Google in some way, either by blocking the crawlers or tagging your pages as “noindex”.
If none of these are responsible then you likely have an aspect of your site you need to improve. It could be a technical error like slow load times or server crashes. Or, it could be a lack of original content and high-quality backlinks.
In rare cases, you may have even been penalized by Google.
The best way to make your site show up on Google is to complete the following steps:
- Create your Google Search Console account
- Submit your Sitemap
- Create unique content
- Gain high-quality backlinks
- Perform regular technical SEO audits
By following these steps you can proactively manage and monitor how your site is performing on Google to quickly make any necessary changes.