Everyone gets this question from a client every now and then and it can be frustrating particularly when the client misunderstands what they are seeing, which is often the case. But this is an essential question for a digital marketing consultant to be able to confidently answer and requires more diagnosis in order to effectively respond to the question. With Organic and Paid Listings, Three Pack, or even the Google Knowledge Graph and the ever continuing effort to personalize the search result experience by location and device and the changing search algorithms, you need to identify a few things before providing the right answer.
Responses to Why am I not on Page 1 of Google?
- What keyword (search query) are you are searching for?
- Are you looking at the natural/organic listings or paid listings? – Don’t ask this unless you know the client understands the difference, otherwise it could confuse them
- Can you send me a screenshot of the particular search query and result you are seeing?
After asking these initial questions, they can provide more specifics and you can give a more specific answer.
Not Showing in Organic
- Brand Terms – How old is the site?
- If its less than 90 days old, be patient – keyword rankings take time
- If it is over 90 days, mention an SEO package or an SEO technical audit. There are two types of technical audits, one that you need an SEO guru for and a lighter SEO audit which is more of a basic observation of high level impactful items on an website, which I call an SEO content footprint audit. There are a number of technical considerations that need to be addressed for the website to be crawlable by search bots and authoritative in how the site is structured. You can do some of these quickly and provide a few possible observations as to the problem with that existing search result and why the keyword is not there, or what it would take to get there, but it is often best to suggest a full SEO technical audit.
- If you don’t have an SEO audit or know the client won’t go for it, you could suggest the client get with the developer to look at the Sitemap XML and Robots TXT file to make sure, first and foremost, at a basic level, they are not preventing Google from crawling the site.
- Non Brand Terms – this is a bit more difficult to assess in one search result. But in general, here are a few things that you could make known to the client outside of an SEO audit:
- Make sure that each page has 2-3 relevant keywords per page. We are not talking about keyword stuffing. The content should flow naturally but contextualizing content is important and is an art when it is done well without disrupting the existing flow of content.
- 300+ Words per page to optimize for keywords. Essentially, is there content depth for a page? You won’t rank if there is no content. There are other things to consider, like photos, alt tags, meta information, appropriate HTML headings, etc, but let’s start with content richness. Does the page have it?
- Keyword strategy based on search volume and competition. This is more likely where the client should start, defining a strategy that informs the type of content that should be on the site.
Why Can’t I See My Google Paid Search Ad?
- Location Targeting – this depends on what location targeting settings you are using. If you are using the targeting option ‘People in, searching for, or who show interest in your targeted location’, then it will depend on what keyword they are questioning in the results. If it is a non-brand term, i.e. ‘West Dallas Townhomes’, then I would start with: is the search result using a city ‘geo-modifier’? What area are they searching from and what is the targeted area you are using?
- Has your budget been depleted or are you targeting a specific time of day? Make sure that the budget has not been depleted for the month or if the person is searching at the end of a day and the daily budget is enough for only one or two clicks every day.
- They could have googled themselves too much. Google will stop showing ads to a person if they continue to search for their own property name.
- Last but not least, confirm that the quality score is not causing problems. The quality score is an important metric for essentially exponentially increasing or decreasing our bid costs. If they have a bad quality score, then you will pay more for showing ads than your competitors. Likewise, if you have a good quality score, it gives you a better shot because Google considers the ad to have relevance with the search query and you are providing a good experience for the user from the search query, to the ad, to the landing page.
Three Pack Result
In this instance, I would try to steer away from providing a direct answer as it is a little less clear about how to have a direct impact on the three pack other than the few things that I’m about to mention. Here is what you should review:
- Start with the Google My Business listing. Make sure it’s fully filled out and referencing the right business categories. This would also cover the knowledge graph result showing up for brand terms.
- The three pack is based on location settings and distance from the device being used. This can be hard to quantify but remind the client that first, mobile is where this has more impact as location based/proximity based searches are when three pack is more relevant. It is less common for a user to visit the website through the three pack and if they do, they can just as easily click through to the full list. If the client is not in the top three, is the client in the longer list after you click through? Second, make sure the map pin exactly matches the property’s physical address, abbreviations are not going to directly impacting it, but the number and the street should be the same. Is the address consistent with your off-site SEO directory listing efforts?
- Point back to the overall SEO organic strategy as the three pack has more of a secondary impact to a strong organic presence and program. Are your listings, schema markup and addresses consistent everywhere? If the answer is yes, then setting expectations for an SEO content and keyword strategy is where to focus your time.