Troubleshooting Keyword Woes
Finding the right keywords for your pages proves to be much more of an art than an exact science, requiring patience and trial and error. At most, you just increase the chance to rank your page in search engine listings. There could be other problems with your market or page holding you back as well.
You followed the Step-by-Step Keyword Guide, but your pages still do not rank.
Remember the other two factors touched upon, code to text ratio and domain age? You might want to see if the current pages listed in a search query for your keywords beat yours in these two categories.
For code to text ratio testing, you can plug the URL of your webpages into the script at the following website:
The lower the percentage, the better.
To check the age of a domain, try looking it up in WHOIS at
Though I must warn you, some owners hide this information.
You got your webpage ranked on the first page for a keyword, but you want more traffic and to use more competitive keywords.
You never need to be satisfied with your current keywords. Most people start out with low competition keywords. You should aim to upgrade to phrases with higher monthly traffic volumes in the long run. Once you start receiving more inbound links and your website begins to build some longevity, try going back and testing your page against others listed for terms receiving more searches. You might find you now have a chance to rank for the better keywords!
Your page ranked in the number 1 spot for a keyword, but it brings you no traffic!
A few factors could be contributing to this problem. First off, you need to make sure that the keyword does relate to your content and your title. If it’s not relevant, it’s not working for you. You should also check your meta-description or page description. Change your description to more positively reflect the content of your page. The description appears underneath page titles in search listings and is your second most effective search marketing asset.
Always stay in your niche. Sure, your business might be about high end sport car mods, but maybe your company really focuses on mods only for cars from Japan, or only built by Honda or Nissan. Maybe you only do work for customers in the Houston, Texas area. “Houston Nissan Z mods” will deliver a more targeted and likely audience then “Japanese sports car mods” or “sport car mods.”
Other websites could also be upstaging your listing.
People not only look at the title of your webpage and your page’s description in comparison to the other sites ranked, but they will look at the source as well. Like in most new situations, credibility and reputation matter. Your website might not be as well known as some of the other domains and domain types listed in the search engine listing. If you go head to head with these more credible sources, people will more likely pass your website over and click your competition, despite your rank.
Take into considering the following website types when doing your keyword research and evaluating your search engine listing position:
Informative by nature and usually peer reviewed by professionals in their own field, articles and other publications from a .edu domain will most likely trump the trustworthiness of anything you throw at it. A keyword that brings up a first page littered with results from the educational elite will greatly destroy your chances.
Major News Sources
CNN, MSNBC, and other major news publications and networks will most likely be unbeatable due to their journalistic credibility and popularity. If they already dominate the search listing for your keyword, best to try a different phrase.
The government also engages in research and distributes informative and useful information across the Web. If your keyword creates a first page with plenty of .gov’s to go through, competitors beware.
Market Specific Websites
If you sell a product, say a book, do you really want to go up against pages listed on Amazon or Barnes & Noble? How about being listed against Charles Schwabb if you write an article on financial advise. Who do you think people will trust and go to first?
Domains That Match Keywords
Domains that use the exact keyword phrase you target as their domain name, like “www.yourkeyword.com,” will already appear to be a good, albeit, possible biased authority on the topic.
Social Bookmarking Sites
Social bookmarking websites like Digg and StumbleUpon allow Internet users to utilize their given online democratic powers to share, vote, and ignore websites at their whim. Just as inbound links serve to judge the popularity and ranking of a page, so do the marks given by social bookmarking sites and their users. The popularity and familiarity of these websites will automatically grant them more credence for many people searching the web.
High Traffic Domains
Extremely popular websites built around online writing and info sharing also can be difficult to beat. EzineArticles, WordPress, HubPages, and many other blog or article sites live and die by user opinion and popularity. In the twisted world of the Internet, what’s popular is what’s worth sharing, and what’s worth sharing is what’s credible.
You discover you cannot rank for any of your keywords!
This happens to many people and should not discourage you. Markets tend to be very competitive online and you might need to do some ground work before you can start taking advantage of the power of search engines.
Before you put your keywords on hold, make sure you exhausted all possible phrases. Sometimes the difference between something like “weight loss” vs. “fat loss” can be huge and introduce you to an entirely new list of keywords to work with.
If you completely reviewed all the terminology you could think of, you need to start networking and marketing instead.
- Share your published page with a good keyword you want to use. Send it out on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and to your business associates.
- Find related sites in your market and ask them to link to you. Blogs work wonders!
- Link to relevant resources from your page and hope those writers will return the favor in the future.
- Share your pages on social bookmarking websites like Technorati and Digg.
Once you generate enough inbound links, you can go back and test your page against the competition again.
I took all your advice, double checked my efforts, and still no results!
Search engine optimization and implementing keywords can be a long and tedious process. As mentioned earlier, no one truly knows all the elements that come into play when search engines decide how to rank pages.
If you’ve tried all the above and still cannot rank your pages, you might need some additional hand-holding and more personalized training to help pinpoint your dilemma and remedy it.
It might be time to contact a SEO consultant or specialist that can get you back on the right track. Just make sure you find someone reliable and time-tested whom others already vouch for and trust!
Some Final Words of Advice
Never give up on your website. Remember, content matters most on the web and even if you cannot rank for your targeted keywords does not mean your pages will not be able to bring in traffic from search engines. Some tips for a search engine friendly website:
- Keep beefing up your website with focused pages containing high quality content.
- Keep your website topic oriented and stay within your market and niche.
- Encourage participation. Allowing readers to post comments, interact with the website, and be notified when you add something new works wonders. Not only will they keep coming back, they’ll add additional content and bring their friends too! Plus, possibly send some inbound linked your way.
- Stay away from bad SEO advice and “SEO experts” that will lead you astray with your website.
- And never give up! 🙂