search engine optimization, seo, search, rankings, organic rankings, google rankingsEveryone wants to be ranked number 1 in Google for their industries competitive keywords. I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me, “Why am I not ranked number 1?” Or they will say, “I should be ranked number one, we are the best!” Generally, people who say this are new to search engine optimization and don’t understand how complex it can be.
In this post, I will layout why you might not be ranked number one for all the keywords you are going after in Google. Hopefully, this will give some context to those who are trying to understand SEO.

No one can promise results

First off, it is important to point out that no SEO company can promise results. Google is a search engine that no one has complete control over. There are hundreds of ranking factors and anyone who says they can get you a number one position, doesn’t know that for sure.

You don’t have trust worthy links that are earned

Trust worthy links from reputable websites are critical for rankings. If you want to rank for a competitive keyword you need to generate these links. In many cases, it can take a long time to earn highly authoritative links for SEO. One of the main reasons you are not ranking higher than your competition is because they have more powerful links than you do.

You don’t have good enough content

SEO is about 50% based on how good your website is and 50% how powerful the links are pointing at your site. If you do not have well optimized content on the page level, you will not rank.

Your website is not technically correct

Flash, Ajax, Javascript, blocked pages, etc., all of these things can play a factor in your rankings. If you website is not built technically correct, you will not rank number 1.

You have bad internal linking

When you link from one page to another inside of your website, it is basically a vote for Google to rank the page you are linking to higher. It also kicks the spider to that page so that you can get a fresh crawl. If you have poor internal linking, you are not maximizing your website authority for rankings.

It is a competitive keyword

Some keywords are really competitive. For example, terms like coupons, engagement rings, houses for sale, etc., all have hundreds of thousands of websites that are trying to rank for those terms. Out of those, only one can have the number one position in Google and only 10 on the first page. Its hard to rank #1 for any commercial keyword online, let alone a competitive one.

You went with the cheap SEO solution and your competition has invested more

Did you go with the cheap SEO company? Or perhaps you went with a quality company but picked the cheapest option. If you are going after a competitive keyword, it is tough to get there without the right support. Just like anything, you get what you pay for. If your company gets your 10 links and your competitive get 30, how can you get upset at your company when you did pay as much as you needed?

You didn’t implement anything your company asked

One really big issue is when things don’t get done. How can you rank number one for a keyword if nothing has been implemented on the website? Or if no links have been created? If you decide to go with the consulting option (an awesome option, don’t get me wrong) make sure you are actually making changes and following the advice of the SEO.

Your website is not mobile ready

Page speed, usability and being mobile ready on your website are critical to mobile rankings. There are different factors for ranking in mobile search than there are for desktop. So make sure you are doing what you need to do to rank in both.

You don’t do a good job with content marketing

Creating high quality content on your website will attract links, shares and show Google that you have a quality website that should rank number one. If you don’t do a good job with content marketing, and your competition does, you need to improve.

You have poor titles and descriptions

You need to have your keyword in your page titles and descriptions. Not only does having the keyword in the title help you rank, having the keyword in the title and description helps click through rates. If you want to rank number one, you need to make sure to use that term in these areas, as well as the other important areas of the page. Some of the others are h1, h2, copy, image file name, image alt text and image captions.

You don’t have any social signals

Social media shares and links from top sites help websites rank better. If you are not doing social media, but your competition is, you are going to have a hard time ranking number one.

Your product or service is not as good

At the end of the day, SEO really supports good websites. But if your product or service is not in demand, Google will eventually figure that out and stop showing you. You can’t rank number one for long if you don’t have a quality product.

You have negative reviews

If people see negative reviews about your product, service, employees, etc., online then it’s going to be very hard to rank well in Google. That will eventually result in less links, less clicks, less visitors and rankings.

You have a penalty

If you did something you were not supposed to do, bought links, doorway pages, etc., then you will not rank well in Google. Make sure you don’t try to cut any corners. Earning links the hard way is the best way.

You are keyword stuffing

If you use the keyword you are trying to rank for far too many times on a page, it will result in that page not ranking for that term. Make sure you are not keyword stuffing.

You have poor user experience

User experience is a ranking factor on mobile right now. It is currently not in desktop, but could be soon. If you have a poor mobile user experience that could be why you are not ranked number one.

You are not on https

Secure websites are now getting a ranking boost in Google. If you and your competition are exactly the same in all other ways, this could be giving them the upper hand.

A word to the wise

Ranking number one really shouldn’t be your goal anyway for SEO. Instead, you should want to see positive keyword position trends, traffic trends and revenue trends year over year from your SEO company. But if you are in an industry where you really need a top position for a small number of competitive terms to get anything out of SEO, these could be some of the reason you are not ranking as high as you would like. Good luck with your ranking! If you have questions, contact us at:

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