It's one of the most commonly asked questions among new WordPress users who have just developed and launched a new website. You've optimised your site to the best of your ability yet you still can't manage to break past the 3rd or 4th search results page. Why is this? Thankfully the issue is nothing that can't be fixed, yet you'll still need to wait for Google to refresh their search index to see where you land once any changes have been made. Let's have a look at some of the reasons for a poor ranking below...
For Google, content and links are its two most important ranking factors. So if you don’t have good content, your WordPress site doesn’t have much of a chance to rank. There are a lot of elements that go into creating good content. To make your content the best it can be, try and make sure it's always informative, grammatically correct, lengthy and new. Try making all your posts at least 2000 words long to achieve a higher "average time on page" metric and make sure you go back and improve old content when you can.
A little over half of the website's traffic is generated through mobile phones. Web designers have the challenge of making one website to please multiple browsers on different devices—which is why many make websites “responsive.” A “responsive” website will adapt to a format that is user-friendly for a particular device. A website that is not user-friendly will get dinged by Google during mobile- based searched queries. Google is all about promoting websites with a great user experience.
Use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to find out whether your website is mobile responsive or not and to find any issues such as partial loading (the tool will alert you to any problems it finds).
You should always Google your keyword and analyze it's search results to see how competitive it is. Otherwise, you may spend hours on an article that you’ll never even rank for. The easiest way to do this is by downloading the Mozbar Chrome Extension. This allows you to Google any keyword and see each results DA (domain authority) and PA (page authority). The higher these are, the more competitive the keyword is, and you should try competing within your range.
If a keyword you want to rank high for is more competitive, try getting much more specific in your keyword wording. More specific keywords are much easier to rank for.
If you log into your WordPress dashboard and navigate to "Settings > Reading Settings" and scroll down to "Site Visibility", you will see an option box titled “Allow search engines to index this site”. Make sure this box is selected otherwise you will be invisible to search engines.
Every time you change a permalink (even if you set up a 301 redirect), you will lose most your rankings temporarily, and only some of your rankings long-term. It’s been said about 1-10% of link juice is lost when you setup a 301 redirect. We would recommend that you avoid changing these altogether unless your permalinks use the ugly ?p=123 format. This includes during a redesign.
Affiliate sites are especially prone to Google penalties so minimizing the number of affiliate links on your site (and making sure your content is valuable and not just a doorway to other pages) is key. You can minimize affiliate links by creating landing pages about specific things you wish to sell. By linking to that page instead of always using an affiliate link, you can reduce the total number of affiliate links on your site.
Use this information to perform an audit on your website and see if you have been unknowingly sabotaging your website’s ranking. Some may be easier and quicker fixes than others, but all will help. Just remember that for any of them to take affect you'll need to give Google some time (think a few weeks) to adjust the rankings.