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Troubleshooting 5 Common Search Engine Keyword Woes

Finding the right keywords for your pages proves to be much more of an art than an exact science. It requires patience and trial and error. At best, you increase the chance to rank your page in search engine listings. What if you see no progress from your efforts? You analyzed your competition, you researched high potential keywords for your market, but other problems could hold your pages down.

Problem 1

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 here.

The lower the percentage, the better.

To check the age of a domain, try looking it up in WHOIS.

Some owners hide this information.

Problem 2

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. Once you start to receive inbound links, and your website builds longevity, go back and test your page against others listed for more frequently searched terms. There may be a chance to rank for the better keywords!

Problem 3

Your page ranked in the number 1 spot for a keyword, but it brings you no traffic!

A few factors could contribute to this issue. First off, you need to make sure that the keyword does relate to your content and your title. Irrelevant terms do not work. You should also check your meta-description or page description. Change your description to better reflect the content on your page. The description appears underneath page titles in search listings and serves as the second most effective search marketing asset.

Always stay in your niche. Your business might be about high end sport car mods, but maybe your company focuses on mods only for cars from Japan? On cars built by Honda or Nissan? Maybe you service customers in the Houston, Texas area? “Houston Nissan Z mods” will deliver a more targeted audience than “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 examine the source. Like in most new situations, credibility and reputation matter. Your website might not be as well known as the other domains and domain types listed in the search engine listing. If you go head to head with these more credible sources, people might pass your website over and click your competition, despite your rank.

Take into consideration the following website types when keyword researching and evaluate your search engine listing position:

Academic Websites

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 dampen your chances.

Major News Sources

CNN, NBC, BBC News, and other major news publications/networks will 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.

Government Websites

The government also engages in research and distributes useful information across the Web. Be wary if your keyword creates a first page with plenty of .gov’s to go through.

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 listed against Charles Schwabb if you write an article on financial advice? 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,” tend to look more authoritative.

Social Bookmarking Sites

Social bookmarking websites like Digg and StumbleUpon allow Internet users to utilize their democratic powers to share, vote, and ignore websites. Just as inbound links serve to judge the popularity and ranking of a pages. The popularity and familiarity of these websites will grant them more credence.

High Traffic Domains

Popular websites built around online writing and info sharing can be difficult to beat. Medium, Blogger, WordPress and many other blog or publication sites can trump you.


Even with the best case scenario, only about 35% of people click on the first page in the search results listing, 12% on the second, 9% on the third. It keeps going down from there.

Problem 4

You discover you cannot rank for any of your keywords!

This happens and should not discourage you. Markets tend to be competitive online and you need to do some groundwork before you can take advantage of the power of search engines.

Before you put your keywords on hold, make sure you exhaust all possible phrases. Sometimes the difference between “weight loss” vs. “fat loss” can be huge and introduce you to a brand new list of keywords to work with.

If you completely reviewed all the terminology you could think of, you need to start to network and market instead.

Once you generate enough inbound links, you can go back and test your page against the competition again.

Problem 5

I took all your advice, double checked my efforts, and still no results!

Search engine optimization can be a long and tedious process. As mentioned, no one knows all the elements that come into play when search engines decide how to rank pages.

If you tried all the above and still cannot rank your pages, you might need some additional hand-holding. You might need 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 vouch for and trust!

Some Final Words of Advice

Never give up on your website. Remember, content matters most on the Web. Not ranking for your targeted keywords does not mean your pages will be unable to generate traffic from search engines. Some tips for a search engine friendly website:

And never give up! ☻

❝ This is great! I just discovered it now, thanks to you!

HubPages Author

Warren Samu
Last edited on
May 22nd, 2020