Reasons Your Website Isn’t Showing Up On Google (and How to Fix It)


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Reasons Your Website Isn’t Showing Up On Google (and How to Fix It)

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Does it feel like you’ve done everything right, yet your website is still nowhere to be seen in Google’s search results? 

The bad news: Several things could be preventing you from showing up in Google.

The good news: Many of them are easy to fix.

Below, we explore nine possible reasons why you’re not showing up in Google and how to fix each issue.

Before we start…

It’s important to note that when you type something into Google hoping to see your website in the search results, you’re not actually looking for your website.

You’re looking for a page on your website.

That’s an important distinction.

If Google doesn’t know about the existence of the page you’re trying to rank or thinks it doesn’t deserve to rank, then it won’t show up anywhere that matters in the search results.

SIDENOTE. Your homepage may be the page you’re trying to rank. 

For that reason, to show up in Google, three things need to be true:

  1. Google knows that your website exists and can find and access all your important pages.
  2. You have a page that’s a relevant result for the keyword you want to show up for.
  3. You’ve demonstrated to Google that your page is worthy of ranking for your target search query—more so than any other page from another website.

Most of the issues we tackle below relate to one of these three things.

Let’s start with the simple stuff…

1. Your website is too new

It takes time for Google to discover new websites and web pages. If you only launched your site this morning, then the most straightforward explanation is that Google just hasn’t found it yet.

To check whether Google knows your website exists, run a search for

Screenshot from 2022-01-17 23-30-28.png-1642452104.webp-1642452104.webp

If there is at least one result, then Google knows about your website.

If there are no results, then they don’t.

But even if they know about your website, they might not know about the page you’re trying to rank. Check that they know about this by searching for

There should be one result.

If you see no results for either of these searches, create a sitemap, and submit it via Google Search Console. (It’s good practice to do this regardless.)

Search Console > Sitemaps > Enter sitemap URL > Submit

SIDENOTE.  You’ll need to create a free Search Console account and add your website before doing this. Read this guide for instructions. 

A sitemap tells Google which pages are important on your site and where to find them.

It can also speed up the discovery process.


2. You’re blocking search engines from indexing your pages

If you tell Google not to show certain pages in the search results, then it won’t.

You do that with a “noindex” meta tag, which is a piece of HTML code that looks like this:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex"/>

Pages with that code won’t be indexed, even if you created a sitemap and submitted it in Google Search Console.

You probably don’t recall ever adding that code to any of your pages, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

It’s also something that a lot of web developers use to prevent Google from indexing a site during the development process and forget to remove it before publishing.

If Google has already crawled the pages in your sitemap, it’ll tell you about any “noindexed” ones in the “Coverage” report in Google Search Console.

Just look for this error:


3. You’re blocking search engines from crawling your pages

Most websites have something called a robots.txt file. This instructs search engines where they can and can’t go on your website.

Google can’t crawl URLs blocked in your robots.txt file, which usually results in them not showing up in search results.

If you’ve submitted your sitemap via Google Search Console, it should alert you about issues related to this. Go to the “Coverage” report and look for “Submitted URL blocked by robots.txt” errors.


Once again, that only works if Google has already attempted to crawl the URLs in your sitemap. If you only recently submitted this, then that may not yet be the case.

If you prefer not to wait, you can check manually. Just head to

SIDENOTE. If you get a 404 error, then it means you don’t have a robots.txt file. Learn how to create one here.


Robots.txt files can be complicated, and they’re easy to mess up. If you feel that yours may be preventing pages from showing up on Google, and you don’t know much about this file, hire an expert to fix it.

4. You have duplicate content issues

Duplicate content is when the same or similar web page is accessible at different URLs.

Google tends not to index duplicate content because it takes up unnecessary space in their index—a bit like having two copies of the same book on your bookshelf.

Instead, it usually only indexes the version that you set as the canonical.

If no canonical is set, Google attempts to identify the best version of the page to index itself.

Unfortunately, Google’s ability to identify duplicate pages without non-self-referencing canonicals isn’t perfect.

5. You have a Google penalty

Having a Google penalty is the least likely reason for not showing up on Google. But it is a possibility.

There are two types of Google penalties.

  • Manual: This is when Google takes action to remove or demote your site in the search results. It happens when a Google employee manually reviews your website and finds that it doesn’t comply with their Webmaster Guidelines.
  • Algorithmic: This is when Google’s algorithm suppresses your website or a web page in the search results due to quality issues. It’s more a case of computer says no than human says no.

SIDENOTE. To be accurate, algorithmic penalties aren’t penalties, they’re filters.

Luckily, manual penalties are extremely rare. You’re unlikely to get one unless you’ve done something drastically wrong. Google also usually alerts you about them via the “Manual penalties” tab in Search Console.

Screenshot from 2022-01-17 23-55-53.png-1642453075.webp-1642453076.webp

If there’s no warning in there, then you probably don’t have a manual penalty.

Unfortunately, Google doesn’t tell you if your site is being filtered algorithmically—and this can be quite challenging to identify.

Final thoughts

Ranking in Google is like playing a video game.

If you have technical issues like a broken controller, then you’re never going to win no matter how hard you try. It’s the same with your website. You need to fix severe technical problems like rogue “noindex” meta tags and crawl blocks before playing the game.

From there, it’s critical to understand the level you’re playing at and the strength of your opponents. Some levels are easy because your opponents are weak. Others are difficult because they’re strong.

You may need to level-up by building backlinks and “authority” before taking on stronger ones.

If you’re struggling to beat your opponents because they’re too strong, play an easier level.

You can do this by targeting lower-competition keywords. Of course, one way to find these is by filtering for low-difficulty keywords in Keywords Explorer.