16. December, 2020

Showing Up In Rank Tracker But Not In Manual Search? Here’s Why.

Author avatar
Martin Petrov
Marketing @ Morningscore.io

You’ve written a new blog post, and your rank tracker is fully set up with your target keywords. Excited, you sit and wait, leaving your site’s future at Google’s grace.

A few days go by and you notice something. Your rank tracker shows the numbers are moving. Even though your page is still pretty far off Google’s first page, it’s a start. You are ecstatic. “It’s finally working!” you say to yourself.

Being as curious as you are, you decide to manually search and see your result in Google. After all, what bigger pride than seeing the product of your efforts!

But something is off. You scroll past page 7, 8, 9… But your site is nowhere to be seen! “What?!”, you say, confused by the undergoing black magic.

So how was your rank tracker, just some software, able to find your rankings – and you weren’t? Could it be lying? But that can’t be possible – it even noticed the page you rank with right there!

Having dealt with this myself, I decided to explain the 4 main reasons for why you see your rankings in your rank tracker but not when manually searching in Google.

Together with that, I’ll also share 2 foolproof methods for checking whether and how your pages are indexed by Google.

And last but not least, I’ve compiled 5 steps you can take already today to ensure your site actually appears when manually searching for it.

Without further ado, here they are.

4 Reasons For Showing Up In Rank Tracker But Not In Manual Search

Seeing the indexing progress of both small and large websites, I’ve so far been able to come up with 4 concrete reasons why some pages might have such issues. They are:

  • Google is still adjusting tour ranks
  • Google is currently testing where you should rank
  • You’re trying to rank in another country
  • It’s simply an indexing bug in Google

Now let’s explain each of them in detail.

Reason 1. Google Is Still Adjusting Your Ranks

When Google indexes a new page, it needs some time to adjust. When Googlebot visits your page and makes a copy of it on Google’s server, Google needs a bit of time to synchronize that data across all servers. Considering you’re probably not the only one who has written something on the subject lately, Google has to do that with all of your sites collectively.

Because of that, when your rank tracker checked your ranks, it might have simply ended up on a server that already had that information. Meanwhile, your search might lead you to a server which hasn’t yet. In other words, it could simply be “luck of the draw”.

Reason 2. Google Is Currently Testing Your Ranks

Alternatively, to build upon the point above, Google might have already appended their index with your website – but this time they might already be testing your page in the results. For example, because of the vast amounts of data they have, it’s possible that they know which queries are most searched in which particular parts of the country or area you’re in. Therefore, it might happen that this result is only getting tested in that region, rather than the whole internet. And if you happen to be somewhere else – or again, unlucky, you might not see your result.

Reason 3. You’re Trying To Rank In Another Country

Next up, there’s also the chance that you’re trying to rank in another country or location of where you’re located. This point builds upon the previous one – if you’re not positioned in the place you’re trying to rank for, Google is simply going to show you results that fit your location (and the data they have about you) rather than the true results for your target location.

Reason 4. It’s Simply An Indexing Bug In Google

Last but not least, we can’t skip the fact that Google is running an extremely large operation – and at such scale bugs can happen rather easily. After all, they are literally downloading every website they find on the internet. That’s a lot of information! In the process, some things get messed up and this can affect how you see the rankings. This can be either a single instance – again, simply bad luck. Or they can be temporary – something that affects search results over a few days. Sometimes Google drops URLs temporarily, which might take you a couple of days to figure out.

Because these things happen all the time (at least more often that you might think) and they can cause you unnecessary confusion, let’s look at how you can be nearly 100% sure your site is showing up in Google.

How To Check & Confirm Your Site Is On Google

Now, this solution is not fool-proof for the same reasons we listed above. However, it can give you pretty good insights of whether your site is indexed – which is something you should correctly see the majority of time after Google has said it is indexed.

Method #1 – Using A Specific Search Query In Google

The easiest way to see if any particular page on your site is indexed is to use a search query directly in Google. The search query is: “site:” followed by the URL of your page.

For example, when I want to check if this blog post will get indexed, I’d simply go to Google.com and enter:

site:https://morningscore.io/showing-rank-tracker-not-manual-search/

Similarly, simply replace the query after “site:” with your specific page. And if you run this query for your root domain (e.g. “site:https://morningscore.io/”), you will see all of your pages that Google has indexed and added to their index.

Method #2 – Checking Your “Coverage” In Search Console

The next tip here is to use Google Search Console. It is a very powerful tool that shows you when and how Google scans your website and whether your pages are in their index. For example, you can easily enter a URL in the search bar and immediately see if it’s in Google’s index.

If you are already seeing your positions in your rank tracker, the page is indexed and it will display as “URL is on Google”.

checking the coverage tab to ensure page is indexed

As you can also see in the image above, clicking on the “Coverage” tab will reveal great information about when Google crawled your page last.

5 Concrete Steps To Showing Up In Manual Google Search

Now, getting indexed and showing up in Google isn’t an exact science. No one can tell you with certainty why things happen the way they do (well, except Google themselves).

Because of that, there is technically no one way of getting your site to appear in Google. However, there are certain steps you can do to maximize your chances of getting your site featured. They are all rather simple and shouldn’t take you a ton of time and resources.

1. Give It Some Time

Now, the best advice I can give you here is to give it a bit of time. For new pages, you usually don’t have to be obsessed about your rankings – simply because it will take a while until they reach their potential.

This is a very “passive” tip – and there’s not much to do here except continue improving other parts of your website.

But then again, I know that might not be good enough for you. So here’s a few more proactive things you can do to ensure your site shows up.

2. Create Internal Links

The easier it is to find your target page from your home page, the easier it is for Google to find and index it. On top of that, the stronger that page is because of the authority it gets from your homepage. And last but not least, the anchor text which is the text used in your link also helps Google.

Because of that, you can potentially speed up the indexing and ranking process by adding internal links on important words for that article somewhere close to the homepage.

Example:

Say you’re a baker. You have a homepage, on which you list the different categories of products you produce – e.g. wedding cakes, birthday cakes, cookies, custom order cakes, etc.

You recently wrote a post about “wedding cake inspiration”. Now, while that post is perfectly fine being featured in your blog, you can also add an internal link on your /wedding-cakes/ page. This would actually be a great idea both for Google and the end-user.

3. Earn Some Backlinks

Similarly to how internal links pass value around the pages on your website, you also need links from other sources to build up that value. Backlinks work very much like internal links – but you need to be a bit careful here. Make sure the links are authoritative and relevant – and not just any type of link. Last but not least, ensure that the anchor text you’re linking from isn’t too repetitive and isn’t using your target keyword regularly, because that is something Google is monitoring for – and can get you penalized.

Example:

Back to our baker example. If you are a local business like this, it can be quite easy for you to get some initial backlinks to tell Google that your website is alive and it should check it out. I usually recommend getting your business signed up for relevant local directories and aggregators (such as the Better Business Bureau) – because this way you can potentially also get some customers out of it.

4. Create And Submit A Sitemap

The next tip I have for you is to create a document that makes things tremendously easier for Google to find your pages. Namely, we’re talking about your sitemap.xml file.

For most WordPress websites, I strongly recommend using a plugin like Yoast SEO to handle that, although you might have one created from your web host by default (which you can find by going to “yoursite.com/sitemap.xml”).

I personally dislike the sitemap that WordPress brings out of the box because it’s not as structured and well-organized as the one Yoast creates for you. Additionally, the default WP sitemap might feature pages that you don’t necessarily want – and Yoast makes it very easy to control that process.

Once your sitemap is ready, simply head over to Google Search Console’s “Sitemaps” tab, enter the URL of your sitemap, and click “Submit”

checking if your sitemaps are submitted and indexed

Doing this will also allow you to see Googlebot’s activity on your site and the rate of discovering new pages or updating existing ones.

5. Add Schema Markup For Relevant Pages

The last advice I have for you about this issue is to put schema markup on the pages you’ve created (well, ultimately, on every page where it’s relevant). This way you provide Google with even more metadata for what your page is about, who made it, etc. – which is ultimately a trust signal for Google and lets it judge your site better.

Because Schema has a specific structure that you need to follow in order for it to work, I’ll share exactly how I do it. The easiest way to add schema is by using this amazing Schema Generator and a simple text Notepad.

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