After publishing a blog post and following best practices – catchy title, interesting content, great links, cool images – you’re drumming your fingers, waiting for it to appear. But no matter how often you refresh, that blog post is nowhere! What went wrong?

Maybe something, but probably nothing. Here’s the deal with blog posts ranking on Google.

patience is a virtue

Here’s the cold, hard truth – you really can’t do anything meaningful to speed up the process of visibility. Google has millions of bits of content to sort and index every single day, and your stuff is probably somewhere in that queue. So do what you can to share your post on social media platforms, and then give it a few days. Usually, that’s all it takes.

Then, it’s just a matter of looking in the right place.

Ranking vs indexing

Understanding the difference between indexed content and ranked content is also important. Sometimes, your stuff is indexed – meaning Google knows about it and has it slotted somewhere – but it’s not ranking well. And that means there’s better content from bigger, more established sites that are hogging the first few pages of Google. Ranked content means it’s showing up immediately, and no one has to wade through multiple pages of hits to find your post.

So what can you do if you’re indexed, but not ranking?

  • Make sure that you’re looking for the keywords you used in the post (and if keywords aren’t driving your content, read this)
  • Take a good look at your overall SEO strategy and timeline – remember that optimizing your site is a journey
  • Double check that you aren’t inviting penalties with black hat practices (zillions of affiliate links, keyword stuffing, specific kinds of code)

In most cases, time is the answer. Wait long enough, and that great blog post should show up.

what about my yoast plugin?

Yoast wrote a great little post recently reminding users that those green bullets in its plugin are really just guidelines, not hard and fast rules. If you use the Yoast plugin to stay inside the lines and improve your chances of ranking, remember that content is king, readability matters, and competition can be fierce when you’re shooting for popular keywords.

so you’re telling me to wait

Yes. I’m saying that if you’ve done it all well, give it some time and that blog post will eventually surface. And while you’re waiting, keep blogging.