It can be one of the most frustrating things for any SEO professional to encounter. Yes, you’ve achieved some top level rankings for your target keywords and you’re enjoying a steady stream of traffic into your landing page. However, on closer inspection you find out the keyword bringing in that traffic should be directing it somewhere else, a page which is much more relevant.
You may think “well at least one of my pages is ranking well for that search term, even if it isn’t the most relevant page on my website” so perhaps you should just leave things as they are as the not-so-relevant page is still is bringing in a lot of traffic to the website. Wrong.
It’s great that your website is being picked up by Google for a highly searched for keyword but there are problems if the page which is showing in the search results is not the most relevant page on your website for that keyword.
I’ll show you a quick example. If you were looking for some stylish shades for your upcoming holiday and had a particular design in mind, you may search for the following:
Although the likes of Next and Debenhams are ranking higher, House of Fraser has a dedicated landing page matching exactly what you searched for. So, as you scan down the search results and see the House of Fraser page and description, you may be more likely to click through to that page and find what you are looking for because it stands out in the results page as the most relevant result for you, despite appearing a little lower down.
What’s the issue?
We all know the higher up the search results your page appears, the more traffic you will get. This CTR study from Advanced Web Ranking confirms this with significant data detailing the average click through rates according to their position in SERPs.
However, if your least relevant page is ranking highly for your target keyword in search, it will still have a big impact on your click through rate. Just because you’re ranking highly, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get people clicking onto your page if they spot a more relevant result a bit further down.
And even if you do get large proportion of that traffic which the data suggests you will if you appear in the top three results, if your non relevant page doesn’t satisfy the needs of the user, they’ll jump straight back to the search results to continue looking for something better which means a higher bounce rate and lower conversion rate for you – a double whammy of problems.
Here’s a quick three step checklist to rectify the problem and get the right page ranking for the right term in no time.
First, you need to diagnose the issue and find out what pages on your website are currently ranking for your target keyword. We use Moz rankings report which helpfully tracks the URL for any given keyword which we are currently ranking for. Another way to do this would be to type your keyword into google followed by your website to see all the pages which rank for that particular keyword and in what position.
The results of this diagnosis could be as follows:
a) You may discover that a relevant page may not even exist on your website and the answer for this issue is simple, create the page.
b) Your relevant page could be ranking lower than other pages because of indexing, crawling content or linking issues.
c) Your relevant page is doing everything right, another page may just be doing it better and therefore the non-relevant page is overwhelming the right one.
This relates to result b) and one by one, working through these potential issues to try and improve your relevant page. Firstly you need to make sure your page is not being blocked by your robots.txt file as this will stop Google from crawling and indexing your relevant page.
Secondly, check your Meta information is clearly optimised for your target keyword, including it in the Meta title, Meta description and Page title with all images on the page using the keyword or closely related term in the alt tags.
Thirdly, check that your page is providing enough unique and valuable content around your target search term to give the user the best possible experience on your page.
Lastly, check your internal linking structure and make sure all your related pages are pointing back to this page with a link using your target keyword as the anchor text.
You also need to check your external links, are they relevant? Are there any external links which are pointing somewhere else but would be more beneficial linking to your page? Or perhaps there are some non-relevant external links to your page that could be harming your rank? Simply send a request to the blogger, publication or website owner who has linked to your page and ask if they can make any necessary amendments.
If your page is ticking all the boxes in step 1 and 2, it’s time to think about scenario c). This is not something any SEO professional likes to suggest but in some cases, the only option is to ‘downgrade’ the rank of the non-relevant page. Make sure there are limited mentions of your target keyword on this page, could it be targeting another keyword or related term?
Repoint any of the internal links on that page back to your relevant page with an anchor rich link and again request any external link changes that are currently being linked to your non-relevant page and ask they change it to your relevant page.
If you are becomingly increasingly frustrated with your pages not ranking for the terms which are relevant to your business, this checklist can be the first steps in rectifying the issue.
However, if you are still having trouble getting the right page ranking in the SERPs, or indeed any page ranking well in the search results, our SEO experts are on hand to offer advice and knowledge to help you climb the ranks and increase your online visibility. Get in touch and find out what we can do for you and your business.