The search engines are hardly ever accurate, as they’re forever evolving algorithms attempting to please millions of websites, and more importantly their users. This is a monumental task of futility, as both are constantly shifting, being rapidly moving targets.
The search results are often not that accurate, but more of a guesstimate of what the search engines thinks the user is searching for. So because it’s such an act of futility, “SEO marketers” who brands themselves as experts, are the modern day snake oil salesman.
What we’ve all experienced are numerous instances of ranking results from the search engines which are questionable. Then we ask ourselves, “Why does that site appear for that keyword?”
There are numerous theories on why certain pages are served on the SERP’s, most which are out of our control. There are certain ways however, to influence the search engines so that the appropriate webpage, yours, will show up for the keywords that’s searched for.
Confusing Signals Of Relevance
So why is it that you go on a search engine to look for information, and then on the first page of the results, what you get are completely irrelevant results based on your keywords.
Somewhere, a few wires obviously got crossed. The global strength of a page which doesn’t have any relevance whatsoever, can outrank another which has more substance for that keyword. Reasons which go beyond the content that’s on the page.
Some reasons could be, poor back links, internal linking, or poor navigational structure. A page which has lots of external back links but doesn’t match a keyword phrase, can at times outrank an optimized relevant page with no incoming links.
The on-site signals can also contribute to the confusion, such as image alt-texts, internal link anchor texts, or previous 301 redirects, all potentially influencing which page shows up for a particular keyword query.
What the search engines or the user doesn’t want is a page that appears for their search being completely irrelevant, which defeats the purpose of a search engine.
Poor Internal Linking And Hierarchy
When it comes to ranking a website on the Internet, what’s often overlooked is where that page resides on the site. How far it is from the homepage can influence its perceived importance.
A website hierarchy needs to be viewed much like a company’s organizational chart. The homepage is the CEO, while the pages linked directly underneath it are the senior executives.
Beneath that are the directors, the management, and then buried are the mail room workers. So find out why your COO page is four levels (clicks) deep.
When a page that you’ve targeted for a set of keywords is found four levels away from the homepage, or somewhere in a sub-directory or a buried folder, then the page is considered irrelevant by the search engines, and may not be indexed.
Where a particular webpage is placed in relative to the other pages on the site, this based on the internal links, can determine how the search engines views its importance.
A poorly interlinked yet important page can be easily be overlooked in the SERPs, this in favor of a more connected yet less relevant page.
How a particular page is treated internally, is how it’s treated by the search engines, this based on it’s organizational hierarchy. If an important page isn’t treated properly by you on your site, the worse it will rank.
So make sure that you optimize a page properly, giving it the support it needs so it’ll be noticed. The search engines will serve a page that it thinks has the most relevancy, and it doesn’t always mean it’s the right one for the user.
Poor User Experience
Issues such as bounce rate, how long someone spends on a page are all considered when ranking that page. So does your landing landing page satisfy user intent, which influences them to click further, or does it send them back to the search engines.
You want to instantly solve what the user is looking for once they arrive at your site. Forcing them to revise or continue their search isn’t the ideal situation, this especially if a better solution exists on a competitors site.
Creating The “Right” Page
It’s impractical if not impossible to create a landing page which satisfies every keyword phrase that the searcher enters. So a tipping point is needed, balancing the value of the search phrase volume with the quality of information that you provide, this to satisfy their needs.
Examine previous conversions to see if a particular landing page for a set of keywords worked. Volume, quality of content and experience distinguishes an effective high-quality landing page from a spammy “doorway” page.
Make sure that the landing page is identifiable while being unique from the other pages on your site. Provide concise information which makes it the best candidate for a targeted search phrase, this instead of a diluted version of another page using different keywords.
When creating a landing page, align the content which fits the search, giving it prominence on the site. If it can’t be fitted on the main navigation, then place it one click away using distinct internal links.
Draw A Site Map
The circumstances where the search engines returns the “wrong” page is a common occurrence. If there’s another page that’s more accurate, then it becomes necessary to clear the obstacles for that destination. Create a new page if one doesn’t exist.
Realize that the search engines are always in motion and makes mistakes. But if your results remain consistently poor, then make the necessary adjustments to influence the search engines, which will then serve the best page for the user.