Picture this: You’re sitting at your desk, anxiously refreshing your website’s rankings, eagerly awaiting the moment you see your target keywords sitting pretty at the top of the search engine results. But then, the moment of triumph turns into one of disappointment and frustration as you realize that the page Google has chosen to rank for those keywords is completely off-topic or irrelevant. Sound familiar? You’re not alone in this frustrating situation. Unfortunately, when the wrong page ranks for your keywords, it can affect your user experience and lead to a higher bounce rate. But before you throw your hands up in despair, know there is a solution. In this blog post, we’ll explore why Google might be ranking the wrong pages for your keywords, and more importantly, we’ll share the steps you can take to fix the issue and reclaim your website’s search engine visibility.
Why is Google Ranking the Wrong Page?
You’ve probably heard of the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) process, but have you heard of Search Engine De-Optimization?
It is the flip side of what we all do, and the main goal is to remove a website from SERPs that is driving the wrong type of traffic. If the wrong page appears in Google (or any other search engine), it will lower your CTR (click-through rate) and organic traffic due to its irrelevant title or description. Now that you know a wrong page is ranking, what if I say there is a solution to fix this? Look out for these points. If you found more than two, there you are! You must improve your keyword rankings.
- Your pages earn some traffic but no conversions.
- You are getting queries from users that are not relevant to the business.
- Your pages are falling short of expectations to reach the goal.
- Your content ranking for conversion keywords rather than revenue-generating pages.
The Top Two Reasons Why Google Ranks the Wrong Page for a Targeted Query
1. Search Intent Mismatch
If the keywords used on a website do not match the user’s search intent, that page may rank incorrectly. To avoid this, ensure your content is tailored to the user’s search intent.
- If your goal is to let users buy your product, choose keywords with transactional intent.
- If your goal is to find helpful information or answers to their questions, choose the informational intent keywords.
- Or, if your goal is to find a page, choose terms with navigational intent.
So, tailoring your content as per the search intent is crucial.
2. Keyword Cannibalization
This keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple pages on your website target the same focus keyword and can confuse Google and result in both pages having a lower position in SERPs. However, it can be resolved by following specific strategies. Let’s dive in!
How To Improve Keyword Rankings?
How can you de-optimize or remove a page from SERP and put the desired one in place? Here’s a simple and practical 6-step guide to improving your keyword rankings and indexing the relevant page.
Step 1: Identify the page you want to rank for a specific keyword. Ensure that the page is not blocked by the robots.txt file, as this will prevent Google from crawling and indexing the page.
Step 2: Analyze the intent behind the focus keyword and assign related keywords to relevant pages. Use a tool such as Semrush to find related keywords.
Step 3: Optimize the content on the page by reviewing the meta information, such as the title, description, and keywords. Ensure that the content is relevant, unique, and high-quality.
Step 4: Check the internal and external links to the page. The desired page will not rank for the targeted keyword if the links point to an irrelevant page. Use Screaming frog or Google Search Console to audit your links.
Step 5: Analyze user data from analytics tools such as Google Analytics. Identify issues such as low click-through rates (CTR), high bounce rates, and poor conversion rates and work to improve them.
Step 6: Once the above steps have been completed, submit the page to Google Search Console and wait for Google to index the page. Depending on your site and relevancy, it could take a couple of days or weeks to take effect.
Note: Improving keyword rankings is an ongoing process and requires consistent effort to maintain and improve. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on Google algorithm updates and adjust your strategy accordingly. And It’s also important to note that manipulating or attempting to manipulate the SERP can result in penalties from Google. Hence, it’s best to focus on creating high-quality, relevant content and building a solid backlink profile.
Further Considerations for Improving Keyword Rankings
Even after implementing the above steps, if you are getting the wrong page ranking for your focus keyword, follow the below, which could help you fix the issue.
- Use a 301 redirect if you want to remove your original page during de-optimization.
- Analyze the Backlinks profile and compare it to competitors. This will help you fill the gaps and earn high-quality links to your desired page.
- Page Speed Optimizations – Focus on improving page speed by following the opportunities listed in the Google PageSpeed Insights tool.
- Monitor engagement metrics such as page scroll, time spent on the page, and conversions and make adjustments to improve user experience if necessary.
By implementing these additional strategies, you can resolve the issue of the wrong page ranking and drive targeted traffic to your intended page.