Most people have tried searching for something on Google only to be served something completely different. SEO professionals are especially conversant with this phenomenon: you examine the ranking results for a certain keyword, and you ask yourself, “How is that page even remotely relevant to that keyword?!”
Pages show up on search results for a number of reasons, some of which are outside your control as an SEO. However, there are methods to employ to improve the chances of having ‘right’ content being ranked for the ‘right’ search term.
Relevance is one of the most important factors that determine which pages will be ranked for which search. This is mostly regarding the textual content on a page. SEOs, however, can attest to the fact that, on occasion, you end up ranking for a keyword, different from the one you optimized for.
There are a few reasons for mismatched page ranking qualities. For instance, one page that has a single instance of on-page relevance can outrank a different page with seemingly more relevant content. This points to the fact that search engines examine more than just the text on a page.
Pointers like backlinks, internal linking architecture and page navigation are just a few of those factors. Hence, one page with minimal on-page optimization can outrank a more optimized page because it has more inbound links pointing to it.
However, sometimes conflicting on-page signals can stand in the way of a site ranking for specific keywords. For instance, anchor texts of internal links, 301/302 redirects, alternate image texts, among others, can change which page is ranked first for certain keyword queries. If your page is ranked below what is in your opinion a less suitable page, it’s time to pick into the details.
Unbalanced hierarchical systems and linking profiles
One of the most ignored factors that determines whether or not a page gets ranked is its location within the site. Page Depth, or the distance of a page from the homepage indicates how important that page is to search engines. Imagine your website as an organizational hierarchy chart: your homepage would be the CEO/MD. Pages directly linked from the homepage are senior managers/HODs, then mid-level managers all the way down to the junior staff.
Therefore, if you have a senior manager level page placed where a junior executive should be, you shouldn’t be surprised that it’s not ranking as well as you want it to. If you have an important page three or more clicks from the homepage, or buried in a sub-directory, you could be responsible for marginalizing your own page in the eyes of search engines.
Google uses your internal linking architecture to determine how pages are related to each other in the site, and ranks them in order of perceived importance. Therefore, your highly relevant page may be overlooked because it’s found too deep within the site, with poor interlinking.
Just like the saying “Charity begins at home”, search engines will attach the same level of importance to your site that you do through your internal linking. You therefore want to ensure that the structure places relevant importance to your most relevant pages. Having taken the trouble to optimize a page to answer specific user queries, follow up by ensuring you have elevated it to a point of visibility.
Conclusion – responding to user experience
While it is implausible to create a distinct landing page for all keywords and filters you want to be viewed for, you can establish a balance according to the search volumes for different parameters/filters/keywords. Previous conversations and other user engagement factors can help to identify potential landing pages for given keyword groups.
Ensure that all keyword-based pages offer unique, valuable and quality content to warrant their existence, and distinguish it from other pages within the site. It should not resemble another page, only with different keywords. Use distinct internal links to make it stand out if you cannot place it in the primary or secondary navigation menus.
Even though you have understand how SEO worked, you still need to be careful when you do link building: Using Product Reviews to Get Links: Why You Need to be Careful