Jump to content

Cre8asiteforums Internet Marketing
and Conversion Web Design


Photo

Excellent Serps But Prefer Searchers Reach Only 2 Of 7 Pgs


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 EdwardOR

EdwardOR

    Unlurked Energy

  • Members
  • 8 posts

Posted 27 August 2008 - 07:56 PM

I want to focus more of the heat from our SERPs on certain more appropriate pages and hopefully without hurting our website for unrelated searches. Please share your knowledge and suggestions.

Description: Our mature website and large(over 200 pages excluding the store) has a large number of back links (which we do not manage and probably have only minor influence over) and while we have never paid much attention to SEO seven of our pages do very well for several key word phrases on the top 4 SEs. These are searches that are related to one of the courses that we (and others offer). This is one of our most important courses which we have been teaching for over a decade and so there are numerous pages on our site that discuss it. Nonetheless, of the 7 pages there are at most 3 of them that are good Entry place for someone coming via a search to our site for the first time to learn about our course offering. The other pages are a) either written for people who have already done the basic course sequence and might be interested in a graduate level course; or B) have too many other things going on within the page e.g. our home page for it to be that relevant to the searcher.

What suggestions do you have for "weakening" the inappropriate pages and/or "strengthening" the preferred ones? Except for the home page none of the 7 have meta tags for Title or for Description and we plan to write these now.

My own naive thoughts as I am new to SEO would be 1) Only do page titles and desc. for the pages that we wish to heat up; 2) If appropriate to the other pages which we wish to "weaken" have them link to the 2 pages we wish to heat up; 3) If at all possible get some of our several thousand back links to go to the 2 pages that we prefer. Fortunately for us, Google almost always chooses 1 of the 2 pages that we prefer, but the story is different for Yahoo, MSN, and Ask.

Thanks in advance for your advice and I hope that this is an interesting challenge!
Edward

#2 DonnaFontenot

DonnaFontenot

    Peacekeeper Administrator

  • Site Administrators
  • 3821 posts

Posted 27 August 2008 - 09:23 PM

I would personally never try to weaken any page of a site (unless it's COMPLETELY unimportant to me). Sure, strengthen more important pages all you want, but don't turn down Google love for any reason. Embrace it. Use it. Make use OF it. Do something with it. But don't weaken it.

Start strengthening the other pages by first concentrating on onpage optimization. Make the titles work for you. Make the content of the page work for you. Make all of the content work for both the search engines (so they really "get" what the page is about) as well as the users. Once you've refined the content, let others know about it. Get some links to it. Do your best to make sure those links reflect the actual page topic, via anchor text, so the search engines can recognize that and reward you for it. And if those links also come from strong, relevant sites, bigger bonus points!

Do the basics, in other words. But please...don't destroy the few good things you've already got going, even if those few things aren't the cream of the crop for you. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth! ;)

Edited by dazzlindonna, 27 August 2008 - 09:24 PM.


#3 bwelford

bwelford

    Peacekeeper Administrator

  • Site Administrators
  • 9012 posts

Posted 27 August 2008 - 09:57 PM

.. why not use your corporate blog to do some focusing of interest on web pages of importance. Google loves blogs. ;)

#4 EdwardOR

EdwardOR

    Unlurked Energy

  • Members
  • 8 posts

Posted 28 August 2008 - 11:34 AM

Thanks for responses so far. We do not have a blog and it would not be in keeping with our business and where we wish to focus our energy, although I do understand how this can be useful as well as an effective strategy. I also understand the suggestion of essentially "don't look a gift horse in the mouth."

Our situation is that people search on X because they are interested in studying/learning X. We teach X and have a basic course and many advanced courses and hence have numerous pages that are relevant to a search for X and its associated key words. For someone new to out website there are 2 pages which would give them the best place to learn about what we offer in the X area. Would any of what I originally posted (see quote) be helpful in getting more of the SEs to score more highly the 2 pages we'd prefer to have searchers see? Fortunately for us, Google consistently chooses 1 of our 2 preferred pages but Yahoo, MSN, and Ask typically choose our other pages to place on page 1.

We all know that some searchers are impatient and if they do not soon see what they want when clicking through they will not explore further. Certainly one of the things "on-page" for the 5 other pages that score well we can do is to write about and link to the two pages that are better starting places for learning about what we offer in the X area. Since the two business owners (not me) are authors of 6 best selling books in our biz area, they can edit our pages in a naturalistic writing style.

Thanks for any additional suggestions.

My own naive thoughts as I am new to SEO would be 1) Only do page titles and desc. for the pages that we wish to heat up; 2) If appropriate to the other pages which we wish to "weaken" have them link to the 2 pages we wish to heat up; 3) If at all possible get some of our several thousand back links to go to the 2 pages that we prefer. Fortunately for us, Google almost always chooses 1 of the 2 pages that we prefer, but the story is different for Yahoo, MSN, and Ask.



#5 DrPete

DrPete

    Mach 1 Member

  • Members
  • 327 posts

Posted 28 August 2008 - 12:21 PM

First off, I'll second the warnings. Don't strengthen one page by doing bad SEO on another. If the pages are of absolutely zero value, then you can remove them and 404 or block them, but otherwise work on improve the preferred pages. Good on-page SEO should be sitewide, not just on the preferred pages, as this will look inconsistent and many on-page elements (such as good titles) are also good for usability.

What I would suggest is some targeted internal link-building, especially from the less desirable pages to the more desirable ones. If, for example, you've got a page that's course #2 in a series, link that back to course #1 or the more general material. This will help page-juice flow to your preferred targets. Also, make sure to highlight the preferred courses in appropriate places, such as featured items on the home-page.

This cross-linking will also help with usability and site abandonment. If visitors can easily get to the appropriate place, they're less likely to leave, no matter where they land.

#6 phaithful

phaithful

    Light Speed Member

  • Members
  • 800 posts

Posted 28 August 2008 - 12:46 PM

disclaimer: I'm hesitant to suggest this, because you can burn yourself pretty badly with this suggestion. If you're going to go down this path, make sure you've got a person on your staff who knows SEO well enough to mitigate any problems.

I think the quickest way to get users to the desired location is to do some conditional formatting to the page if the user arrives from a Google search result page with that specific query. Basically, you can have some code on the page that grabs the content from the referer in the HTTP Headers and then look to see if the referer has "google.com" and "q=keyword_x". If yes, then bold the link that goes to the correct content, or add a link to the top of the page that suggests the searcher try your other page for more relevant content.

Of course this is a short term, quick and dirty approach, and DrPete has a very good suggestion for a longer term strategy.

The reason this is dangerous is: it violates one of Google's guidelines. It's not exactly "cloaking", and I personally believe it to be a better user experience if done correctly. But it does violate a Google guideline, hence you could find yourself with zero rankings if you're perceived to be doing something Google doesn't like.

Edited by phaithful, 28 August 2008 - 12:46 PM.


#7 EdwardOR

EdwardOR

    Unlurked Energy

  • Members
  • 8 posts

Posted 28 August 2008 - 03:34 PM

What I would suggest is some targeted internal link-building, especially from the less desirable pages to the more desirable ones. If, for example, you've got a page that's course #2 in a series, link that back to course #1 or the more general material. This will help page-juice flow to your preferred targets. Also, make sure to highlight the preferred courses in appropriate places, such as featured items on the home-page.



Thanks for comments and suggestions Dr. Pete. 3 of the 5 less relevant pages already have links to the more appropriate 2 pages. Will also look at moving there location on the page as well as the text surrounding them so that someone who arrives at a less appropriate page will find it easier to orient themselves and decide whether to follow the suggestion we make of going to the "other" page.

We already have a pretty good hierarchy of pages in various sections (newsletter articles; course series 1; course series 2; about the authors/teachers; customer service; store; etc.) and with our site makeover that is underway the internal navigation will be cleaner and there will be a better sense for visitors to understand where they are within the site which is very content rich.

#8 EdwardOR

EdwardOR

    Unlurked Energy

  • Members
  • 8 posts

Posted 28 August 2008 - 05:10 PM

phaithful wrote The reason this is dangerous is: it violates one of Google's guidelines. It's not exactly "cloaking", and I personally believe it to be a better user experience if done correctly. But it does violate a Google guideline, hence you could find yourself with zero rankings if you're perceived to be doing something Google doesn't like.



I appreciate your comment and the disclaimer AND I agree with you that it can give the visitor a better experience since we are experts on our own website and content and have a pretty good idea of what is likely to be the most relevant place for a person to read. As a newbie to SEO, I have not read about "cloaking" but have an intuitive feel for it and can imagine how it can be abused/manipulative and is therefore actively discouraged by Goog and others. It is a challenge for all of us to create the best of all possible worlds.

#9 A.N.Onym

A.N.Onym

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 4003 posts

Posted 29 August 2008 - 06:34 AM

As linking (both internally and from other sites) to the two pages was already advised, I'd recommend:
- putting more content about the courses on the two pages, make them the best pages of the site about the courses (both in terms of content and conversions)
- make sure the intent of the pages is different: it will allow you to describe the course using less popular popular phrases and get more long tail traffic (which is traffic for low competition phrases). Obviously, you'll use different phrases in titles, subheadings, lists, links throughout your site, etc.

Thus, you will have:
- two pages that rank for the main term and plenty of secondary keyphrases
- have 5 other pages that rank for secondary phrases

In fact, the secondary phrases is what can get your other pages show up, instead of the ones that currently don't.

If you already have the complete page hierearchy and you can't change the focus of the pages (you still can add content, though), then focus on link building to the right pages.

You don't simply need a blog, but a great article that people would link to, which would have links to your two pages.

Blog or no blog, you need pages that you control. You can create those pages, being useful articles/posts, on your site, promote them and get links to them. This, in turn, will allow you to power the two pages with your own strong pages. There's little other way around, really.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 29 August 2008 - 06:37 AM.


#10 EdwardOR

EdwardOR

    Unlurked Energy

  • Members
  • 8 posts

Posted 03 September 2008 - 01:20 PM

I appreciate all of the excellent advice, both the principles as well as specific suggestions for our situation. Some of these were done originally and others will be done now. Since most of our pages do NOT have meta Descriptions and we can write ones that are much more appealing than the snippets that Goog or Yahoo are taking as their selections to display, this will be our first intervention as it and then changes to meta Title are likely to have the most impact for us on pages that already score well.

As time permits in the future will incorporate some of the suggestions that all of you have shared, so again much thanks for cutting my learning curve.



RSS Feed

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users