Google search engine has an imperfect algorithm. It can and does rank pages that don’t solve the end user’s problem. How and why this happens – No One Knows. Google assumes that the user is getting their question answered on your page.
Sometime that might not be the case. What happens if you have traffic to a page that clearly doesn’t answer what your audience is looking for? That’s what this article is about. You’ll learn what to do with those pages and the things that you should avoid.
Visitors Will Leave If Your Page Doesn’t Meet Their Needs:
Bounce rate is a major concern of everyone who operates a website. For those who don’t know, bounce rate is all about how long people stay on your page. It’s assumed that if the visitor stays at your site for a long time that the information there is higher quality.
This is just one of the many factors Google uses to rank your site. If people leave your page quickly, it will have a negative effect. It will signal to Google that your page isn’t effective at all. This can also impact your entire site as well. It’s not known how Google views pages in comparison to entire sites.
They more than likely factor in all of the pages to come up with an overall score of the site. This can’t be confirmed however.
You have to recognize that this traffic doesn’t understand that the page doesn’t exactly reflect the niche of your site. You may have a page that talks about white hat link building and the user’s question is about interlinking on site SEO. The people are coming to your page thinking they’ll learn how to interlink content for SEO purposes and your information is about something totally different. It’s not your fault that Google is sending people. It is your job to figure out what they want to learn about.
Check to See What Key Phrases You’re Getting Impressions for in Google Search Console:
The big mistake is to only look at clicks. You want to see what you’re getting impressions for in general. This will tell you what questions people are putting into Google. It also tells you what questions Google thinks your page answers. Study the phrases and enter them into the search engine yourself. Click on the top results and see what they’re like. Ask yourself how you can improve on what they’re doing. There’s always room for improvement. This is without a doubt true when it comes to ranking a page for keywords and phrases you never intended to.
Proper insight as to how you’re getting the traffic will enable you to fully understand the user’s intent. Information is vital and there’s never such a thing as too much.
By understanding the user’s intent, you can fulfill their needs. Take this rare opportunity and make the most out of it. It’ll help you build your reputation and your online following. Any chance you have to do this is invaluable. Always seek out ways to prove your reputation online. As your influence grows, so will the traffic to your site.
Add Content that Answers the Visitor’s Question:
There is a big debate on whether or not the content on the page should be erased and redone. This is risky because the page may not rank afterwards if you do this. It’s vital to understand that Google is ranking the page as it is. Changing it completely will more than likely have some impact on the ranking.
Just how long it will take and what impact it will have is anyone’s guess. You can’t change everything and expect to still rank for the exact same thing. That in itself doesn’t make sense at all. If you change the content entirely, then you’re going to rank for something else. That should be common sense.
You want to add content that answers the question, but doesn’t get in the way of the user. You don’t want to confuse them by any means. Make sure that the content you add doesn’t mesh together with the other content on the page.
You want to make it visually separated from the rest. You can do this by using boxes or tables. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just separate this content from the rest so the visitor knows it’s different.
Provide Additional If Needed:
What happens if you can’t answer the visitor’s question? Maybe it’s far more complex than what you have the ability to answer. This should be a very rare situation. But, it does happen from time to time. You can provide links on your site to additional information.
You need to make sure that you link to sites that have a good reputation. This isn’t an opportunity to sell links on a black hat forum or something like that. There are people who will take advantage of situations like this and make some short term money.
Google will notice if you’re linking out to a low quality site. Link to pages that fully answer the question of the user. Any short term gains made by linking to pages that don’t fulfill the desire of the visitor can hurt rankings. This also goes for sending them to affiliate offers that may not provide a good user experience.
This could be a good time to seek out guest blogger. You may be able to find an influencer in a certain niche who would be willing to help you out. For their help you could link to their site or social media profiles.
There’s nothing at all wrong with letting your visitors know who is providing this information. Some will argue if the link should be do follow or no follow. That’s a judgment call on your end. If the person can provide an appropriate answer to the question, they probably deserve a do follow link.
Deleting the Content May Do Harm Your Site:
An instant reaction that people have is to delete the content. They think this is a better solution than trying to answer the problem. This isn’t a good idea. You’re already ranking and getting traffic.
Instead, you should make the most out of the situation and improve your content. The traffic that’s coming to your page isn’t going to magically appear somewhere else. It’s going to be long gone if you delete the page.
Could deleting the page actually hurt your SEO? That’s up for debate. It would only help if the page had a really high bounce rate. Which, can be fixed. The idea of deleting the page is actually kind of lazy. That’s never a good word to hear in the world of business.
Getting rid of the content is rarely the answer. The easy way out will rarely improve anything in the long run. It may seem frustrating at first to have this piece of content that ranks. As a site owner you need to understand that this happens.
Think of it as a gift from Google. As everyone knows, they don’t give out gifts very often. When they do, take advantage of it. This is a prime opportunity to test your flexibility. It’ll give you a chance to broaden your knowledge and maybe get to know more people in your niche.
If all else fails, ask your visitors questions
This may sound like something that’s really far out there. You can have a survey on the piece of content and ask the user what they’re searching for. How can you help improve their experience? You may not know what they’re searching for even after brainstorming and trying to come up with an answer.
There’s no shame in asking the user for help. Let them guide you and help provide a better user experience. It won’t hurt to throw up a simple survey and see what happens.
If your site is geared towards getting clients, you could ask to contact them via email or phone. Who knows, you might get lucky and someone will allow you to contact them. You could then ask them what they’re searching for.
What exactly is the problem they need an answer to. This might sound over the top to a lot of people. It shouldn’t. Not if you’re dedicated to constantly improving the experience of the user. That’s what you’re trying to do in the end. Any help you can get along the way will be much appreciated.
Let’s Sum All of This Up:
You have a piece of content that’s getting traffic. It’s ranking for keywords and phrases that aren’t exactly related to your niche. They might not be too far off, but it’s not what the page is about. You’ve got to improve the user experience before it ruins your bounce rate. The challenge shouldn’t be as overwhelming as it might seem right now.
It’s just a matter of making sure that your content matches the user intent. Simply put, answer the question the user has. Even though you never intended on answering the question.
There are many benefits from this unexpected influx of traffic. You can use it to grow your mailing list or to promote offers.
You just don’t want to be overly spammy about it. It also provides you an opportunity to reach out and to get to know others within your niche. This in itself could very well prove to be extremely beneficial in the long run. Who knows, you may find someone you can partner up with and work on projects together.
Learning how to better answer the questions of your visitors is an on going thing. This is the beauty of operating a site. You’ll get better at it over time. As you do, you’ll notice your rankings improving.
This gives you a unique window to see into the mind of a visitor. Being able to figure out the intent of the user and answering their question will change how you solve problems. This will give you the mindset required to move forward.
No one should look at this challenge as a failure to deliver. Instead, simply see it as what it is. Google is giving you the gift of free unintended traffic. Now it’s your job to figure out how to make the most of it. That in itself may not be the easiest task in the world.
But, it’s a lesson well worth figuring out. Doing so will help you understand user intent. It will also enable you to clearly understand the thought process of someone who enters questions into the Google search bar. This understanding will be invaluable as you move forward and create new pages. SEO of the future is all about answering questions. Those who answer them the best will be the ones who get the most traffic from Google.