Puzzled About Search Engine Rankings? A Search Intent Tip
By Ken Evoy
In the old days, I used to tell folks who’d puzzle over why a “low value page” ranked higher than theirs…
Why worry that a truly bad page ranks above yours for any given keyword? Doing a detailed SEO analysis can only find 1 of 2 things…
- a Google bug (sooner or later, an algorithm fix will catch that)
- a bunch of black hat tricks
Your time is better spent elsewhere. That said, I would now add…
Consider search intent.
Perhaps that page is low value when looked at through one lens. But could that page turn into a diamond that delivers information that you did not consider? Could it be different info that answers a different search intent, perhaps even the intent that Google wants to cover in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page)?
Spend some time now and do 10 different searches for keywords that matter to you. You will generally find 1 of 2 common patterns in the Top 10 search results…
1) The results page is mostly about one type of search intent.
Allow me to oversimplify for just a moment to make the point. Google has determined that if you are searching for information about “unique gifts for dad”, for example, you are not searching for information about what makes a gift unique. You’re not even looking for general information. You’re looking for product reviews that give you enough information to make a decision on whether to buy a product.
2) The page is split.
This is where you may get confused if you don’t look carefully at the Top 10, or 20 even. Take a look at “debt consolidation,” for example. People could be looking for an authority with advice, a general discussion about the topic, legal advice, plans offered by financial institutions, etc. Study that SERP and realize how many different approaches Google is trying to satisfy.
Now, you are probably never going to win (be anywhere in the Top 10) for that word (unless you’re willing to invest 10 years of your life to become the next Dave Ramsey. There’s just too much money in it. If you look carefully, though, one may have SEO-squeezed in — maybe an expert in debt consolidation has an opinion?
The point is, if you see a page that does not make sense to you in the Search Results, maybe it does to a large enough percentage of searchers.
Some people still look under the rocks that don’t matter (if it’s either a bug or an SEO-trick, it will go away if it really does not belong there). Think “search intent” instead. You’ll save time and get better results.
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