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Inner Page Instead Of Home Page Now Showing In Google Search Results.


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7 replies to this topic

#1 MelH

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 10:06 PM

Hi

 

I have an Australian website which for the last 4 years has ranked in the top 3 places on page one of Google for our main search terms.

 

Around March/April we noticed (for no reason we can find) our first page position changed and our home page and an inner page were 4 and 5 on Google’s search results for our main search keywords.

 

Australia has 8 states and this happened in 3 of them with the inner page being the one we had optimised for the capital city of that state. All other 5 states still had the home page showing but we had slumped to 4 or 5 on page one of Google's results.

 

Then around May/June our home page disappeared from those 3 states and only the inner page still showed in position 3.

 

We did a lot of on page optimisation for the whole site which made no difference.

 

Quite by accident I discovered that if I clicked the link “repeat the search with the omitted results included” which is found at the end of the search results pages, the home page reappeared beneath the inner state page on page one of Google for those 3 states.

 

The issue is definitely not 'duplicate content' as the home page and inner page are entirely different.  The problem we have is the inner page is just like a travel brochure for the city, whereas the home page is the one the sells our services and is not state specific - we need people to land on it, not the inner page.

 

Our competitors, some of whom also have pages optimised for the capital cities as we do, all still have their home pages showing in all states. In fact the number one website has his home page and the inner city page 1 and 2 on page one of Google.

 

Has anyone had to deal with something like this before and do you have any suggestions as to what could be the cause of our problem?

 

Thanks ….  Mel

 

 



#2 Alan Perkins

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 09:25 AM

The issue is definitely not 'duplicate content' as the home page and inner page are entirely different. 

 

Check Google's cached copy text only version of each page, and see how similar they really are. Post back here if you don't know how to do this.



#3 MelH

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 06:56 PM

I checked the cashed versions of both pages using ….webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?..etc..etc..  and viewed the text only version.

 

Besides the header logo, menu bar and side column content, the page title, heading and text content are completely different. The city page is like a travel brochure describing the sites and places to go in the city along with photos of different places whereas the home page talks about the services we provide and the reasons why people should use our service.

 

Admittedly the inner page does have the search term in the url where as the home page url does not.

 

The keywords searched for do not have the city name and the city page that is served up in the search results is the capital of each of the 3 states. For the other 5 states the inner pages describing the cities are not shown in the results, instead the home page is – which is what we want for the whole country.



#4 Alan Perkins

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 03:47 AM

Do the keywords you are talking about include the name of the city and/or state?



#5 MelH

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 04:09 AM

No not at all. They are related to the service which we provide, for example "cake decorating' or "home insurance".



#6 Alan Perkins

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 07:45 AM

Have you got Webmaster tools (WMT) installed? Does WMT report a drop in rankings for the same keywords, or is this just something that you are seeing?

 

Have you noticed an actual drop in traffic on these keywords?

 

Assuming the answer to the above questions is "Yes", and given we're talking in such generalities, I would surmise that the keywords in question are gradually being tagged by Google as - at least partially - location dependent. For example, a keyword like "cake decorating" - may be location independent, if you're looking for a blog or video on cake decoration - or location dependent, if you're looking for a local cake decoration service. Same applies to "home insurance".

 
So what's possibly going on is that your pages are starting to lose out to pages from service providers who are actually in the areas that you are talking about. Does that sound like a possibility?


#7 MelH

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 01:42 AM

Yes WMT does show a drop in rankings for our keywords as well as a drop in traffic.

 

We did feel that we were being affected by location however our competitors, who are now ranking above us, provide a national non location specific service just as we do. 

 

We'll keep trying different things, thanks for your interest.



#8 Alan Perkins

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 08:15 AM

OK good luck.

 

Remember - just because your competitors provide a national non location specific service just as you do, doesn't mean

  1. they can't rank; they could still rank better than you, especially when the keyword could trigger a blend of geo and non-geo results or
  2. their pages aren't seen as geographically relevant; they could be, because of local markup or inbound links
Try analysing the competitor's content, markup and links to see if you can discover how they're beating you ...





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