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How Long, Google?


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5 replies to this topic

#1 MeredithC

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Posted 22 December 2014 - 12:15 PM

Hey there,

 

As a maturing SEO analyst, I'm so glad I found this forum! I'll try to keep my dilemma clear and concise with the hopes that someone can help me. 

 

We created multiple pages on a business's website, all with different names targeting certain towns in our state. These pages ranked quite well (first page in the top 5 results on Google). However, because the towns are smaller and relatively obscure and searches are infrequent for them, traffic is not coming to the business's website and there are no conversions. We realized we needed to optimize the site to target a larger area where there is more competition and more search queries so they can stay in business. 

 

Bottom line is, I decided to ditch the pages targeting all of those little locations and just focus on optimizing the site for the one big location we need. This should, in turn, give more credibility to our site for that one area rather than trying to go in so many different directions. 

 

The pages all now return 404 errors (which is a good thing) but...

 

Strangely enough, though I have, we are still ranking our homepage for those smaller areas, though the actual URLs of the old pages that were ranked well are gone from results and from our website (a good thing). On one of the slightly more significant areas, our homepage is ranking like #8 on page one, despite the fact that we now make absolutely no reference to that location on the site whatsoever. (I even searched the whole site for the name of that location just to make sure). On just about every search for the smaller locations, the home page is popping up in the Google Places results on the first page, though the content of our website never even mentions these places. 

 

Now, I really only want to rank this website well for queries just to this one big target location, as the business will only garner work in that manner. I believe that turning up in all of these different obscure places is detrimental to trying to achieve 1st page ranking for the big location. Currently we are on page 3 for searches, which is not acceptable.  

 

Suspecting that Google Webmaster Tools might reveal some key information, I looked there under our "Content Keywords" section. Interestingly enough, it is placing old keywords (like the names of the no longer relevant smaller locations) in the list. This tells me that Google has not updated its information. It is just now beginning to notify us of those pages having 404 errors in the "Crawl Errors" section. 

 

My question comes down to this: how long will it take Google to stop placing our site in results that are no longer relevant, and channel all of our "power" into pushing us onto the 1st page for the biggest location?  I have been waiting now for about 3 weeks and we are getting antsy as this business needs the work it could garner from being found on the first page of our desired search. Am I missing something?

 

Thank you for any advice you have to offer!

 

- Meredith


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#2 Jill

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Posted 22 December 2014 - 03:41 PM

I believe that turning up in all of these different obscure places isdetrimental to trying to achieve 1st page ranking for the big location. 

 

 

What gives you that idea?



#3 MeredithC

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Posted 22 December 2014 - 04:01 PM

Thank you for your quick reply.

 

In answer to your question: the fact that we have been stuck on page 3 for the big location when we have been gearing everything towards getting that 1st page ranking, and as far as I can tell everything is perfect... no spammy techniques, no black hat SEO tricks, lots of content on the home page. I just can't understand why we aren't competing with those on the first page after beating my head over this problem for so long, trying to perfect everything to the finest detail. Maybe I'm missing something.

 

The idea of course that ranking high in irrelevant areas is detrimental may be an incorrect supposition. I have only been learning the ropes of SEO for the past 6 months, which is why I am on this forum in the first place ;) 

 

I guess when Google Webmaster Tools says that our #4 keyword is a location we are not even trying to pursue any more, I get concerned. Surely that would affect ranking for the other term, would be my reasoning? 



#4 Jill

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Posted 22 December 2014 - 09:01 PM

The idea of course that ranking high in irrelevant areas is detrimental may be an incorrect supposition.

 

 

As far as I know, it is exactly that. Any website can show up in the search results for any number of relevant keyword search queries. There's no "you can't show up for this because you already show up for that" principle. :)



#5 MeredithC

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 11:23 AM

Hope you are well today. I appreciate your response. =)

 

There's no "you can't show up for this because you already show up for that" principle.  :)

 

But wouldn't the overall rank be pulled down for the big important search term as Google sees you trying to basically send conflicting messages? When Google itself finds that some content keywords appear higher up on the list, would it not then prioritize accordingly, giving the higher keywords more weight and the lower ones further down less weight? Because that seems to be the very thing I am witnessing...

 

In the field this website is targeting, the competition is extremely intense. We are up against only the top SEOs in the state; possibly even in the country.  Only the homepage will rank in this field; no other pages within the site will turn up (the same is true of the competition). But having other pages in the site seems to lend a sort of "power boost" to the homepage, when they include relevant terms. According to my observations, this cannot be said of the site's blog posts, which Google does not use locality as a means of determining rank. Having pages that are specifically formulated to target irrelevant locations would then, if my theory is correct, tell Google, "Hey, we aren't trying just to target this one big location like everyone else who is competing against us. We'll spread ourselves thin trying to get these little worthless ones." 

 

If we had no other rankings for any other query other than this big important one, the mission would be accomplished for the site and it would start getting work. That is why I even care about telling Google to ditch the irrelevant small queries. Even if my theory is totally amiss (and it very well might be), is it not worthwhile to subject it to such a test if it proves true? But unfortunately I cannot even seem to get as far as that, seeing as Google is still remembering our old placement in those locations.  :fool:

 

Your response is greatly valued! Thank you.



#6 Jill

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 01:14 PM

But wouldn't the overall rank be pulled down for the big important search term as Google sees you trying to basically send conflicting messages? When Google itself finds that some content keywords appear higher up on the list, would it not then prioritize accordingly, giving the higher keywords more weight and the lower ones further down less weight? Because that seems to be the very thing I am witnessing...

 

 

Absolutely not.

 

What you're witnessing is that it was easy to rank for keywords that had no competition (because no one was using them in searches, no other sites were bothering to optimize for them). 

 

Now that you're hoping to show up in the more general area (where more people are using in searches), you're up against more competition. 

 

That's it. 

 

The more competition, the more important your website and it's content needs to be in order to show up.

 

What makes your site and what it offers better than the 100's or 1000's of others in the same space?

 

That's what you need to get across on your website. Simply putting some words on the page that you hope to show up for isn't going to cut it anymore, nor has it cut it for many, many years.

 

Figure out your unique selling proposition. Then get the word out about it where your target audience lives and hangs out. Get noticed by others and eventually Google will also start to notice. 






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