Anyone who’s reasonably experienced with the Google search engine knows that they don’t always get things right. Some ranking results have had a questionable amount of relevance. It does make one wonder why Google associates some websites with a specific phrase.

Of course, there are many reasons why this might happen. Some of these things aren’t within our control. Nonetheless, there are methods of ensuring that the right page does come up with the right search.

Keep reading for a full guide on how this happens and what you can do about it.

Relevance of Relevance Signals

page match the keyword search - imageRelevance signals are what Google uses to determine the content of a website. In other words, the sort of things they use to categorize a website on the Internet. These are the primary ones:

  • Written content

  • Backlinks

  • Internal links

  • Navigation

Written content is by far the biggest influencer. What people have to remember is that it’s rare for Google to get it wrong, but when they do rank you for keywords you didn’t optimize, this can become a problem.

There’s a lot of confusion over page ranking. Sometimes you can have a site with no external links ranking higher than a site with lots of links coming to it.

Most of the time, these crossed wires happen by mistake. You’ll find a specific page seemingly ranking for a random keyword for no apparent reason. If you want your site associated with more accurate searches, you have to look at the details.

Where on a Site?

The way your site is built is important. A page’s distance from a homepage is an indicator of importance, in the same way as header tags are.

The easiest way to look at it is to imagine your site is a company. Your homepage is the most important; therefore, that’s the leader of the company. As you get further away, you start to slide down the rankings.

The less relevant ranks can have as much keyword optimization as you want, but if it’s a few clicks away from the homepage, the accuracy decreases.

It’s all about how Google perceives value. They see pages closest to the homepage as more valuable, naturally. The more visible the page, and the faster it is to get to, the better, at least in the eyes of Google.

Try moving an obscure page around your site’s layout and see if it has an impact.

User Experience and SEO

The user experience has long acted as a major SEO influencer. Bounce rates and ‘time on site’ stats are always used by Google to determine how enticing the user experience is. More relevant/valuable sites generally keep visitors for longer.

The way to improve your stats is to improve the user experience. Here are some of the easiest ways to enhance what your readers get:

  • Make the landing page do exactly what it says. No false promises.
  • Allow users to easily find new content, without having to go through complicated refining procedures.
  • Invest in responsive web design so your site works smoothly on all platforms.

For some quick feedback, get the opinions of real customers. They’re sure to tell you whether something could be improved.

The Right Landing Page

Whilst every page on a website can act as a landing page at some point, it’s not practical to force every piece of content to act as a landing page, nor can you target every possible search parameter.

Instead, make a list of your top three or five pages. Optimize these for different keywords. Make sure that the pages in question match the keyword phrases permanently. They must give visitors what they were searching for.
In other words, each page should have a unique purpose. If a page replicates information from anywhere else on your website, it’s not the right page. Change it.

Acting Immediately

Google gets it right most of the time. You rank well for your desired keyword phrases and your desired pages come up. That’s good. You shouldn’t panic if they’re ranking for something entirely different, at least not in the short-term.

Google scans the search results on a regular basis. It’s quite common for websites to temporarily rank for random keywords, only for Google to amend its decision within a few days. This is all without any input from the website’s owner.

There’s little point in spending the time changing around your website based on a reaction to one incorrect search result. Google are the masters of taking these errors and rectifying them of their own accord. Sometimes they’re simply performing an algorithm update, and something there accidentally moved out of place.

Believe it or not, this is becoming a less common problem as Google improves.

As long as you have useful and relevant content that meets a visitor’s expectations, you don’t have to worry about anything to do with Google.