So, you rank for a high volume keyword. You rank highly for it, fluctuating between position 3 and 2.
However, the landing page that ranks keeps changing. Why is this?
Let’s delve into it.
This is what’s known as an internal conflict of pages on your site.
It’s a type of cannibalisation issue where you have two or more pages competing for a keyword.
This is very common in ecommerce where you have category pages competing with each other.
So, for example, you may have a category page that targets the term ‘dresses’ and another page that inadvertently is optimised for the very same term.
Because both pages are optimised for the keyword, ‘dresses’, Google often is unsure of the most appropriate of the two to rank for the term.
Now, you may be thinking, well, this means I have two pages that Google can choose from. If other sites only have 1, this means I have more of a probability to rank higher than my competitors.
On behalf of every SEO out there, I appreciate your thinking on this but this is not how search works.
Multiple pages targeting the same term does not give you a higher probability of ranking in the top spot.
It leaves your site undesirable to users.
It makes your SEO a mess.
It confuses Google, and other search engines.
And the result of this thinking is shown in the SERPs where the landing page that ranks for your targeted keyword keeps changing.
This creates an even bigger issue, which will affect your revenue.
The pages that keep conflicting with each other may have two different page templates.
One template may resonate waaaaaay better with users than the other one.
When the page with this ‘other’ template ranks, and users enter your site, they may not follow-thru with what you want them to do when they land on the page.
This leads to no conversion. No conversion, no sale. No sale, no revenue – from this user.
If you have a high volume of users visiting your site via search engines, landing on this page with the template that does not convert…well, I’m sure you see the issue here.
So an internal page conflict is a real problem to deal with, a revenue affecting problem, not just an issue affecting the SEO ‘best practices’ elements of your site.
If you have more than one page that ranks for a keyword that you’re targeting, this is an issue the business should invest to resolve.
As it’s an issue that affects the revenue of your website, it’s a problem that affects more than the SEO department.
And it’s a problem that will require more than SEOs to resolve.
Here’s why I say this…
SEO is still a very new marketing channel. A marketing channel that businesses are unfamiliar with.
SEO is still regarded as a channel that’s all about links, keywords and rankings.
Links, keywords and rankings.
This way of thinking about SEO is outdated.
In this day and age, it’s unhelpful to your organic traffic.
Heck, I’ll even go as far as to say, it’s a threat to your SEO traffic.
The reality of thinking of SEO in this way is that users are left out of the picture, yet alone at the centre of it.
And as I always say, SEO is for users, not search engines.
If you’re thinking of SEO as links, keywords and rankings, your website optimisation will be geared towards search engines, and not users.
This is why one may not consider the landing page that ranks as a website performance factor.
As I’ve explained, it’s a revenue-affecting factor to consider.
When one thinks SEO is all about links, keywords and rankings, what is missing from this thought-process?
What key aspect of SEO – besides having users at the centre of it – is missing when a business thinks SEO is all about links, keywords and rankings?
Landing pages – the virtual place where users visit.
And search engines, actually!
Search engines don’t rank keywords, they rank pages.
I know SEOs use the term rankings in reference to keywords but when we consider rankings, we consider the keywords AND the pages ranking for the keywords.
It’s the pages that matter more.
Keywords matter. But the pages the keywords are targeted on are far more important.
Pages are assets.
When we optimise a website, it’s the pages that we focus on.
Everything we do is to improve pages so users can have the best experience when they visit them, and so search engines can recognise that those specific pages are the best, most appropriate ones for the keywords they respectively target.
When you have an internal page conflict, it’s seen, by Google (and other search engines), as an indication that you’re unsure of the best place for users to end up on when they search with the keyword that the pages are conflicting over.
If you’re unsure of this, Google will be too.
And if they’re consistently unsure of this, why would they not choose another website that is clearer about their keyword targeting?
Rather than focusing so much on rankings, pay attention to your pages.
These are the assets you’ll be want build, to improve, to optimise.
When you focus on pages, you’re able to engage with SEO a lot better.
When you focus on pages, you’re able to have your entire marketing department streamlined.
When you focus on pages, you’re far less likely to have internal conflicts because you’ll have a stronger ownership of your website, where you’ll be able to provide search engines with more direction, as opposed to letting them figure out what to serve to the users you want to acquire via them.