What To Do When The Wrong Page Is Ranking For The Keywords You Care About
You want to make sure that when searchers are performing a query that is relevant to your site they are going to find the correct page on your site. This may sound obvious, but most sites experience this problem – having the incorrect page come up for a certain query/keyword search. This could be problematic for a few different reasons. First off, when guests arrive at the incorrect page they more than likely leave right away. This is going to cause your bounce rate to go up, which in turn is going to hurt your ranking through Google. Another thing that could also happen, which is the most detrimental, is that your conversion rate could go down… costing your lost reservations – sad face.
Here’s an example. Google “Maui Vacation Rentals.” One page 2 of the results there are two listings for Maui Hawaii Vacations:
Subject to change – we are not Google : )
I’m assuming they are more interested in having their home page come up when searchers look for “Maui Vacation Rentals,” so why is another page coming up?
In the guide below I will talk about the different reasons why this could happen and how to fix the problem.
Step 1: Diagnose The Problem You’re Having
There are a few different reasons something like this could be happening to your website.
The first reason is that a relevant page doesn’t even exist on the website that is correct for the keyword, so instead another page has been indexed by Google. Start with creating a page that is correct for the keyword. This is why it is super important to do detailed keyword research and match keywords to existing pages or create a content project if one doesn’t exist.
Second, it might be possible that the relevant page, or page you want to be showing up, is having indexing issues caused by content or internal linking. If Google is having trouble crawling the relevant page it could mean that your page is being blocked. Your content could also be the root problem –maybe the page doesn’t have enough content, or content that Google feels isn’t relevant or worthy of crawling. It could also be a problem that the relevant page doesn’t have enough internal, or external links pointing to it, which in turn tells Google that the page is not important enough for other pages to link to it. Its it super important to create good menu hierarchy to ensure your important pages are getting positioned.
Thirdly, the ability for your desired page to rank could be being overwhelmed by another page. We call this problem keyword cannibalism – the means that another page is to closely related in topic and causing Google to be confused on which page to position.
Step 2: Create The Relevant Page to The Keyword or Improve the Existing Page
Once you have diagnosed what the SEO problem is, either start with creating the page, or improving the already existing page that you would like to be positioned. Content is always king, so go through and double check that your keywords are all related to what is on the page. You want to ensure that your content is unique and provides value to potential users (guests). Think of content as Google robot food, at the end of the day Google is a machine, it cannot tell what is on the page unless you give it content – well not yet at least (scary).
Check and see what pages on your site are linking to this page and to other pages, but most importantly make sure that the right links are pointing to this page internally. Internal link flow is mega important and its always-best practice to map your sites internal link hierarchy.
Monitor the user experience, meaning take a look at the time-on-page and bounce. Do the other pages outranking this page have better engagement or search experience when looking for rentals? Google Analytics is your best friend for this and your developers can make this happen once you find out.
Go through and check your external links and find out if they are linking to the other page. Sometimes you might find an authoritative site is linking to the incorrect page, its rare but this does happen.
Step 3: Last Resort to Fix This Issue
If all of the above steps haven’t helped and you still are having indexing issues for certain queries, try a 301 redirect. BUT make sure you have given it enough time for Google to recrawl the above modifications – PLEASE.
You want to 301 redirect the page that is ranking incorrectly (X) to the page that you do want ranking (Y). Before you do this analize the content and perhaps consider moving some of the (X) content to (Y). What the 301 does is tells search engines that the page has officially moved and will pass most of the authority over.
Even if you are confident in your site and the SEO you have done thus far, make sure you at least go through and perform a few manual searches, especially the most important ones. Some simple searches can potentially save you big money and help reservations. I recommend doing this quarterly or at the very least a few months prior to your primary season.
Track: Bookings – Inquiries – Form Fills – Calls – Chats!
Do you know how much money you are making through your Paid Search/SEO campaigns? Can you tell how many bookings, property inquiries, contact form leads,phone calls and chats are coming in by origin? Well if you can’t do either of these and you are marketing your management company online in any way, you could be shooting yourself in the foot. Sometimes tracking keywords and general traffic isn’t enough. You may even have the right traffic, but for some reason your site isn’t converting – these are all potential issues that can be evaluated using the tracking methods below.
Start Tracking (Ecommerce)!
As a vacation rental manager you want to know what city your guests are coming from. With this crucial data you can find ways to better improve areas where you might be losing guests, and brainstorm ideas to break into new markets. Your reports in Google Analytics can also be viewed in an ecommerce version. This allows you to see how you’re making money and where you’re bookings are coming from. Ecommerce tracking is single-handedly the most important thing you could set up in Google Analytics. To ensure you have this set up:
1)Pull up your Google Analytics standard reports
2)Go to the “Admin” button located in the top right
3)Go to your “Profile Settings”
4)Click on “Ecommerce Settings” and change the drop down to “Yes, an Ecommerce Site”
5)”Submit” with the button at the bottom
This is when things start to get a little difficult. You have to connect the ecommerce part of your site to Google Analytics so it knows what properties were booked, how much you’re selling them for, etc. Unless you have experience coding/web developing I would recommend hiring a friendly coder who would be up to the task – this would be very easy for them and much less of a headache for you.
What’s the easiest way to set up ecommerce tracking?
The easiest way to set up ecommerce tracking is to ensure that your site is using a compatible vacation rental software. For example, StreamlineVRS will automatically import ecommerce data to Google Analytics once it is connected with your site. It’s as easy as:
1)Give Streamline VRS your Google Analytics property
2)Turn ecommerce on in Google Analytics
This is a lot easier than doing it yourself, or hiring someone to do it, so make sure when you are shopping around for vacation rental software, they include the feature of being easily integrated with Google Analytics. This is especially important if you plan on doing online marketing for your properties.
Set Your Goals
Goals is how Google Analytics tracks conversions, it’s debatably the most important data you want to keep track of. Not to mention conversions are what keeps the fire going! You want to narrow down what it is you should be tracking, so start with the most important elements: Reservations, Property Inquiries and General Contact Form Fills. To do this:
1)Go to Google Analytics standard reports
2)Click on “admin” button
3)Click on “goals”
4)In one of the Goal sets, click “+Goal”
There are 2 different kinds of Goals you can track, so you want to make sure you specify which Goal you want Analytics to track. You can have Google Analytics track a:
-URL Destination: whenever people visit a specific URL it tracks a goal
-Event: this is most commonly used for live chats – an event will need to be clearly defined by adding a specific code to your site. This code will allow you to set it as a goal once Google has started tracking the site.
Advertising On AdWords?
If yes, you need connect it to your Google Analytics account, so you can take advantage of the data you are paying for. If you don’t connect AdWords to Google Analytics it could mean that your paid search results are getting tracked as organic search results. To set everything up correctly you need to:
A)Turn On Auto-Tagging in Google AdWords
By doing this you will be able to start telling Google Analytics which visits to your links are coming from Adwords. -Go to your AdWords account
-Go to “My Account” then “Preferences”-Ensure that Auto-tagging is checked yes
– if it is not click “edit” and make sure “Destination URL Auto-tagging” is checked
B)The Joining of Two Worlds (Google Adwords & Google Analytics)
This will ensure that all of the great data you are getting through AdWords is getting imported to Google Analytics. To make this possible:
-Go to AdWords
-Go to “Tools” and “Analysis” then click on “Google Analytics” When you are brought to a screen that asks you if you want to create a Google Analytics account, or use an existing one, select the option “already-have-one”, click the account you want to connect. Now you’re good to go. You can check on your AdWords settings in Google Analytics by following these basic steps:
1)Go to Google Analytics and select “New version”
2)Select “Admin” (top right)
3)Select your account
4)Select “Data sources” from the list of tabs at the top
Don’t Forget About The Site Search
It is important to figure out why people are leaving your site, and what they might think is missing from it. You can easily find out that information by connecting your Google Analytics account to your internal site search. This will give you a list of all the keywords people have searched for on your site, and which keywords brought potential guests to something that wasn’t there. You can set up site search by:
-Go to Google Analytics standard reports
-Go to “View Settings”
-Scroll to the bottom and look for “site search settings”
-Fill out required fields and save
The next step is finding out how your site is identifying internal search terms. A query parameter identifies internal search terms, so you need to ensure that Google Analytics looks for the same query parameter every time and is able to identify them as internal search terms.
Start A Campaign
The most important thing for you to measure is the RIO of your current marketing campaigns. You need to ensure that the money you are spending on marketing is actually working and bringing you more conversions/bookings. Any URLs that you can edit can be tracked by Google Analytics (emails, Facebook, banner adds, etc.) If you don’t have any campaigns set up you can start doing that through Google’s URL builder tool. You can keep track of your link in campaign reports by entering your domain and some basic info about the link: -Source: Which domain is the link coming from? What email list? -Medium: Utilize PPC, banner ads, email, affiliate, etc. -Content: Separate different versions of the same ad by using this -Name: Your campaign links will be grouped by name (this is how Google does it). This is how you can distinguish groups of ads in your reports. Make sure you can know what the link is without having to look at more info.
Tracking Part 2 (Calls)
The easiest way to track calls is by using CallRail. Depending on visitor origin CallRail will automatically change the phone number on your website, which then allows for tracking by lead origin and call recording to take place. You can use these reports and compare them with reservation history in hopes of increasing potential bookings. Bada Bing Bada Boom!
Now You Have Data – Make Your Improvements to Your Advantage!
Data is crucial for Google, and you want to make sure to track all of the data you are acquiring through your site. If you follow all of the steps listed above you will be able to better track your data and use it to your advantage.