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Can Having The Keyword On The Home Page Title Hurt Rankings?
Planet13




msg:4403472
 9:15 am on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hey there Everyone:

Let's say I am trying to rank for the keyword phrase "blue widgets"

The page I am trying to get to rank for that phrase is my /blue-widgets.html page

My domain name is: landofwidgets.com

Question: Will it help or hurt to have the title on my HOME page start with the keywords that I am trying to rank on my internal page?

Example Home Page Title:

"Blue Widgets and Widgety Items For Your Foo Bars"

Would that make the home page "in competition" with my internal page, which I have the title,

"Blue Widgets and [widget synonym] products and accessories"

I have been hovering around result number 8 - 9 for about six months now. Should I try changing the title of the home page to see if that helps bring me up?

Or will that make my site tank?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

 

tedster




msg:4403705
 7:41 pm on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've definitely seen this kind of thing be a challenge for the internal page's ranking - especially if it is reinforced with internal anchor text on the home page pointing to the internal page.

In one case, I was working with a home page that used the title "[Business name] offers widget books, widget software and widget courses" - and the actual landing page for "widget software" didn't rank well until it accumulated a number of good backlinks. Until then, only the home page ranked.

Planet13




msg:4403716
 7:58 pm on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ tedster:

...especially if it is reinforced with internal anchor text on the home page pointing to the internal page.


Thanks for pointing this out. Yes, our home page has the desired keyword in the title AND in anchor text pointing toward the desired landing page.

This also reminds me of a point you made a year or so ago about how you got a particular page to rank better for a keyword by including that keyword in anchor text linking OUT of that landing page to another internal page. So I think we can assume that OUTBOUND anchor text MIGHT under certain situations have a moderate influence on how a page ranks? (This is going on memory so I hope I am not mistaken in that belief.)

...and the actual landing page for "widget software" didn't rank well until it accumulated a number of good backlinks. Until then, only the home page ranked.


Well, that might be something of the missing link here (pardon the pun).

Now that I think about it, the desired landing page is in "competition" with TWO pages; the home page (as mentioned above), and another page that is more or less titled "Blue Widgets Meanings and Variations"

That later page (Blue Widgets Meanings and Variations) is actually our MOST POPULAR landing page, but the search term that it draws is "Blue Widgets Meanings".

So maybe having two pages in competition is a bit of a problem?

tangor




msg:4403721
 8:10 pm on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

We sometimes think too deep. Is the content on the two pages similar enough that combining that content on one page be of greater benefit? Do that and any competition is eliminated. The more options one offers, the more the user is forced to make a choice. Or a search engine is algorithmically forced to decide which is the "best result".

Planet13




msg:4403752
 9:35 pm on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ tangor

We sometimes think too deep. Is the content on the two pages similar enough that combining that content on one page be of greater benefit?


thanks for asking that. That's a really good question which I have been mulling over for a while.

Certainly the user INTENT seems very different.

The blue-widgets.html (my desired landing page)is an ecommerce page that gets some conversions.

While the blue-widgets-meaning.html page - my most popular landing page - is an article that DOESN'T convert at all. It has a long time-on-page metric, but the bounce metric is pretty high. It also has the highest number of Facebook likes, for what it is worth.

In terms of content, there is some redundancy, so yes, there is enough similarity (in my opinion) that they could be combined somewhat.

In fact, currently there is an ehow informational page on blue widgets that borrows from (and cites) my blue-widgets-meaning.html page that ranks above me for the term "blue widgets"

further, ranking right BELOW my page is a wikipedia page on blue widgets, and we all know that being a wikipedia page it is an informational page, and not an ecommerce page.

So in google's mind (as well as mine), there must be SOME similarity.

I think my fear is whether google is going to turn up the significance of user intent and that google might get mixed signals about the INTENT of the page, which might hurt my rankings.

(To be honest, if I were doing this SOLELY for the users' benefit, I would keep the pages separate. However, I really can't afford to do things SOLELY for the users' benefit. I don't have enough resources to devote to a serious link-building campaign, and because there are so many adwords ads and google products that rank above me, it takes a lot of scorlling of the SERPs for users to find my listing.)

So your further opinions are appreciated.

tangor




msg:4403756
 9:45 pm on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

How many words are we talking about? This goes to the "content" of each page. Secondarily, since this is ecommerce, not strictly informational, where do you want your visitor to land? Third, I have no doubt that a rewrite which embraces both pages will result in a tighter presentation.

Back to the OP query... Keywords in title hurt? Commonsense says no. Two pages with same keywords (and intent) can be confusion for the SE, not the visitor.

I'd lump 'em together (and remember that 301 for the page which gets merged to the final).

Planet13




msg:4403769
 10:25 pm on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks again, Tangor:

How many words are we talking about?


I will have to look at the individual pages and do a word count, but they certainly have stood on their own for a while. Probably around 1,000 to 1,200 words on each page, but combining them would make a single page around 1,500 words total.

Secondarily, since this is ecommerce, not strictly informational, where do you want your visitor to land?


That one's easy; the ecommerce page! :)

Third, I have no doubt that a rewrite which embraces both pages will result in a tighter presentation.


Yes, plus they both have some links in common (both to other internal pages and external sites).

maybe I will need to put an anchor tag near the top of the (combined) ecommerce page that links to section on the meaning?

I'd lump 'em together (and remember that 301 for the page which gets merged to the final).


Thanks for the reminder. Since the informational page doesn't convert, I had been using it as a sort-of Link bait page with an in-content link to the ecommerce page. So I should have at least a moderate amount of link juice that can be 301 redirected to the (combined) ecommerce page.

Now, is there any way to 301 redirect those facebook likes? Meaning, since the ecommerce page has a lot less FB likes than the informational page, I wish there was someway that the FB likes of the informational page could be "added" to the number of likes for the ecommerce page.

tangor




msg:4403786
 11:20 pm on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Last thought, Planet13, 301 from your "big hits page" to the ecommerce page which is updated to be the combined page, don't change any page titles or introduce a new page title! Keep what you already have and redirect the other.

No search engine worth their salt ever FORGETS any URL they have met. What you want to do now is redirect a "retired" page to the page that replaces it... and that page already exists. You don't want to lose anything you've already acquired.

Planet13




msg:4403834
 2:17 am on Jan 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thank you, Tangor. I will do that.

unclebuzz




msg:4404207
 10:18 pm on Jan 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

Its fairly common to have a home page rank for a keyword, because its probably the most frequented page by the search engines, so if they pick up any new content, the could add you to the index for this keyword.
The trick is to link internally to the page you want to rank from the home page,(and other key pages too) then with quality external linkbuilding, the new page will eventually rank...

Hope this helps?

Buzz

Planet13




msg:4404228
 11:38 pm on Jan 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks Buzz.

yes, the home page does link directly to the targeted landing page.

~~~

For what it is worth, late last night I merged the informational "Blue Widgets Meanings" page into the ecommerce "Blue Widgets" page. I did the proper redirects and checked they were both serving the right responses using fetch as googlebot.

In the past, the keywords used to find these pages were quite similar; "blue-widgets.html" ranked #9 for the term "blue widgets, while "blue-widgets-info.html" ranked #1 to #2 for the term "blue widgets meanings" and "the meaning of blue widgets." It also did fairly well for "different blue widgets" or "different kinds of blue widgets"

So hopefully this will help give a boost.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 12:12 am (utc) on Jan 6, 2012]

unclebuzz




msg:4404239
 12:14 am on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Don't forget other ranking factors too, such as domain age, site speed and server errrors (404, 500 etc)

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