timwilliams - 11:57 am on Sep 8, 2012 (gmt 0)
how can an affected site clarify the ideal page
Without trying to sound like a smarta**, adwords.
I just ran a report in WMT,
Keyword: "Example Florida"
Avg position: 1.1
Number of different pages shown over last 30 days: 22
Best (ecom converting) page / most often shown page: example.com/florida
why would they do this?
1. Geolocation. A good percentage of the "other" pages being shown are drill down pages based on location, for example: example.com/florida/broward/how-to-use-an-example-in-broward-county.html. So the search was for "example florida", where did the "broward" come from? 1. geolocation based on searcher's ip. 2. personalized search (searcher previously searched for "broward").
2. Do - Know - Go. We know that google is doing a lot with respect to user intention. This search, "example florida" can be Do or Know, (ecom or informational). However, with a short-tail keyword like this I have to imagine it's going to be difficult to determine if the searcher's intentions are Do or Know. (should be no reason for this query to be put in the Go (navigational) bucket and I see no indication that google has ever done so) Most of the "other" pages being shown would fall into the "Know" bucket, informational pages that do not convert very well.
why the choice they are being given seems so unclear to them
I choose a query that returns a page from our site in the 1.1 (avg) position because at this level I don't think the varying pages are an indication of signals on the website, more an indication of variables that google is adding to the searcher's query.