A Guide To Wrong Page Ranking: Deoptimisation (Part 2)
Updated on: 20 January 2023
It’s a wide-known fact to every SEO service provider – wrong page ranking can be a frustrating issue for website owners and marketers – be it poor user experience or lower conversion rates. While this is made certain – what’s the next step to tackle this issue?
Before we dive into that, here’s a quick recap of what we shared in the first part of this 3-part series – various factors of wrong page ranking.
We compiled a list of common tell-tale signs of wrong page rankings – such as when an outdated article ranks higher than a newly generated one with more detailed and updated information or when a current, updated article is not ranked at all. Some of the common causes include improper optimisation of internal anchor text, content relevancy, and unintentional spider blocks.
So, now that you are aware of the reasons – the next move is to get to the bottom of this matter; which is what we’ll be sharing in the second part of this series. Read on as we explore the steps to deoptimise a page and regain control of your website’s ranking.
What is deoptimisation?
Deoptimisation can be achieved through a variety of techniques, such as adjusting on-page elements, removing internal links, or using the noindex meta tag. The goal of deoptimisation is to improve the overall user experience and increase the visibility and ranking of more relevant and high-performing pages on a website. By deoptimising a page, website owners and marketers can regain control of their website’s ranking and drive more targeted traffic to their site.
However, it is vital to note that when conducting deoptimisation of the wrong page, you are essentially at risk of losing SEO rankings as well as the generated traffic and lead generation. While that is so – the key is not generating as much traffic, but generating quality traffic that will lead to conversion.
And that brings us to the next section – the steps to deoptimisation.
How to deoptimise the wrong page?
Step #1: Select the desired ranking page
Before you actually start deoptimising the wrong page, you need to make a decision on which page you want to rank correctly for the targeted keyword. Choosing the right page to focus on for your desired ranking is a crucial element in your SEO strategy. The page you choose to optimise will depend on your business goals and targeted keyword.
When choosing a page to focus on, consider the following factors:
- Relevance: The page should be relevant to the keywords you want to rank for.
- Content: The page should have high-quality, unique, and informative content. The more in-depth and informative the content, the better it will perform in SERP.
- User experience: The page should be easy to navigate and include key elements, such as fast load times, clear page structure, and a responsive design.
- Backlinks: The page should have a strong backlink profile with a mix of high-quality and relevant backlinks.
Once you have identified the desired ranking page, you can begin to work on taking further steps to boost its ranking – more of this will be discussed in the third part of this series.
Step #2: Allocating keywords to pages
In order to ensure that your page stands out and captures the attention of potential readers, it’s important to make the content as compelling and exciting as possible. To achieve this, you should aim to fully cover a topic in a way that is informative, engaging, and relevant to your target audience.
One way to determine what information to include on your page is to analyse the pages that are currently ranking well for the keywords you are targeting. You can also take inspiration from your competitors by studying the keywords they are using and the types of content that resonate with their audience.
To research related keywords and stay on top of industry trends, you can utilize tools such as the Organic Research report in Semrush, which can provide you with valuable insights into the keywords your competitors are ranking for and the types of content that are performing well.
When incorporating keywords into your content, it’s important to use them naturally and in the appropriate places. This includes using them in the title tag, URL, and throughout the article in a way that makes sense. Additionally, make sure to make your content compelling and engaging to readers by using strong headlines, interesting facts and statistics, and by incorporating images and videos.
Step #3: Assess ranking content vs. the desired content
To improve your page’s ranking, evaluate it against the top pages for your target keywords.
Analyse the elements your competitors include, such as high-quality images or videos, customer testimonials, and detailed product specifications. Incorporate similar elements to make your page just as useful and competitive.
Remember, your primary focus should be on providing value to your users – but it doesn’t mean you should forget your customers’ or users’ needs while you’re at it.
So, what other action can you take to create even more useful content?
- Gather insights from your marketing and sales team to understand what users find valuable
- Research common questions asked by customers and provide answers on your page
- Investigate reasons for refunds or returns and use this information to proactively address potential issues on your page, helping users make more informed decisions and manage expectations.
Step #4: Remove keywords from the deoptimised page
Once you have improved the correct page’s ranking, you will have to downgrade the wrong page ranking for the keyword.
Removing keywords from a deoptimised page can be an effective way to remove its SERP presence. This process is also known as “keyword pruning”. Here are some steps to help you remove keywords from the deoptimised page:
- Identify the keywords: Use a keyword research tool to identify the keywords that are currently used on the page and the ones not performing well.
- Analyse the content: Review the page’s content and see which keywords are being used in an excessive or irrelevant manner.
- Remove the keywords: Remove or replace the excessive or irrelevant keywords from the page’s content, meta tags, and image tags so that your desired page can rank well for the targeted keyword.
- Optimise the remaining keywords: At the end of the day, you do not want to remove every keyword, more so if they are contextually valuable. Hence, make sure the remaining keywords are used in a relevant and natural manner throughout the content.
- Monitor the deoptimised page’s performance: Use an SEO tool to track the page’s performance and monitor the changes in SERP ranking.
It is also vital to keep in mind that removing keywords from the deoptimised page is not the only solution. It is equally as vital to analyse other factors, such as backlinks, meta tags, and page load speed.
Step #5: Improve the internal linking structure
One way to improve the ranking of a specific page is to review and reorganise the internal links on your website.
By examining the links that point to both the current ranking page and the page you want to improve, you can optimise your internal linking structure for better search engine visibility.
- Include links to the desired page using relevant keywords as the anchor text, in a natural way.
- Link the current ranking page to the desired page using the targeted keyword, and use exact match anchor text if possible.
- Replace links to the current ranking page with links to the desired page, as long as the context remains relevant.
Utilising tools like Screaming Frog or Google Search Console (GSC) can help you to audit your internal linking structure. But if you’re looking for a free tool – GSC is the way to go.
Simply go to ‘Links’ under GSC, and you’ll come across the links report with an overview of all your website’s links – which include internal, external, and top-linked web pages and anchor texts. Select the pages you want to view links to, and you will be to see a list of pages that link to your page.
In order to improve the ranking of a specific page, you can use your content architecture to build links to that page.
Next up – build your content architecture by creating links to your desired ranking page.
For instance, the “People Also Ask” feature is useful when trying to rank a category page, such as for the search term “outdoor camping gear.” You can find related queries such as “best camping tents” or “camping equipment checklist” and create content that aligns with these topics. You can then link this content to the category page, building authority on the subject and pointing links to the collection that you most want to rank.
Step #6: Submit your pages to Google Search Console
Submit your edited pages to GSC after finishing all the above steps, and wait for Google to work its magic. The process may take several weeks or longer before the updates are reflected.
Bonus ‘Step’: Use a 301 Redirect if all else fails
If the above-mentioned steps do not fix the wrong page ranking issue, then using a 301 redirect might be the only way to go. Used only as a last resort, 301 redirect is a method of redirecting a website visitor from one URL to another. It is a permanent redirect, which tells search engines that a page has been moved permanently to a new location and that the original page should no longer be indexed by the search engine.
Here are the steps to implement a 301 redirect:
- Identify the page to redirect: Choose the page that you want to redirect and make a note of the URL.
- Choose the destination page: Decide where you want to redirect the visitors of the original page to.
- Add the redirect code: Add a 301 redirect code to your website’s .htaccess file (if you are using Apache as a web server) or to your web.config file (if you are using IIS as a web server). The code should include the original URL and the new URL.
- Test the redirect: Check that the redirect works properly by visiting the original URL in your browser. You should automatically be redirected to the right page.
- Update the links: Update any internal or external links that point to the original URL so that they point to the right page.
301 redirects are useful in maintaining the link juice and the traffic which the old page was getting and “transferring” that to the desired page. It is, however, crucial to keep in mind that too many redirects can cause issues, so it is best to use them judiciously.
In conclusion, a wrong page ranking deoptimisation should be conducted when the page you are targeting for a keyword is not ranking as well as another page. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including changes in the search algorithm, loss of backlinks, or issues with the content structure. To address a wrong page ranking deoptimisation, it is crucial first to identify the cause of the issue and then take the necessary steps to address it. Overall, it can be a complex process that requires constant monitoring and adjustments to bring the right page to light.
Stay tuned for the final part in this 3-part series as we show you how you can further boost the target page ranking. Till then, ensure that you keep up-to-date with the latest Google practices.