Have you clicked on a website only to find irrelevant content? Here are the reasons why…
Have you ever clicked on a link only to find that the content is nothing to do with your search? It can be highly frustrating to sift through irrelevant content when you are searching for something specific. These search results may even have you wondering how they managed to show up in the first place. The main reasons why irrelevant copy appears are listed below. Don’t worry. I’ll try to stay on topic.
Broad Match Keyword Strategy
Companies use broad match keyword strategies to increase their website’s visibility in search results. Broad match keywords allow a company to target the most generic terms people use in search engines. More generic search terms have a higher search volume and therefore show up in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) more often. However, one downfall of this strategy is that results are sometimes irrelevant or tenuously linked to the initial search leading to frustration for the user.
As this article from Search Engine Guide explains, generic search results from paid ads leaves the user unsatisfied. It’s not hard to see why. If an ad appears at the top of the screen, it is logical that the content it provides should be the most relevant to the search query.
Broad Match In Practice
The example given below demonstrates the problem a user searching for ‘Studded Football Boots for Children’ may face.
User search: Studded Football Boots for Children
Company page title: Football Scarf
Using a broad match strategy means that a company selling supporters’ football scarves would target ‘Football’ as their chosen keyword. A user searching for ‘Studded Football Boots for Children’ is expecting to find search results closely matching their needs; the search result for the football scarves is irrelevant in this case. However, because the company has targeted ‘Football’ with a broad match strategy, they are included in the search results. How frustrating!
Bidding for relevant keywords is a crucial part of any digital marketing campaign. A company may choose to bid for popular keywords that have nothing to do with their business in an attempt to increase the number of searches that they appear in. However, such tactics are frowned upon by Google and can have a negative impact on a website’s ranking in the long run.
Linking to an irrelevant page on a website is also likely to increase the bounce rate which will have a negative impact on the site’s quality score. The bounce rate of a page indicates how many users found the information relevant and useful to their search; a higher bounce rate equals less satisfied users!
Another bad practice which results in user frustration is cloaking. Cloaking is the practice of showing users and search engines different content for the same page. This practice is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines because it often results in poor user experience. Website designers may use cloaking, a black hat SEO technique, in an attempt to increase page views. However, in reality this technique is often used to disguise low quality or irrelevant content which may even be offensive to the viewer. Whilst cloaking may initially result in more traffic to the results page, Google penalises websites which use such techniques.
Combating the problem: Google Quality Score
Google’s Quality Score punishes any account where the user has employed Black Hat SEO techniques to improve their website’s visibility. Google Quality score measures the relevance of the landing page that users land on from a link; if the content is off topic, this has a negative impact on the quality score. Keyword relevance is one of the major factor when Google determines a site’s Quality Score; sites with irrelevant or poorly targeted keywords will have a lower quality score than a fully optimised site. Conversely, Google rewards companies who use well targeted and fully thought out keywords, by reducing the cost per ad click over time.
Tips to find the content you really want…
There is no foolproof way to avoid websites who employ Black Hat SEO tactics to force their irrelevant content onto your screen. However, here are a few handy tips which may help keep your frustration to a minimum:
- Use specific queries: Using more specific search terms reduces your chances of landing on a page with generic or unrelated content.
- Check a website’s domain authority: There are a multitude of tools you can use to check whether a website has domain authority such as this one from SEO Review Tools. A high domain authority probably means that a website won’t spam you with irrelevant content. Probably.
- Check for high page authority: A high page authority means that the page you are about to open was a good fit for users who landed there before you.
- Check whether a website’s purpose and content match: If a website about coffee beans is pushing a page about hair styles at you, it’s probably not genuine!
- Go with your gut: If a website or link seems like spam, it probably is. Don’t follow links you don’t trust.
- If all else fails, read this blog. We will never use Black Hat SEO techniques in our content. We promise!
I’m sure you will agree that landing on a page with irrelevant content is really irritating. By contrast, good quality content makes you want to revisit the site for more great content in the future. Follow our tips to ensure that your experiences of irrelevant content are kept to a minimum!
The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of CodifyMedia.
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