Getting traffic to a site through a vast portfolio of traffic driving, high value keywords is at the top of every search engine marketer’s priority list. That said, what if all that traffic is going to the wrong pages on your site?
While researching laptops this afternoon I decided to take a look at the IBM / Lenovo Thinkpads and compare them to some other machines I’d been looking at from HP.
Using the search term “IBM Thinkpad”, I blindly selected the first organic result:
A click that took me to a page I didn’t expect, until I realised I’d entered the site via the hardware drivers page:
The URL I actually needed was here – the Lenovo Thinkpad homepage, found at position 3 in Google.co.uk’s search results.
That result must be quite a problem for IBM. Of course the “IBM Thinkpad” was rebranded some time ago to the “Lenovo Thinkpad” range, but does that matter? According to this keyword data, the answer is a definite yes:
According to Google search volume data, it seems that there’s a great deal more awareness and search demand for the IBM version of Thinkpad. If the top ranking page is actually a drivers page, with all that search volume, you’d expect to see a higher than usual bounce rate on the landing page than if the correct Thinkpad homepage were ranking higher.
As IBM are running a few subdomains they’re actually owning a lot of the organic space for these queries, which is a great tactic. The problem is that the drivers page appears more authoritative that the Lenovo laptops homepage, with more inbound links from a more diverse range of domains. Also, by comparing the inbound anchor terms you can see a greater number of terms containing IBM, Thinkpad or both pointed at the drivers page, with no mentions of IBM going to the Lenovo Laptops page.
Some other interesting stuff:
While I was writing this post I found a few other things that were quite interesting – clicking one of the laptops on the Lenovo homepage took me to a white page that *looked like this:
*I added the FAIL.
So since at least the 27th July, it’s been pretty difficult to find out much about the laptops even if you do find the right page on their site.
Also, using the Top Pages tool I found evidence of attempted redirect hacks to slightly nasty webpages – perhaps at some point the “links?” query ran a 301 redirect to the URL inserted after the query.
The “blocked by robots.txt” error on the new HTTP status column (thanks for that Nick!) isn’t much of a surprise when you take a look at the robots file at www.ibm.com/robots.txt.
So what can you take away from this? My take aways were:
1) Keep an eye on your highest traffic generating search queries. Monitor the ranking position (on all of your sub-domains) and map where on your site the traffic goes. Is it converting?
2) If you have a problem with a page outranking another for a competitive term, take a hard look at your architecture. Is there anything you can do to promote your weaker page by featuring on your homepage?
3) Check out your on page SEO and Meta. If you’re cannibalising keywords unnecessarily, are there changes you can make to fix the problem?
4) Map your keyword strategy visually – it’s a time consuming task but incredibly enlightening, especially when you’re trying to match searcher intent to the correct landing page.