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Why Is My Website Ranking for Unusual Keywords?

If you’re wondering why seemingly irrelevant keywords are showing up in your site’s Google Search Console report, the industry giant’s John Mueller, its Webmaster Trends Analyst, recently offered an explanation.

It followed a thread on social media platform Reddit posted by someone whose site had clicks via keywords which even the website owner couldn’t then use themselves to find their site, even after trawling through a whopping 10 pages of search results.

So it’s perhaps understandable that they were left scratching their head and wondering why the same keywords didn’t throw up their website when they tried searching themselves.

 Google explains

Google says that if a site is ranking for random search terms, via results that are not readily replicated, it’s probably down to local targeting and/or personalisation.

Mueller explained:

“Usually that’s personalisation and local targeting. Often, you can guess if the queries are expected to have a large number of impressions and if your site is listed as being in the higher positions, but it just gets very few impressions. You also see this when you drill in by date and see that it’s just getting very few impressions sporadically (rather than regularly).”

He adds that the same thing could also be happening due to images. For example, your images could be being pulled into the boxes displaying at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), or in the knowledge panels to the side.

If an image appears in either of these areas, Google’s Search Console logs it as an impression. Equally, if a random keyword generates a high volume of impressions, plus a strong ranking position, but not many clicks, then those images are the most probable reason why the site is ranking for odd keywords.

Mueller’s final words of advice were to analyse the data in a different way using Search Console, in a bid to discover the origins of the impressions. The first step is to determine the country of origin and then tweak Google’s advanced search settings to display the results from that nation. This should give you a better idea of what searchers are able to see.

As he explains:

“Be sure to drill down in the report to the right country version and use the appropriate advanced search setting for that country, so that you’re as close to what users see as you can be.”

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At Front Page Advantage, the award-winning agency, we share your goals and want you to succeed when it comes to your SEO and PPC efforts. Get in touch if your website appears to be ranking for unusual keywords and we’ll be glad to advise.

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