Editor’s note: “Ask an SEO” is a weekly column by technical SEO expert Jenny Halasz. Come up with your hardest SEO question and fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post!
Welcome to another edition of Ask an SEO! Today, we’ve got a question from Darcy in San Francisco:
I have a site that gets a ton of traffic on pages that aren’t central to our core business and do not lead to conversions that are useful for us. Are they still positively affecting our rankings for the other pages (raising overall site ranking/authority) or skewing our results and making our other pages appear lower as they are ranked as less important in the overall site design? I’m wondering if I should drop the high performing pages as they are less relevant, although they do link to the other pages of interest but they are rarely clicked on. I can’t find this answer anywhere. Thanks so much!
This is super common.
I have a client right now that is dealing with this. They specialize in cleaning out estate homes after the owner has passed away.
This client gets a ton of traffic for “What to Wear to a Wake”. (For those who aren’t sure what a wake is, it’s a sort of visitation or party for friends when a loved one dies. Similar to a funeral, but without a church service. Often a funeral is held separately for family only.)
Since you didn’t give me an example from your own site, I’m going to use this one, and hopefully it will apply to your situation.
Related Traffic Can Lead to Qualified Leads Later
Although my client doesn’t schedule or organize wakes, a wake is one of a series of events that a deceased person’s family members need to organize.
By showing up for a search like this, the client can offer the visitor other information about what to do after a loved one’s death.
While it is indirectly related to cleaning out the loved one’s home at all (which usually comes several weeks later), the visitor has the opportunity to download a checklist and other resources that they can keep with them until that time comes.
The checklist helps them through every stage of the process and isn’t a sales piece at all.
It is our hope that if they need help cleaning out the house, they will give the client a call since the checklist was so helpful.
We have no way to track this and have no idea how many people who use our checklists actually sign up for services. But by providing a useful tool, we create that opportunity.
Links Are Important, Too
Although we don’t know how much of that “wake” traffic leads to sales, it does produce links.
By creating and offering something of great value (for the cost of an email address), we create a resource that others are likely to link to.
And they have.
That one page has obtained completely natural links from several news organizations, funeral homes, senior care centers, and senior publications.
While these links aren’t directly to our most important content (the pages that describe what the clean out process involves), they definitely help our credibility in search for other keywords.
The Bottom Line
Having pages that get a lot of traffic but which have a high bounce rate or don’t convert can be really frustrating.
My best advice is to keep testing.
Keep trying different things.
Can some related articles get people looking at more than just that one page?
Can you capture an email with a free resource download?
Can you siphon that traffic off to an affiliate opportunity where you can at least make some secondary revenue from it?
Try to make that traffic work for you.
Dig through Google Analytics to try and get information on user behavior.
Try a focus group or a survey to get information.
Install HotJar or a similar tracking software to see what elements people interact with most.
Above All, Don’t Worry
I’ve never heard of a situation where Google or any other search engine devalued other pages because one page was outperforming the others. It doesn’t objectively make sense that they would do that.
If you have one page of valuable content, it’s likely that you have more.
If the page is a pain in your reports, do what another client of mine did, and create a custom segment in Google Analytics that removes that traffic before reporting on the rest of your site.
Above all, look at it as a benefit rather than a detriment.
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Featured Image: Image by Paulo Bobita