A reader asks what to do when an informational page outranks a product page on the same website. See what an SEO expert has to say.
Today’s Ask an SEO question comes from Nafsika from Hamburg, Germany, who asks:
“I have two pages ranking for the same keyword: a product page and a glossary article.
The glossary article ranks better, but the product page is more important (and therefore should rank higher).
Is there a way to make the product page rank higher without harming the performance of the glossary article?”
Nafsika, this is a great question and a pain point for many SEO professionals. I was asked a similar question by Emmanuel in London, which was: How can I drive more traffic to targeted landing pages? Many of the same principles apply but I will tie them specifically to product pages and informational articles (i.e. glossary articles).
Here are some things I would do.
1. Analyze Top Ranking Pages
If you haven’t done so already, determine which pages are ranking in the top 5 to 10 positions in search results. I would suggest you use an SEO tool to help you with this task. For example, you can use SpyFu, SERanking, Semrush, or Ahrefs (I can keep going with tools…there are a lot that can do this for you) to see what pages are ranking for your target keyword.
Then you are going to determine the following:
When you are looking at the top pages, what seems to be the intent of the page? In other words, is there a “buy” intent or a “know” intent? If the top-ranked pages are information-focused, such as articles or blog posts, then that shows you that the intent the search engine has recognized for that keyword is “know.” You will need to get creative with the product page to outrank your glossary article, which I address later.
You can read more about intent in my other article: How to Go Deeper With Keyword Research: Go-to Tools & Techniques.
Side note: I’m pretty sure I bring up intent in nearly all my articles. Yes, I’m a broken record, but for good reason. The search engines do their best to address the searcher’s intent, and so should we.
We need to make sure that the page the searcher finds satisfies their query.
Word count is a little controversial when it comes to SEO recommendations because there is no one-size-fits all answer as to how many words you should have on the page. Plus, John Mueller told us last year that the number of words in an article is not a quality factor that Google considers. However, I believe word count comes into play when you are looking at the top-ranking pages.
Typically, there is a natural behavior when it comes to the top-ranked pages. If those top pages are content-heavy, that could be a reason why your glossary article is outperforming your product page, assuming the glossary article has a higher word count than your product page.
2. Make Adjustments To Your Content
Now, what do you do with the information from this analysis?
If you find that the intent is “know” or informational and the word count is higher on the top ranked pages than your product page, then you will need to get creative with the content on your product page (since that is the one you said you want to get ranked for the target keyword).
One thing I have done when working on ecommerce sites is to add frequently asked questions to category and product pages. This adds more content in a helpful way and can even improve conversions. Be sure to also mark up your page with structured data.
3. Focus On Links
When I say to focus on links, I am referring to backlinks and internal links.
Let’s start with internal links. When linking to your internal pages, you should be using optimized anchor text, meaning your keywords.
In the case of your product page and glossary article, double-check that you are not using the same keyword as your anchor text when linking to those pages. Also, consider linking your product page from your glossary article (again using optimized anchor text). This is where a keyword map, which assigns keywords to pages, can really come in handy.
Finally, take a look at the backlinks of your glossary article and product page. Backlinks are one of many ranking factors to consider. If you find that your glossary article has stronger backlinks than your product page, that would be an area to improve.
4. Consider Revising Your Keyword List
All the advice I gave is to help you get your product page to rank higher than your glossary article, but that might not be the best move. Instead, you might think about finding new keywords to target and updating your keyword mapping.
Source: Mindy Weinstein, Mar 22, 2022