What Are “Doorway Pages” and Should You Use Them?

Doorway pages used to be a popular SEO tactic, but is it still the same now?

Video transcript:

Tim: So, my question is… I’ll give the backstory on this. This is a client that came to me with an existing website. The original setup of his website was no upfront cost. It was just a monthly fee ongoing and kind of never-ending. And it was upwards of, I think, because he was never really a hundred percent transparent with me, just under a thousand dollars a month or something like that. And it included SEO services that were not really definable or repeatable by the client, and there was nothing really known about what was being done. So, it’s hard to figure out what was included with those services. When I started talking to him, he had realized that he was paying that amount for quite some time, and it was supposed to go down eventually. So, then he talked to the agency, and it went down, but they were still doing some ongoing SEO services. So, then I finally migrated him over to my basic hosting plan because it’s all he needed. It’s literally a brochure site with sparse content on service pages for the construction industry, a contractor. And nothing was really being updated or optimized that I could tell – maybe some interlinking between pages, maybe some changing of words on pages but not developing more content or anything like that. That didn’t seem very strategic to me. But what I did notice the other day was in Search Console because I was just looking at traffic, and I just wanted to compare what traffic was doing now compared to prior to the migration. Because he did state the other day, he’s just getting fewer form submissions and stuff like that. I was given access to Google Analytics and Console from the previous agency that set that up. But there were no goals or anything that was being monitored other than just the tag inserted on the website. So, when I was looking in Google Console, I noticed that there were these other pages that I didn’t notice from the front end, and they were like, the URL was service-county-state. Right? So, they were location pages, but they were specific to each one of the services. So, it’s like, kitchen remodeling and bathroom remodeling, and each one has a city-state. So, I was just wondering about this strategy and being able to really analyze my findings here, but more so just did they have a different strategy that they were working on and creating these location pages, and they were going to build some navigation to lead to them? Or were they purely just tucking them behind the curtain and letting them drive in traffic? Because they did show traffic prior to the migration, but there was zero traffic after migration. So, I’m curious maybe if you had some insight on what they were doing or what type of strategy that is.

David: Okay. Good question. First of all, I want to commend you for looking in Search Console and finding these. Like, that’s the kind of stuff that clients don’t even know exist. Right? And that’s why looking so frequently in there and taking time to deep dive uncovers these kinds of little nuggets that otherwise, we would have totally missed. Right? Because it’s not even in the menu or anything like that. It’s not even anticipated. So that’s a good find. Second, are the pages still alive?

Tim: They are.

David: Okay. Okay. And do they each have forms on them?

Tim: They do not.

David: What is the call to action on these pages?

Tim: I would say nothing other than the phone number in the footer, and it’s not a call to action. It’s just a reference. Do you know what I’m saying? There’s no other place like, “call us for these services.”

David: And is there Google Analytics on these pages, as well?

Tim: As far as I know, I’ll double-check that. But it is a WordPress website, and I do have Yoast installed. So, yes.

David: Okay. Okay. So yeah. If you used Site Kit, then it should be on every page.

Tim: Yeah. This one came with a Google Analytics plugin, and I just maintain that the way it was set up.

David: Sure. Sure. Okay. So, these are things I just wanted to check first.

Tim: I did notice linking to other pages on the website. If it talked about a certain service, then it would link to that main service page where it talked about that service.

David: So, if it was kitchen remodeling in Fort Mill, it would link to a kitchen remodeling page, and if it was kitchen remodeling in York, it would link to the kitchen remodeling page. Okay.

Tim: Yeah. And I’ve noticed a couple of times, not all on all pages but just in random places, if they’re mentioning the company name, they link directly to the contact page.

David:  Okay. Interesting. Okay. So, yeah, this is an SEO strategy. Right? And it’s just basically building locally focused pages that purely exist for the search engines. Right? This is what Google calls a doorway page.

Tim: Okay.

David: Technically, doorway pages are against Google’s guidelines. So, it makes sense that Google doesn’t really want to serve up a page that only exists to rank for a specific phrase-city-state. So, it is an old-school strategy. It used to be, this is what we used to do in SEO, and we were accused of destroying the web by creating crappy content. Right? Well, some people still use the strategy. And sometimes, it still works. And it has to do with how much effort was put into those pages as they were created. So, if it’s a circumstance where all the pages are identical, but they just changed the city-state, then I’d suggest they probably aren’t very effective. One or two might be effective, but only when there’s no competition. If they happen to pick a city and a state and a service for which no one else in the world has built a page for that, it’ll work. But that’s not a really good strategy because you have to hope that you’re the only one who built a page for kitchen remodeling in York, South Carolina, or whatever. Right? Newport, South Carolina. And I’ve seen some fly-by-night SEO companies whose whole SEO payment is every month we will build you a new page like this.

Tricia: And that’s against Google’s guidelines?

David: It is.

Tricia: So, if you get caught, what would happen?

David:  Best case scenario, Google ignores the page. Worst case scenario, it will reflect entirely on your site, and Google will consider your site low-quality because you had a lot of these doorway pages. I’ve known of websites that literally did thousands of these. They got banned.

Tricia: Wow.

David: But that’s not typical because unless you’re a large company, you’ve probably not got the resources to build thousands of these.

Tricia: Yeah.

Tim: Yeah.

David: So, that’s the crappy way to do it. There is a good way to do it; of course, the good way takes time and resources. Right?

Tricia: You mean it’s not easy?

David: Oh, my gosh. It’s totally not easy. Like we’ve kind of talked about the idea of locally focused pages before, where just as long as the content on each of these pages is unique and helpful, that it’s okay. But if it doesn’t have much content, it’s just the same template, just a couple of words different, and you’re kind of wasting everybody’s time by producing them. You might be able to say to the client, “Look, I built all these pages for you.” And every once in a while, in Search Console, it might get an impression or two. It might even get a click or two. It might even show up as ranking for a phrase in Search Console. But short of conversions, we don’t know if they’re really valuable to the client. Right? That’s why I wanted to know about calls to action. Because if the client’s concerned they suddenly have fewer leads, could these have been producing leads? But if there are no clear calls to action, it’s possible that some of these might have brought in some traffic, which they might for someplace that no one else has thought to build a page for that city and state and service. And by the law of large numbers, if you do enough of them, you’re going to have a significant number of leads. So, yeah, it is a strategy, but it sounds like it’s executed poorly.

Tricia: Especially if they have no call to action. I mean, that’s the whole point of a page is to have a call to action there, right?

David: Even if it’s just the phone number.

Tricia: Yeah. Exactly, even if it’s the phone number. But without some type of call to action, you’re not measuring that, then do you know what good the page is doing? Or maybe you didn’t put it in because you don’t want to?

David: Right. And that might be the case for a lower-quality SEO company. It might be like, I really don’t care if it works. I just need to tell the client…

Tricia: Tell them I’m making these pages. Right.

Tim: Like to do enough, so they don’t complain. Right?

David: Yeah. And when they do complain, you can say, well look at what all I did. Would you like me to do more you can pay me more, and I can do them faster? So, does that answer the first part of your question?

Tim: Yeah. Yeah. Totally. I’m just pulling one of the pages here now just to double-check. Their call to action is almost like a banner section, “Need help? Let us know what you need.” And there’s a button with Contact Us, and then they do have a quick contact form in the footer.

David: Okay. Okay. So those could have (again, the law of large numbers) because of the fact that they might be the only page on the Internet for some of these services. Google has no alternative but to serve this page up. Right? But yeah. I’d suggest that for the more competitive cities and states and services, these pages probably don’t do jack.

Tim: Yeah.

David: But analytics would know. And unfortunately, if they didn’t set up conversion tracking, again, it’s probably because they don’t want to know if it works.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: Because then be they would be accountable for the results. So, that might be one interesting thing to do is to first set up conversion tracking on these. And then collect some data and then start to systematically go through each and make each better. Just a little bit at a time. Now some you may determine are not worth salvaging. For instance, let’s say they have a series of pages for cities that are for kitchen remodeling and another series of pages for kitchen remodeler. Yeah, we know that’s the same thing in Google’s mind. But that’s the slippery slope of the strategy. It’s that now we need to build for remodeler, and remodeling, and kitchen contractor. And that’s really all kind of the same thing. So, you could do the keyword research and figure out, are we duplicating? And then consolidate them. That alone will help them perform better. Then with the consolidated ones, start writing unique content. So, you know, and we’ve talked about this before, the idea with a local landing page is to say something unique that’s only unique on your page about that area. And that’s tough because if we’re talking about a service like kitchen remodeling, what’s different about kitchen remodeling in this town versus that town? That’s hard.

Tim: Yep.

David: Now, you might be able to do some research and figure out well, this town is more affluent, and so for them, the messaging becomes about entertainment and impressing your clients and impressing your boss. This client might be a little bit more rural, so maybe it’s more about having the room to entertain your family.

Tricia: The materials each one would use…

David: Right. One might be more interested in less expensive options. One might be more interested in the more expensive.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: To have that baked into the content: “From our experience, working as a kitchen remodeler in your County, South Carolina. We know that you just want some room for your family to come and enjoy a big meal. And that’s where we specialized. We are a family-owned business.” You could really riff on this whole thing. But if you’re where I live in Baxter Village, Fort Mill, South Carolina, it’s like snooty Yankees. We don’t give a crap about our families, right? So, it’s about Instagrammable pictures of picturesque, beautiful food that we can brag about to our friends, even though we don’t even like it. So suddenly, that content becomes helpful. It’s actual marketing content, and it’s something you’re proud of. The client can be proud of it rather than it being the lowest common denominator. And then, Google will reward you for that. So, Tim, you and I talked really quickly yesterday about an insight I had from Curious Ants, where I realized that the low-quality content was holding back the entire website. So, the short version of that is, I used to use automated transcripts, and we publish them with videos. And my goal was, if I can get a little bit of traffic from those, that’s great, knowing that transcripts were terrible. Well, John Mueller recently mentioned that if they see your website full of low-quality content, they’re going to consider your whole website low quality. So, I went through the entire site, purged complete transcripts, completely removed them. Others I had completely rewritten. And from that point forward, we took the time and effort to write a complete transcript or write a summary that’s unique. Already, we see more traffic. And that’s because, according to John Mueller, Google seems to be thinking, “Oh, your website is low quality because you’re just using this automated transcript stuff, and it doesn’t even make sense.” But the same thing is true about some of this potential for these landing pages; some of these might be reflecting poorly. So maybe, he is getting fewer leads. Without objective member measurements, if no one was tracking conversions, he doesn’t know that. It just feels that way. It might be more a reflection of his feeling than objectivity. That’s why step two is to set up the goals. So that we could start making the conversation objective rather than subjective, but now you’ll have the data to be able to say, “Well, look, maybe it is down, but it’s up since last month.”

Tim: Right.

David: Or the month after that. So yeah, then we can talk that way. But does that kind of help? How to understand the strategy and how to make it better and more effective for the client.

Tim: Yeah. Yeah. So, a couple of questions. So, I know the strategy of the location page, but I always think to obviously work it in from the front end too, from the user perspective, to show those locations. And to have the pages navigable, you know? So, is it because those pages are not directly linked to the navigation that is how Google recognizes them as a doorway page?

David: No. So, Google will use the navigation to help find pages, but it doesn’t use the navigation for rank. It uses internal links for rank but not navigation. So, you can get away with finding ways to link to those pages from within your content and building those internal links, and Google will find those pages and value those internal links from within content more highly than navigation links.

Tim: Okay.

David: And the other way to think about it is that it would be very confusing to the user if they found a menu that included hundreds of pages with each page different for the service and the city and the state. Then you’re putting the onus on the visitor to figure out which city and state and service they want, and that’s just not a good user experience, but it also really doesn’t look great.

Tricia: So, what you’re saying is that if you’re doing these pages, you’re saying kitchen remodel x city a, city b, city c. You’re saying that you should or should not have them in a navigational menu?

David: I’d say you probably don’t want them in a navigational menu.

Tricia: Okay. You’re talking about navigation, like at the top. Right?

David: Right. Right. It depends on a couple of things. That’s why I say probably. If you only have a couple, it might not be confusing. If you have half a dozen cities and states for every one of the services you offer, that’s going to be, let’s see if you have twelve cities and twelve services that’s a hundred and forty-four pages. That’s a heck of a navigation. So, it would be better to pick your main city, whatever that might be, Charlotte, North Carolina, and have that the focus of your main site. And then if you then decided you really needed a page that was for another city in another state in another service, then I would probably link to that from the Charlotte, North Carolina page for that service. Are you in Charlotte, North Carolina, and do you need kitchen modeling? That’s what we’re about. Blah blah blah blah blah…. Aren’t we awesome? Look at some pictures? Are you in York, South Carolina? Look at our York, South Carolina page to learn more about what we’ve done in York, South Carolina. And now they go to the York, South Carolina page; it’s because we took the time to build it in a way that we’re proud of. It has unique value and has something to contribute to the conversation. We’re not ashamed if someone stumbles on it by navigating it, but we’d only navigate it from the internal link of content. You wouldn’t want it in the menu necessarily. Right? And frankly, maybe a better way to do this is almost the case studies. If this is a remodeling thing, you can almost do a case study. Here are some houses we’ve done in this town. Here are some pictures of them. Here are some unique challenges we had. Here are some things about that town that relate to the service that we did. Right? Whatever. If you’ve approached it from a case study perspective, no one will balk at it. But if you’re just creating it to be an SEO doorway page, that’s going to be a pretty crappy page.

Tim: So, how would you define an SEO doorway page? What does that technically mean?

David: So, the way Google defines it is it’s a page that solely exists for SEO, by trying to rank for a very specific page, commonly for a very specific location, as well. That’s what Google would consider a doorway page. Now, what’s the difference between that and a case study page? Maybe intent. Right? And the time we take to make it a real case study for that service in that city and state.

Tim: Yeah.

Tricia: I would think too, with the case study, somebody living in that area if you were showing this specific picture from houses that they’ve done, those are actually customers. Whereas if you’re just doing a doorway page, is that more kind of like almost just changing the city and state out, not a lot of work?

David: Right. Yeah. That’s the distinction I’m making here. This strategy is bad if done badly. But this strategy can be done really well and effectively. And frankly, it is good whether or not there’s such a thing as Google.

Tim: Yeah.

Tricia: Yep.

David: Right? If there were no Google, having a bunch of case studies mentioning the towns and the services you provided in these towns would be very helpful to users. So, Google wouldn’t balk at that. But if it’s the same page template, the same pictures, the same basic words, and just a new town, a new service, and then yeah, that’s just not going to be great. If Google didn’t exist, you would never do that. Right? You would never do that. That’s the difference between what I’m saying as a case study page versus the doorway page.

Tim: So, If I’m making a comparison in Search Console with this, and I see that the impressions went way down, the clicks are relatively similar, and the average page rank is lower, in general. Is there any help that you can guide me with to interpreting that and maybe something else to look for? Seeing why those clicks might have gone down completely?

David: So, I thought you said the clicks were pretty much consistent?

Tim: Oh, I’m sorry. Yeah. The clicks were pretty much consistent.

David:  And the rank down slightly?  

Tim: Yeah, yeah. Sorry.

David: But impressions were down significantly?

Tim: Significantly.

David: Okay. When the rank went down, did the page fall to the second page of Google? Was it in the ten plus ranking when the impressions went down?

Tim: Hmm…

David: That’s hard to do from a big picture. But if you look at a couple of individual pages where the impressions went down. Did the rank drop to the second page? Because the impressions are how many eyeballs saw it in the search results. And so, if we jump to the second page, your impressions are going to drop because you’ve just dropped to the second page.

Tim: Gotcha.

David: So, that might be a reason for a drop in impressions. But clicks are about the same, which might suggest that it was kind of teetering on that spot, and by just jumping from the bottom of the first page to the top of the second didn’t really affect a lot of clicks; it just affected a lot of eyeballs. This is what impression decline versus click decline means. Now there always are external factors like Google changing the algorithm, and suddenly these pages were identified, and Google kicked it out. It could be… Was this website on WordPress before you migrated it?

Tim: Yes.

David: Okay, and no plugin changes after the migration?

Tim: Yeah. Some security plugins.

David: Okay. Okay.

Tim: Site speed…I noticed there’s something that I’m working on there, as well.

David: It’s always hard to rule out Google algorithm changes. I always tend to blame myself, rather than blame Google, when I encounter something like this, but I have just anecdotally noticed sometime around January, a lot of my sites’ impressions went down.

Tricia: Yeah. There was an algorithm update then. And this is a local business.

David: Right.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: And I’m not an algorithm chaser. Right? Like, there are people that obsess over it and freak out about it.  

Tricia: I just stay aware of it and see what happens when the dust settles. That’s what I kind of think.

David: So, that’s what I would look at in Search Console to help identify problems. But I think you could drive yourself a little batty trying to figure out why. It’s probably a better use of mind space to put that headspace into improving, rather than understanding what we’re wrong because you could really drive yourself a little crazy with that.

Tim: Yeah. Well, this is a client that isn’t able to find the budget for improvement. And is just budgeting for… I’m trying to say this kindly, just budget for basic web care plan.

 David: Right. Right.

Tim: And I’m literally just providing that service to the best of my ability, but improvements aren’t included. It is kind of fun to dive in a little bit, though.

David: Yeah. I don’t want to discourage you from doing that. Did the URL change in any way?

Tim: No.

David: No HTTPS or WWW changes?

Tim: No.

David: Did this all happen around the time you made the migration off their server onto yours?

Tim: Like the drop-off?

David: Yeah.

Tim: I guess that’s what I’m trying to figure out by looking at the analytics and looking at Search Console is to be able to actually analyze that. And I’m looking at it and wondering the same thing. You know. So, I’m not sure.

David: Can you look back in your records and see when you pulled the trigger on this transition?

Tim: It was March 26.

David: Of last year?

Tim: Yeah.

David: Okay. And is that around the time when the drop happened, or did the drop happen recently? Because if you’re looking in Search Console by default, you’re looking at three months back.

Tim: Yes. I’m looking at the last twelve months.

David: Okay. It dropped around March or after March?

Tim: I guess I need to look at the last sixteen months to see prior to that.

David: Because if it was around the time of the migration, then it could be something as simple as they were linking to it from their website as a client – go look at our clients. And that link no longer exists. But if that was like one of the few links to the website and it’s no longer propping it up…

Tim: It just could be so many things.

David: Right. That’s what makes this hard.

Tim: Yeah.

David: Right? But I mean, a year is a long time in the SEO world. Right? So there have been like two hundred algorithm changes to Google in a year. And it could just be simply that what was okay a year ago is no longer okay. Like what has happened in the SEO world in the last year? Number one, Google rolled out web core vitals for mobile as a ranking signal. What else has happened? Google has moved more sites to mobile-first. What else has happened? Google has made web core vitals for desktop a ranking signal. What else has happened? There have been several local search changes. So that’s a lot of changes.

Tim: Yeah.

David: So that’s one thing. Two, SEO is a long-term strategy, but if you dial it back and you’re not doing anything, and you just set it and forget it, you are going to have attrition over time. It is going to happen if you don’t keep up with it, even if you’re not doing much. And that’s because Google likes fresh new websites. It likes websites that it believes are up to date. And if nothing has been changed on the site in a year, Google might be going, is this business still together, and be less likely to serve it to people because it’s not quite convinced. And so that’s why things like regular blogging are really, really helpful at least to send that signal to Google, hey, still here, still in business, still working on something.

Yeah. Right.

David: But if it’s just a gradual decline over a year, it could just be that no one’s been doing anything.

Tim: Right.

David: And if he made the decision to stop, well, it sounds like he made a decision to move away from that company. But what little they might have been doing to help isn’t even helping anymore.

Tim: Yeah.

David: I noticed one of my clients during the pandemic dialed back their SEO campaign. It was the right financial decision. No one knew what was going to happen. Scary. A year and a half into the pandemic, they’re starting to feel the impact of dialing back. And I’m just like, listen, you’ve got to redouble efforts, you’ve got to re-up. You can’t just walk away. Yes, SEO is a long-term investment in your website, but if you don’t maintain your car and change oil, it won’t last forever no matter how good of quality the car you bought. And if we neglect it and we don’t, it’s going to slowly fall apart. That very well could be what’s going on.

Tim: Yeah. And if your competition is not dialing it back, they’re continuing to stay up and to do things and stay regular, then obviously, they’ll take precedent.

David: Yep. Yep. Why would Google serve a website that hasn’t changed in a year?

Tricia: Yeah.

David: …when other websites are still relevant and growing and active, over that same time period? So, that could be another thing. But you’re looking in the right place to start to draw these conclusions.

Tim: Yeah. I think taking a look back at this sixteen-month view… I don’t want to take up all the time. I think Tricia had a question, too.

Tricia: I’m good. Go ahead. 

Tim: Looking back, I can see a ramp-up of impressions at the end of 2020, all through 2021, it’s just on a slightly upward trend, and that continues past the migration into May. Then about mid-May, it starts to drop off pretty heavily until July, and it’s been about flat since then.

David: You know what it is?

Tim: What?

David: Oh, what happened last summer? In the world? Everybody got released from the pandemic and said, I am getting out of my freaking house.

Tim: Yeah. Yeah

David:  And they stopped spending money on renovations, which is what everybody spent money on during the pandemic, they were sick of looking at their own walls, and then they went to Disneyworld. Then they got Delta and then had to come back in. Right?

Tim: Yes. Yeah.

David: This is where Google Trends is an amazing tool. So, let’s do a little Google Trends analysis. I’m going to go and share my screen. So, here’s Google Trends. This is a great place to find this kind of information. We can confirm our hypothesis. So, let’s just take home improvement. What we don’t want is Home Improvement, the sitcom. And not the search term. Right? We’re not looking for data on the search term in this case. We want to know about the topic of home improvement because that will include other terms besides home improvement. So, the home improvement in the United States, let’s just say, a place it’s close to my heart, Kansas. So, if let’s say your client is a home improvement person serving Kansas, we can even zoom in and say, my hometown of Wichita, Kansas. This is the metropolitan area of Wichita, Kansas. And you could see since March of last year, up up up. It looks like it’s kind of trending up. Then we can go to the past five years. Then we get a little bit better view. So, this spike was June last year, and then a dip during Delta, and then everybody’s back home at the end of August for Delta, and then down for the holidays because no one wants to start a home improvement project during the holidays. Oh, interesting, back up in December, and then February again. So, that’s kind of interesting for this metropolitan area of Wichita, Hutchinson, Kansas area.

Tim: Yeah.

David: We can just look at Kansas; it’s the same kind of thing. It re-spiked again recently, but it was down significantly, but you know this is five years. So, the pandemic started around here, and that’s the most it was for years before that. Look at that. And then it went down a little bit, but then it started going up and then dropped. So, I don’t know if that confirms our theory very much. But this is something that can help us understand. Because remember, SEO responds to demand. It doesn’t create demand. So, if people are going to be spending their money on Disneyworld tickets rather than home improvement tickets, we can’t create demand for a service. And this might help explain. So, this is a pretty steep decline from August of last year to November of last. Right?

Tricia: Yeah.

David: Now it seems to be recovered, at least in this state. Let’s see Alabama. That’s totally a little different. Right? Alright. Spike, drop, but still back up again. But you can just see the pandemic.

Tricia: Yeah. And I had heard that, but it’s interesting to actually see.

David: Right. Right. So why don’t we just look at the state of Georgia? Oh, this is the country of Georgia.

Tricia: I was like, that looks weird.

David: There we go, United States. In typical American fashion, I just assume that Georgia is in the US. And now we’re looking at the state of Georgia. This is really cool. We can say, here’s the Atlanta metropolitan area. So, it had an interest around seventy-five always for years and then, pandemic hit, and whoop, then down and in the Atlanta, Georgia area it never recovered. It started to recover once or twice but never got up to that four hundred. And we can play with this.

Tricia: I have a question here, so you said topic and not search…

David: Because we want to know about the topic of home improvement in this case, not be limited to one very specific term. So, let’s compare.

Tricia: Okay.

David: Home improvement, search term, let’s compare these. We can add two terms and compare. Oh, interesting, home improvement as a search term, not as a topic. Look at that.

Tricia: Yeah.

Tim: Whoa.

Tricia: So, I guess my question is, I’m kind of confused on what the difference is between the two?

David: So, search term is people going to Google and using the term “home improvement.” Home improvement as a topic is people who are interested in the topic of home improvement, generally. So, it may include the search term “home improvement,” but it may be searching for things that don’t include that specific phrase, like bathroom remodeling, or it could be landscaping. These are all parts of home improvement but aren’t the words “home improvement.”

Tricia: Okay. So, I might look for a kitchen remodeler. I’m not going to put “home improvement” in that. Then it would be under the topic?

David: Kitchen remodeler, topic.

Tricia: Oh, interesting.

David: Zip. Search term. Kitchen remodeling, search term, or topic.

Tim: That drop on that improvement search term seems to be in correlation with my analytics.

Tricia: Your analytics? Yeah. Yeah. Interesting.

David: Well, that makes sense because kitchen remodeling is more specific than home improvement. Now I wrote an article on Reliable Acorn about this, where you can export this data into an Excel file, and you use some excel magic to average it out and compare it to your traffic.

Tricia: Oh Tim, that would be interesting for what you’re looking at.

Tim: Yeah.

David: Let me see if I can find that.

Tim: You are a magician with your excel capabilities.

David: This is not so scary. Alright. Let’s see. How Customer Demand Affects Your SEO Results. Here’s a graph example of this. The blue graph is traffic, the red graph is demand in the main topic of that traffic, and yellow is demand in the brand name. In this client case, the client has been identified as an entity in Google, and so they have a search term query for their own name. And so you can see, in October of 2020, there’s a spike up in demand. Does that mean David’s a really good SEO person, and he could make that go happen, really? No. It’s probably something that happened industry-wide that made that spike.

Tim: Wow.

David: Oh, David went back in November. Does that mean David didn’t do any work in November? Not necessarily. Maybe he didn’t. But not necessarily, because demand went down. Demand returned in January. Here traffic went up even though demand didn’t. David must have worked really hard in February. No. That’s a smaller month. Right? But this article kind of outlines how to do it.

Tricia: Can you put the URL in the chat for me? Please.

David: Oh, I didn’t put it in there for everybody. Okay. Here we go.

Tricia: Okay. Thank you.

David: So, play around with that. They kind of have to do some averages and stuff like that, but with some clients, I run this every month just because they’re so seasonally demanded, and I want to be able to say, oh, it’s off-season. Some clients are so big that if they’re in the news, I look like I’m doing a really good job. In reality, it’s because people are talking about them.

Tim: Well, that’s cool. Yeah. That’s really helpful. Sorry, we didn’t get to your question, Tricia.

Tricia: No. I think we had talked about it before. So, I’m good. That was very interesting and helpful, David.

David: Okay, I hope that helps give you some things to look at, Tim because that is a scary question to have. But if you’re able to bring it into objective data, it helps the client understand a little bit more.

Tim: Yes. Yeah. And just being able to guide them toward understanding and the solution to make improvements.

David: Right.

Tim: It doesn’t seem like it’s too bad of a job that they’ve done with it, but I do just still wonder why and how to determine why those particular pages just aren’t getting any traffic at this point. 

David: Yeah. If you can nail down the date, you could, and if the traffic declined at the date of the transition, then you know it had to do with the transition. If it’s after, then it suggests something after, like an algorithm change happened. But there’s clearly a lot of opportunity on those pages. Some of them you’re going to kill, some of them you’re going to save, and some of them you’re going to improve. And that’s a great way to do that.

Tim: Yeah.

David: But he needs to understand the value. He can’t just build a page and walk away.

Tim: Yeah. This was a really good discussion. I appreciate it.


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