Every webpage is supposed to target a keyword. The whole content of a webpage is created bearing in mind the targeted keyword. In most cases, people target more than one keyword. Clustering too many keywords is not wise as it would dilute the impact for all the secondary keywords or tags. While a webpage is supposed to rank only for the keyword it targets, there are plenty of scenarios where a wrong page gets ranked. What can you do when a wrong page gets ranked for a given keyword?
Understand the Causes
If there is something wrong with the algorithms and crawlers of Google or Bing among others, there is nothing you can do about it. You can try to comply with those erring algorithms but don’t since the search engines will fix the problem. You may have gone wrong with indexing or any of the several technicalities that influence page ranking. Let us explore some of those aspects which are the probable causes here.
You may have a problem with the internal anchor text.
The internal anchor text has to be optimized. That optimization can be done wrongly or there may be issues with it. Then you would have the page ranked for a keyword it is not meant for. A webpage can redirect to another webpage or have links to various pages. This can mislead the search engines. Even if the redirected page is not relevant, it will have an impact on the first webpage. That will also lead to a page getting wrongly or irrelevantly ranked.
There may be an external link bias.
It is possible that you have a new webpage targeting a given keyword but the old webpage targeting the same keyword still exists. You may have new and more detailed information in the new webpage. You would want this new webpage to rank higher or get more attention. But the search engines may keep focusing on the old webpage. This is the external link bias. Once the new webpage gains traction and has enough external links, this problem can be fixed. You may also get rid of the old webpage. You may merge the new content with the old webpage if you want.
There are many signals that search engines observe and record as they rank pages.
It is possible that the various metrics don’t work in your favor. Link authority certainly plays a role in ranking a webpage for a given keyword. It is possible that a webpage not targeting a keyword primarily gets enough links for that keyword. It could be user generated content or just how things panned out for the webpage over time. The established link authority and various signals of relevance may wrongly put that webpage in focus. Search engines will disregard your primary keyword targeting and will instead focus on the other relevance signals.
Google and Bing among others have a tendency to cluster things together.
Humans have a tendency to compartmentalize. It is easier to manage when one has neatly defined categories. When you have a webpage or URL that is very similar to another webpage or URL, then it may get clubbed together. The compartmentalization of these two pages may be wrong. The contents may be very different and even the keywords targeted may be worlds apart. But the URL, webpage and other descriptions are similar. These issues fall in the realm of on page optimization.
Improper or irrelevant redirects are certainly among the most common causes of wrong page getting ranked for a given keyword.
You may target one keyword with a webpage. The redirects may pertain to another set of keywords. The search engines will get confused. If the redirects gain more relevance or significance than your primary targeting, then you would have the problem.
A Few Remedies
You should check the 301 redirect and rebuild it.
You can further redirect visitors from the new to the old page or from the old page to the new page. You can keep the old URLs and keep adding fresh content. Link new pages to old pages instead of freshly targeting the same keywords. Confusing the search engines with too many pages targeting the same keywords may not work.
Optimization of content can go wrong and it does go wrong.
It is possible that you target one keyword and another keyword gets emphasized on. This can be completely unintentional. Irrelevant content is something you can always work on. This is not something that search engines can control.
Fix the content, rewrite it, tweak the use of keywords and get rid of associated keywords which are gaining prominence. Come up with contents that are heavily focused on the keyword you want to rank for. You can always swap content if you find one webpage ranked instead of another webpage. Regarding external links and redirects, you can do away with them to keep the focus on the right page.