Indexing Issues and the Trap of Glory Rankings

Well it has been a while; things are really busy at Branded3 with business coming in thick and fast, hence the lack of posts recently.

Something I wanted to discuss today is a trap I always get caught in despite knowing better, I just can’t help myself, let me explain….

SEO wizz has found itself on the first page of Google for some decent keywords including ‘search engine optimisation’ ‘google seo’ ‘search engine marketing’ ‘seo consultant’ and even ‘seo’ on the odd occasion. (These are UK rankings)

Despite these ranking successes 90% of my search engine traffic still comes from long tail keywords.

For example, I consistently rank between 1 and 5 for ‘SEO consultant’ a keyword that the Google keyword tool estimates around 8100 searches on a month in the UK. You would have thought my top 5 ranking would pull in a decent amount of search then???

Nope about 35 a month!!!!!

Why is this? Well Google’s tool is definitely inaccurate but I also think the only people searching on this term are SEO consultants attempting to rank for this keyword!!

This keyword is far from the exception, I have worked with a client ranking 2nd for the keyword ‘mobile phones’ out of 5 million estimated searches per month, guess how many clicks they got???

A whopping 4500 per month!!!! That’s 0.09%!!

Yes the Google Tool is definitely not accurate and I know for a fact that figure would have been 10 times higher if they had been in first but it should make everyone in the search engine marketing industry think twice about ‘Glory Rankings’, this is not how high traffic sites gain all those lovely visits.

I have long advocated targeting long tail terms and if you want to create a huge amount of traffic this is where your focus should also be. Yes target those competitive keywords on your homepage (TLD) but make sure you put the same amount of effort into making sure your site has lots of genuine content that is easily found.

Indexing Issues

Many websites that struggle to pull in large amounts of search engine traffic usually suffer with these common issues;

1- They don’t create enough unique content

2- Not enough pages on their website

3- Poor internal link structure

4- Poor on page optimisation

5- Have a Google penalty of some sort

One of the main issues I see with big clients suffering to get the amount of search traffic they think they warrant is indexing issues and this usually comes down to poor internal linking or a homepage heavy link profile.

If you think you might have a problem with pages being indexed there is a fairly straight forward way to find out…

Simply login to your Google Analytics account and perform a month by month search on the keywords your site has been found on, compare this to the amount of landing pages your website has been found on recording both figures for every month, to make it more visual place the figures into an excel file like so;

indexing issues

This is a graph for SEO wizz over the last 13 months as you can see I recently took a dip in landing pages, there is a reason for this that I’ll get to later.

Once you have highlighted a dip in keywords and landing pages, and that dip has not re peaked, there is a strong possibility your pages are not being indexed in the same quantity.

The first step you should take is to make sure your site is not suffering with any sort of penalty..

– Is it coming up in Google when you search your domain?

– Does it come up for an exact title tag search?

– Have any of your rankings suddenly dropped off the charts?

If you have any of the above issues you may be experiencing a penalty which is a whole other post, if not it’s time to move on.

The next thing to check is your internal linking;

– Are there any forgotten no followed internal links (this was one of my issues)

– How often are you publishing new content? (Again one of my issues, if you aren’t updating 3 – 4 times a week I have noticed drops across multiple websites)

– Are pages deeper than 3 links in a standard crawl from the home page?

If you wanted to get more technical you could create multiple sitemaps for each category which can help you highlight which areas may be struggling, read more about this on blogstorm.

This will usually present a fix, if you have checked all of the above you will almost always come across issues that you can fix, however there is one more thing to be aware of…..

If your site is new or has very few links to the homepage, there is a strong possibility that Google deems your site to be lacking in terms of importance and therefore why would it rank your deep pages??

The easiest way to fix this is to build lots of easy links (article marketing, social bookmarking, and directory links) to deep pages of your website, sometimes simply book marking every page you create can solve this issue and you will see significant traffic improvements.

So to summarise…. If you want more search traffic put more focus on having a well indexed site rather than ranking for ‘glory terms’.


is the CEO of Branded3 a Search Marketing Agency in the UK. Tim has over a decade of experience in Search and regularly speaks at key events and conferences.

4 thoughts on “Indexing Issues and the Trap of Glory Rankings

  1. Hi Tim, I have two questions concerning indexing:

    1. I have a article directory that I started about 7 months ago. The site is indexed and because I build links to each post page, most post pages are also indexed.

    There is one post that I wrote and put on the site that refuses to get indexed in Google. I have over 50, white hat-correctly anchored, links pointing to that post. But still it doesn’t get indexed.

    Any ideas why?

    2. Can you let me know if this indexing strategy is viable. In the same article directory as above I build links to each post page, and then build links pointing to the category page that the post appears. In other words I build links to the category page as though it was the home page.

    I also build “some” links to the actual homepage, but not lots.

    My reasoning is that with a “general” article directory the homepage is basically a mish-mosh of all different topics, something Google probably doesn’t understand. But the category pages are much more focused.

    Is my thinking correct? Will my strategy work?


  2. Hi Pchef,

    I guess my answer to the first one would be to give more internal importantce, link to it from other relevant articles on your own site. Sometimes with article directories Google decides not to index pages because of their similarity to other pages on the web, this is why you have to show Google that it is important to your own site.

    I would definitely carry on linking to category pages, we recommend this to all our clients regardless of industry. However, I would also encourage some strong links to the homepage as PR will filter through it passing value to your domain as a whole. I would save my best links for the home page, the PR carrying links. Just link to the homepage with the anchor article directory or submit your articles etc…

    Hope this helps

  3. Very interesting post!

    Did you select the match type as Exact on Google External Keywords Tool? This makes a very big difference. When it comes to my experience in one of the biggest uk website, the Google data is pretty accurate.
    Also, when it comes to glory ranking, the difference in terms of traffic is massive between position 1 and position 2. We actually attracted 10 times more users by going from position 2 to position 1.

    I believe it si worth fighting for glory rankings, and think that these rankings are also a reflexion of your site’s authority.

  4. Thanks for the comment.

    From what we see across our clients there is usually a 2 – 3% difference between position 1 and 2. We always use the keyword tool on exact and find if you use 12 – 15% CTR for P1 the figures are usually close.

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