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We're looking at how our website is performing in Google and noticing that our "contact us" page is outperforming our "homepage" for a typical search which is product+geography.

widgets dallas
widget makers dallas
widget shop texas

The reason being that the "contact us" page has the "dallas" & "texas" in our address more prominently in its text. So Google is being perfectly logical in showing this page as a priority.

But the "contact us" page is far from the best page for our new customer to stumble on. It's not a bad page, it's just not the best page for a new visitor to come to first. Our homepage is where to find our best stuff.

Is there a correct solution to this problem? The obvious solution of stuffing more geographic keywords into our homepage feels a bit dirty (and anti-Google). Equally, making the "contact us" page more like our homepage is nonsensical. We don't want to detract from its job of providing "contact us" information to people who really need it, a job which it's currently doing fine.

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with no additional information about your page, how it's linked from other sources, how your linking structure and content is, what canonicals are set (or not), etc. every answer is going to be pure speculation... Maybe rephrase your question or add some examples so we know what we are looking at ... –  uberconversion Mar 13 '13 at 16:16
    
Please provide URL in question, I suspect its a bad off page SEO and over anchoring. –  bybe Mar 13 '13 at 20:11

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

As you said, it makes sense to rank that way. You do not have to do anything dirty though and all you can do is to provide additional information on your homepage.

This happens often on sites where the homepage has lots of product images but not much text. You do not have to turn it into a contact page but provide more context and - to feel good about it - do so in a way which is nice and helpful to your visitors.

The orthogonal thing to check is your inbound links. If, for some reason, many more people are linking to your contact page, it will be tougher to change and you have to concentrate on getting links to the homepage.

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A lot of ranking weight comes from the CTR (Click-Through Rate), the number of times the link is clicked relative to the number of times it is shown (impressions). This CTR hugely depends on "how interesting" the suggestion looks to the observer (the people who searched something in Google and got your suggestion among all the other suggestions), not so much on the actual content of the page, because the people see that content only after already having clicked.

The suggestion shown by Google consists most often of : the link title, the real url and a brief description. If you get those right, people seeing both links will at one glance see that one suggestion is the contacts page and the other is the homepage, and click accordingly to what they are looking for.

The link title is usually the page title and the description is usually the description from the meta tag in the page head. I say usually, because it might be e.g. that all your pages have the same description meta tag and that google's algorithms decided that e.g. the first words/phrases of your page, the form field labels (button labels), image alt text,... are more indicative.

Think also, that maybe people know your company through another (real world?) channel and that 90% of your visitors maybe only used google to quickly lookup your address or phone number before calling or coming. In that case they will rather click on the suggestion that looks like it has the contact details and so this will influence its ranking over time.

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Can you show any evidence or cite a reputable source that shows that CTR is a ranking factor much less a significant one? –  John Conde May 12 at 13:19
    
It's close to impossible to give evidence for ranking techniques, as the search engines won't reveal them, to protect them from being exploited. If you know the Matt Cutts videos on Youtube, you know that he's always very vague, saying nothing with many words. I have a small niche website (+/- 1000 unique visitors/day) with about 15k pages. I can clearly see a relation between CTR (which I see in Google Analytics) and the actual pagerank. –  multia May 20 at 12:20

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