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I have an event calendar site which on the homepage ("/") contains a list (table) of all events. When you click on one of them, you go to event detail page, which contains much more information about event (and also contain schema.org semantic markup).

Now, the event detail page is the one user searching for that specific term would prefer, and it is also what webmaster would prefer.

However, google seems to prefer sending all results to homepage ("/"), instead of specific event, thus displaying ugly and mostly useless snippet.

for example, googling for biciklijada limes 2015 site:biciklijade.com would give first result to biciklijade.com/ and only third to the much nicer looking biciklijade.com/detail/1049 with more information. (and without site: specifier, that nice event detail page would be buried on second or third page)

Question is how to convince google to prefer obviously better event detail page (instead of sending all the searches to homepage)?

(I'd prefer answers supplemented with google itself stating best practices for that, and/or things proven to work in practice; but I'd appreciate wild guesses too)

  • Do your event pages have the desired search term in the <title> tag, <h1> tag, and meta descriptions? – nathangiesbrecht Apr 2 '15 at 15:31
  • @nathangiesbrecht I've posted the links so you can check for yourself, but yes, event detail page has <title>. The search term itself (even name) is only in <h3>, though. I don't use meta description, could try adding that. – Matija Nalis Apr 2 '15 at 18:40
  • I would definitely change those h3's to h1's. H1 is a very important signal for search engines, probably as important as <title>. Meta description will give bots some clues also. – nathangiesbrecht Apr 2 '15 at 21:34
  • @nathangiesbrecht nope, doesn't seem to help. Now has <h1> and nice <meta description> in addition to <title> (and made sure google indexed it), but google still shows main index page as first hit, and detail page is only shown on second page if you enable "If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included." – Matija Nalis Apr 11 '15 at 18:13
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Site: searches will always display the home page first if it is in the result set. For the additional search terms as by your example, if the home pages is in the result set, Google will always place the sites home page first then will display the remaining results in order of importance as Google sees it. This will change over time as search trends come and go of course.

I assume placing the home page first is an assumption made by the programmers.

You should be able to see your actual preferred pages by doing a search for biciklijada limes 2015 without site: and look for your pages. They will appear in order of importance.

If your home page still appears first in this list, it is simply because the home page scores higher not only for the terms entered in the search, but likely also for back links and other SEO factors. This is not uncommon especially for home pages that are aggregates of other pages such as what you often see in blogs. This would especially make sense if event pages come and go. They would not have had the opportunity to gain much of any factors that make them rank well- especially rank over the home page.

I wrote an answer on this on this site, but did not see it my search. You can de-tune the home page some and make sure that your event content pages are as well tuned as possible. But since I would assume events are temporary or at least will appear shortly before an event, you will need to use back-links quickly and heavily where you can (such as other event sites) and social media especially the ones that will drive traffic and matter most to search. I rather suspect that Facebook has little value where Twitter will have more. You will have to decide. I am not a social media expert mostly because I hate it. ;-)

  • even when I search just for biciklijada limes 2015 without site: filter, I still get biciklijade.com/ as first hit, and biciklijade.com/detail/1049 isn't listed on first few pages (or possibly, at all?). Also I'm not sure google always prefers homepage, for example search for openstreetmap wiki Develop and use the Platform lists specific page before homepage. So the question remains - is it possible to convince google to prefer event details to homepage? – Matija Nalis Apr 2 '15 at 1:00
  • @MatijaNalis When site: is entered and the home page is within the result page, it will always appear first. If you enter terms with the site: search and the home page is not in the result set (meaning no keyword matches), then it will not appear. I added more to the answer. I rather suspect that your home page is ranking higher because it scores higher from an SEO standpoint. – closetnoc Apr 2 '15 at 1:17

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