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    Low rank for 2 word terms but not 3 word terms?


    I have a client who offers a service. He ranks really well for some very competitive terms - consistently on the first page. However, in the past 3 months, the core terms that he used to be on page one for have dropped off the map and I have no idea why!

    Here's what I mean... if the core search terms were "carpet cleaners" and "carpet cleaning"

    He ranks highly for "mytown carpet cleaners" or "carpet cleaning mytown".

    I can't see it being an issue with over-optimisation on-site as the other ones with the same terms rank well. It's definitely not over optimisation of incoming links either as we have done very little link building. It's mainly about content. Any ideas???
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    It's kind of hard with out looking at all the details.
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    If you look at the Google results for "carpet cleaners" you see

    consumerreports.org
    amazon
    stanleysteemer.com
    [local results]
    toptenreviews.com
    wikipedia

    etc...

    Is this client of yours big enough to contend with Amazon and Wikipedia? It sounds fairly natural for it to rank for location-based phrases than short tail ones.
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    Could google be giving more preference to partial match as opposed to exact match when general terms are being used?
    I think it's been moving in that direction for a while now...branding..branding..branding.
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    Originally Posted by drelly
    I have a client who offers a service. He ranks really well for some very competitive terms - consistently on the first page. However, in the past 3 months, the core terms that he used to be on page one for have dropped off the map and I have no idea why!

    Here's what I mean... if the core search terms were "carpet cleaners" and "carpet cleaning"

    He ranks highly for "mytown carpet cleaners" or "carpet cleaning mytown".

    I can't see it being an issue with over-optimisation on-site as the other ones with the same terms rank well. It's definitely not over optimisation of incoming links either as we have done very little link building. It's mainly about content. Any ideas???
    3 word terms are less competitive then two word terms. In my view Google is choosing smaller sub sets of data when it decides which results to return. Geo factors are much more important on Google in recent times.

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    • ClickyB agrees
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    Originally Posted by Adam.W
    If you look at the Google results for "carpet cleaners" you see

    consumerreports.org
    amazon
    stanleysteemer.com
    [local results]
    toptenreviews.com
    wikipedia

    etc...

    Is this client of yours big enough to contend with Amazon and Wikipedia? It sounds fairly natural for it to rank for location-based phrases than short tail ones.
    Well that of course depends where you are sitting. My top 10 (google.co.uk) is full of websites selling carpet cleaners!

    BUT to the original question:

    Does the two word phrase have any value? Have you tried a PPC campaign to see if users who search this are valuable. With short or generic phrases you often find that although search volumes are high they actually generate little traffic or business because people search the term, realise from what they see in the SERPs that they are being too vague, and so carry out a more specific query.

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    • Adam.W agrees : Nice addition!
    Learn SEO and Online Marketing with Doodleddoes or follow me on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/+TimHillDoodled/
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    Originally Posted by gazzahk
    3 word terms are less competitive then two word terms. In my view Google is choosing smaller sub sets of data when it decides which results to return. Geo factors are much more important on Google in recent times.
    I agree but this site used to be first page for their chosen terms and now it's not even in the top 10 pages.Good point about the geo-targetting though. I should review that.
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    Originally Posted by Doodled
    Well that of course depends where you are sitting. My top 10 (google.co.uk) is full of websites selling carpet cleaners!
    This is in NZ (not actually a carpet cleaner) and we were previously first page.

    Originally Posted by Doodled
    Does the two word phrase have any value? Have you tried a PPC campaign to see if users who search this are valuable. With short or generic phrases you often find that although search volumes are high they actually generate little traffic or business because people search the term, realise from what they see in the SERPs that they are being too vague, and so carry out a more specific query.
    Yes, it's a popular term.
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    I'm not sure anyone can go any further on this without knowing what the terms are....?
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    Originally Posted by Doodled
    I'm not sure anyone can go any further on this without knowing what the terms are....?
    Have PM'd you

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