Page ranks for main keyword - but isn't optimized - what to do?

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#1
I have a client who ranks first page for a (one word) target keyword.
The problem is this page is not optimized, it's a random blog post, in a long, personal, rambling style. It's good content, but it's not an optimized landing page for conversions or for Google.
What would you do here?

Onpage SEO
- Change title and meta desc
- Keep title, optimize meta desc and optimize other onpage

Content
- Make a new optimized landing page and redirect ranking page
- Make a new optimized landing page and do internal linking
- Keep ranking post and optimize for conversions

Other?
 

Calamari

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#2
I'd add a couple CTA's within the body, without rewriting the whole page, as well as write a new page with a very specific CTA and give it some internal links to push traffic to it.
 

Ryuzaki

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#3
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. There's a chance that you'll disrupt that ranking and lose it while not being able to acquire it by a new page.

That means a 301 redirect to a better lander may not work out. That lander may not have the intent Google wants to show for that SERP.

You could do internal links to try to create a funnel but you're going to lose a ton of opportunity there too. Google is the funnel and is sending people where they want to be based on their search behavior. What I mean is that, if it was determined people wanted to land on some kind of squeeze page then Google would be ranking that instead.

What I would do is take that long and rambling blog post and turn it into a story. I'd hook them at the start with an open ended cliff hanger, then start reeling them in through the story, and resolve it with the solution of whatever it is you're offering, whether that's an email optin, form submit, sale, etc. That's your one-page funnel you can create while not disrupting the rankings.

I wouldn't even start cramming in extra H2's or anything of the sort. I'd take care with how I rewrote the content too, leaving as much intact as possible, especially the usages of anything that is keyword related and LSI related.

You can also then split test the call to action you put at the end too. Since it's a one-word keyword you should have plenty of traffic for that.
 

Calamari

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#5
What about writing new Meta Desc? That should be fairly safe right?
The meta description is part of the 80% of stuff that you don't need to worry about. Focus on what matters here, the content that people interact with when they land on the page.
 

Ryuzaki

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#6
What about writing new Meta Desc? That should be fairly safe right?
It wouldn't disrupt rankings from an on-page SEO standpoint but it might effect your click through rate from the SERP. Right now you're #1 so your meta description is likely working alright. I wouldn't mess with things that you absolutely don't have to mess with. You have a balance to maintain and you're walking the razor's edge as it is. I'd leave it alone if it were me.
 
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#7
The site is not ranked 1, but actually lower first page, 8 to 10 actually, so the goal is top 5.
 

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#8
The site is not ranked 1, but actually lower first page, 8 to 10 actually, so the goal is top 5.
If you mess with too much stuff at once and you slip to page two you won't know what to undo to get back to page one. You have to make smaller changes and be patient. There's a very good chance that if you don't make any changes you'll slowly rise into the top three results as your page ages.

Do the minimum to convert the current traffic into customers and be patient.
 
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#9
I was thinking about just doing some internal linking to that page and improving bounce etc. Maybe add some outgoing links as it's in the psych field, which I am guessing could be EAT.
 

Calamari

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#10
I was thinking about just doing some internal linking to that page and improving bounce etc. Maybe add some outgoing links as it's in the psych field, which I am guessing could be EAT.
Adding a few internal links that point to the page is a good idea. Improving bounce rate and time on page is more important than a few outgoing links. I'd probably start with a clickable table of contents to help people navigate the page. I've found those useful to improve on page metrics pretty quickly. After that I would work on something else for a few weeks to see how the page is responding before making any more changes.
 

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#11
The site is not ranked 1, but actually lower first page, 8 to 10 actually, so the goal is top 5.
In that case I'd be more willing to do on-page optimization to the post, but I'd look at the rest of the top 10 and see what they look like first. I'd check their intent, their headers, images, TF*IDF, all that. I wouldn't go willy nilly and do "best practices" but make sure I'm not exceeding what anyone else is doing.

How long has this page been ranking in the top 10? Is it a new thing or something that's been going on for a long time?
 
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#13
I don't know actually. I'll ask my client, but I doubt she knows. She did make out like she didn't rank for this, so maybe it's a relatively recent thing, but in conclusion: don't know.
 
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#16
Ok, so I've looked into this site some more and I believe the issue here can be summed up as:

It's a blog not a website.

We have one blogpost ranking well, will only recommend changing the H2 up a bit to get some more keywords in there (it was overoptimized for a small keyword).

I will recommend reworking some blog posts for those keywords that are not ranking. I won't choose the "highest" ranking page, but rather the one that pops up on a "sit:client.com keyword" search.

The second issue is that the blog doesn't have categories. This makes it difficult for Google to figure out what is related. I will tell the client to add categories and I will ask her to fix the landing page blog posts to the top of the category page. That will then send all the related linkjuice for the blogposts (hundreds) to the category page and then on to the first post hopefully.

Third, being blogposts, many are years old. I will tell her to regularly update her new "blog landing pages" and to do the published/update switch in the code.

Fourth, I recommend she cleans up those blogposts that get little traffic. Either merge (best parts, not full) with ranking blog posts, update and refresh for current year or do redirects to thematically similar.

Fifth, the site actually has 1500 excluded pages and 600+ indexed, which is waaaay too many for a blog like that. There are some issues here, attachment pages getting indexed, a lot of 404 for expired offers and the like. Redirect both.

Sixth, I will have her clean up her menu a bit. Do a check of which links actually get clicked and make sure there's a link to keyword blog landing pages in the main menu.

That's it, mainly, still need to look into some speed, mobile stuff etc, but this I think will do the best. And I'll recommend some focus on new keywords from GSC and to do better outrach.
 

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#17
There are some issues here, attachment pages getting indexed, a lot of 404 for expired offers and the like. Redirect both.
I'd absolutely get those attachments out of the index pronto. Sounds like Wordpress? You should be able to redirect them to the page on which they appear. They'd slowly (very slowly) come out of the index on their own, or you can create and submit a sitemap for them then remove it once they're good.

I wouldn't redirect the expired offers unless they're tightly related to the pages you point them at. There's no problem with them being 404.