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How to Find Out Why Google Hates Your Content (And Steps to Fix It)

why-google-hates-contentYou’ve written an article. It’s good, but it’s not delivering any results.

Despite targeting a seemingly easy keyword, the content is nowhere near page one in Google search results.

I was in the same spot a little bit ago after writing a lengthy article on “trade marketing,” a broad subject area with lots of searches. I created the content to fill a gap I observed in my research – nothing existed that was all encompassing on the topic.

Every content marketing box was clicked – research a topic, source a valuable keyword, write an informative article, optimize for search, and promote the piece.

My site – and the content – refused to budge in the search rankings.

Every #contentmarketing box was clicked, but the content refused to budge in search rankings. @SplashCopy #SEO Click To Tweet

Three months later, it was time to do some investigating. I followed a three-step process, and discovered that searchers didn’t want an ultimate guide. The evidence indicated that they wanted something else – so that’s what I gave them.

If you are having the same trouble – good content without great search results – take these three steps and see what happens.

Pre-step: Access Google Search Console and add your website domain to connect.

Step 1: Find your search analytics

When you open Search Console, go to Search Traffic, then select Search Analytics from the drop-down menu:


Now you can see the data around how often your site appears in Google search results. Make sure all the check boxes – clicks, impressions, CTR, and position – are ticked at the top of the page.


TIP: To learn what search words result in rankings (and visits) for your site, filter by search query.

Step 2: Look at the information under the graph

Next, analyze the relationship between the number of search impressions for your site and the corresponding click-through rate.

In other words, when your site shows up in search results, how many people are motivated to click and go to that page?

As you can deduce, if your site displays for a keyword but isn’t getting clicks, the issue could be with the content – topic angles, headlines, descriptions.

If your site displays for a keyword but isn’t getting clicks, the issue could be the content. @SplashCopy #SEO Click To Tweet

By contrast, if you’re getting a lot of clicks, you know you’ve done a good job with your content.

To identify which landing pages receive the search traffic, click on the keyword query.

Here’s what I saw for keywords around the subject of trade marketing:


You can see from a few of the underlined examples that the keyword “trade marketing” achieved a lot of impressions, but resulted in few clicks.

In exploring the landing pages for those keywords, I learned that my original content – the ultimate guide for trade marketing – wasn’t relevant to searchers of “trade marketing.” However, it was relevant to people searching for “trade marketing strategies,” “trade marketing examples,” and “trade marketing plan.” Those terms had click-through rates above 25%.

These results told me that the search audience was more interested in the strategy and example sides of the topic. And though much of the original content was highly relevant to the search term “trade marketing,” it was framed in a way that put an unnecessary barrier to engagement. In short, people weren’t using my content in the way I had intended.

Step 3: Change your meta title, meta description and headline accordingly

Knowing that search audiences don’t see your content as relevant – even though it is – indicates an opportunity for you to make a few changes.

Knowing search audiences don’t see your #content as relevant indicates an opp to make changes. @SplashCopy #SEO Click To Tweet

In my trade marketing example, I changed my meta title and meta description to:


The original meta description read:

Need trade marketing help? Discover the history of trade marketing, why it’s important and which techniques are working today.

The headline of the article was changed to:


The original title simply read:

The ultimate guide to trade marketing

As you can see, this piece of content is different from an ultimate guide – though it’s almost the same content, now it refers to strategies and examples.

It’s a much better fit for my intended audience because it hits their pain points more accurately and visibly – the copy calls out trade marketing strategies and examples.


You can use Google Search Console to monitor the effect of your changes against search results.

In my example, the piece rose to the second position on page one for “trade marketing” and has garnered clicks in droves.


OK, so what have we learned?

I’ve always said a good content marketer must be a detective too. From understanding what your audience members want to how they consume their content, the more information you have, the greater your chance for success. Investigating your search audience is a critical component of that overall understanding.

Investigating your search audience is a critical component of overall understanding, says @SplashCopy. #SEO Click To Tweet

Achieving SEO and content marketing success is a logical process. Google doesn’t care about which website has the longest articles, the most back-links, or the most social shares. It cares about what content provides the most value to searchers – and if Google focuses on what people use content for, shouldn’t you?

With this three-step process, you not only can craft a more effective headline, meta title, and meta description with what searchers want, you can also better align your content with what your readers need.

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Cover image by Wilfred Iven via StockSnap

Please note: All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).