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Google Gives Answers About the Unusual Keyword Ranking

Google's reasons for ranking sites for unusual keywords.
The reasons for sites ranking for unusual keywords on Google also showing on search console

Google’s John Mueller explains why a website might appear for keywords that seem odd or unrelated to what it’s about.

Mueller shared this information on Reddit in response to a thread titled: 

“My website has clicks from keywords that I can’t find my site using them. How is this possible?” 

Keywords are showing up in the original poster’s Search Console report, which baffles them.

Even after ten pages of search results, they are unable to locate their own website using the same keywords.

It is unclear to them why their site appears for those keywords.

Why is this happening?

Mueller on ranking for random keywords:

The most likely reasons for a site appearing for unexpected queries are either personalization or local targeting.

“Usually that’s personalization & local targeting. Often you can guess if the queries are expected to have a large number of impressions and if your site is listed as being in the higher positions, but it just gets very few impressions. You also see this when you drill in by date and see that it’s just getting very few impressions sporadically (rather than regularly).”

According to Mueller, images could also be at play.

Images from the site may be pulled into the one-boxes at the top of search results, or the knowledge panels on the side.

An image displayed in a one-box or knowledge panel is logged as an impression in Search Console.

An odd keyword with a large number of impressions, a high ranking position, and few clicks is likely a result of images.

A different approach for Search Console:

 “Another option is from images. Some queries sometimes show image one-boxes (where you have a bunch of images towards the top of the results), and if an image from your pages is shown there, you’d see that as an impression in Search Console (similarly if the image is shown in the knowledge panel part on the side). I suspect not a lot of these images get clicks, so it can appear that you have a large number of impressions, a high position, but few clicks for those queries.”

 Mueller recommends examining the data in Search Console differently to determine where the impressions are coming from.

Once you identify the country of origin, you can adjust Google’s advanced search settings to display results from that country.

The user experience will now be more accurate.

“When trying these out, make sure to drill down in the report to the appropriate country version, and use the appropriate advanced search setting for that country, so that you’re as close to what users see as you can.”

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