Google Explains Why A Site May Rank For Unusual Keywords

Google’s John Mueller explains why a website might show up for keywords that seem unusual or not related to what the site is 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?”

The original poster of the thread is puzzled by keywords showing up in their Search Console report. When trying to find their own site using the same keywords, they’re unable to find it even after ten pages of search results.

They can’t understand why their site is showing up for those keywords. What could be the reason?

Google’s John Mueller On Ranking For Random Keywords

If a site is showing up for unexpected queries, and the results can’t be easily replicated, the most likely reasons are either personalization and/or local targeting.

“Usually that’s personalization & local targeting. Often you can guess if the queries are expected to have a large amount 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).”

Mueller goes on to say that images are another reason this could be happening.

It’s possible that the site’s images are getting pulled into the one-boxes that appear at the top of search results, or the knowledge panels that appear on the side.

When an image is shown in a one-box or knowledge panel it gets logged as an impression in Search Console. If an odd keyword has a large number of impressions, a high ranking position, and few clicks, then images are likely why the site is ranking for those queries.

“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.”

Lastly, Mueller recommends taking a different approach to analyzing the data in Search Console to find out where the impressions are coming from.

Identify the country of origin, then adjust Google’s advanced search settings to show results from that country. Now you’ll have a closer representation of what users are seeing.

“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.”

Source: Reddit