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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Classmates is getting rankings

I was asked for the Classmates.com address the other day and since I hadn't been there in a while I went to Google and typed "classmates renton". I was surprised to see that registration form page for the "classmates test high school"
I hate to say this but the fact that tis page is ranking is wrong on so many levels.
From a usability standpoint - most people looking for the classmates address (such as myself) while Google ha it on the map, to see this page i the results is very confusing. How many of these pages are ranking? I have come across the final form page on several occasions while searching schools, or other such affiliations (researching schools for the kids). The problem is that a user coming to this page for any other reason than to sign up for classmates.com is very confused as to what they should do. This page is meant to be the last in a 5 page registration process in which a user starts from www.classmates.com and then flows through to the school they attended when they graduated. I had mentioned this while the SEO Manager at classmates.com but they chose to keep the pages as is, and decided not to make the fix in order to get the actual landing pages that we had designed and launched in December 2006. The pages were designed to recognize who would be landing on these pages, give the user a clear understanding as to why they were there, and what we would like them to do once there (The target audience, value proposition, and call to action). Those pages went from a 10% conversion rate (that's being nice) to a 50% to often 60% conversion rate.
It's a shame that the registration form page is ranking higher than the intended landing page.

The second reason why it's a bad thing to see this page listed is that the page is the test high school that the QA department uses in order to ensure there are no bugs in the registration process.
If it were me, I would remove it from the index through the webmaster tools, and then add it to the robots.txt to ensure that it wouldn't ever rank again.

Maybe even suggest that we not let it go to prod, and leep it on the QA servers just for testing.