A website is ranked better even though it’s not as well optimized for SEO than the others

The SERP analysis allows you to get an overall view of the SEO optimization of different ranked pages in the SERP (search engine results page), and allows you to understand why a page is ranked above another one. 

In some cases the better ranked website can have lower scores than lower ranked websites. This is completely normal! Here are the different reasons behind this: 

1. The most frequent case is that the better ranked site provides a better response to the visitors requests. In other words the users prefer the content of this site, its bounce rate (the number of users that immediately leave a page to go onto another result over the total number of visits) is therefore inferior to other sites.
Example: The search on ‘billiards’, site B can’t seem to get in front of site A even thought it’s better optimized. This is explained by the fact that site A offers to sell billiards online and displays the prices whereas site B doesn’t display the prices. Internet users prefer the content of site A, its bounce rate is therefore inferior to site B and is given an advantage in the SERP. 
Our advice: We recommend that you open-up both sites next to each other, imagine that you’re a visitor carrying out a research and ask yourself this question: ‘Which website best answers my request?’. Different elements can influence this response: design, offer, ergonomics, photos, value proposition, etc. 

2. Brand influence.  It’s possible that a website is ranked in first place, even if it’s not the best optimized site, if it’s a known brand. Of course, if an internet user researches a brand name (example: ‘amazon’), it’s completely normal that they’ll only click on the site of this brand.
But brand influence is also possible on generic keywords. This happens when a user decides to click on a particular result because they heard the brand name on TV or on the radio for example. This phenomenon influences the Click-through-Rate (CTR, the number of people that click on a link in the SERP vis-à-vis the number of views). The website in question will therefore naturally be favored as Google will consider that it best meets the users expectations.
Our advice: It’s difficult to get over this obstacle without carrying out aggressive marketing campaigns. We advise you to check that the problem isn’t coming from the bounce rate (cf. point 1.), and if the problem persists, rethink your global strategy. 

3. Recent changes. It’s possible that this rank explains itself because it comes from a change on pages which hasn’t yet had an effect in the Google results. It’s therefore essential to wait and have a history of a few days before putting in place corrective actions. Page changes are saved and detected everyday in the SERP History tab.