Ep 3.4: To Optimise or Not to Optimise: Which Pages Need to Rank?

HomeGeek SpeakPodcastEp 3.4: To Optimise or Not to ...

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Genny: Happy New Year, listeners. I hope that the first few weeks of 2024 have been filled with resolutions fulfilled and a renewed sense of purpose in both your personal and professional lives. I kept thinking that for the first episode of the year, I should probably do something like a SEO trend forecast for 2024 or something cheesy about SEO New Year’s Resolutions, but I’ve decided to go in a different direction this month because I feel like there’s something really essential that we at SEO Unfiltered haven’t covered yet, and it’s one of those questions that have been staring at us right in the face this whole time and now that I know it’s there, it’s hard to ignore.


The obvious question that we should have answered a long time ago was, “does every page on a website need to be optimised?”


Obvious question, right? And you might be surprised to learn that the answer is: No, you do not need to optimise every single page on your website.


Before I start to tell you why, lemme explain to you first what exactly I mean when I say optimise a page:


A page has been optimised when it has a keyword focus, follows on-page and content best practices, and receives backlinks from other sites. The main point of this page is to get ranked for that specific keyword, which tells you the difference, at least in my mind, between an optimised and an unoptimised page.


Now, since SEO is lauded as this magical formula to win more visitors to your site, you might be thinking that it makes sense to optimise every page for a specific keyword. The more optimised pages you have, the greater the chance of being seen by a potential customer, right? Well, not exactly.


It’s time to start thinking about your web content as two distinct categories: landing pages and brochure pages. Landing pages are optimised for a target keyword and brochure pages typically are not, but both serve a vital function in the overall marketing and credibility building of your website.


So what is a brochure page and why don’t we optimise it?


It may go by another name, but a brochure page is simply an informational page that sits on your website in plain view, i.e. probably everything that’s on your site’s menu right now: The About, Services, Contact, How it Works, and Pricing pages are pretty much a straightforward description of your company and services.


These pages don’t have a lot of content, and they are really only focused on providing useful information. As such, brochure pages just do not rank well. They’re just not set up for conversions and, honestly, what would the keyword focus be on your Contact Us page anyway?


These pages may lack a keyword focus, content strategy, or funnel activity, but they are really important for establishing your site’s credibility, so while they don’t need keyword optimisation, they still need to be user-friendly, well-written, and follow technical best practices.


Should your homepage be optimised for a single keyword? I’m gonna say no, that’s probably not a great idea. For starters, unless you’re a one-trick pony and the name of your company also happens to be the name of the product or service you sell, focusing on only one keyword isn’t a great idea and opens the door to a myriad of problems that are time-consuming or annoying to fix down the road, so why bother?


Home pages are like showcases. They give the viewer an honest, overall glimpse of what’s inside, rather than focus on a specific product, service, or keyword.


You’re better off using your home page content to tell visitors exactly what you’re about by naturally including a small subset of keywords within the page. Your content doesn’t have to meet a specific word count, which means there’s more room for creativity and design. Woohoo!


Now that we’ve wrapped our head around brochure pages and how to use them, let’s move on to the brochure page’s more flamboyant older brother, the landing page.


(FYI just to confuse you, all web pages are landing pages if you can land on them, but for the purposes of this conversation, let’s pretend that they are definitely not the same thing)


What makes a landing page different from brochure pages? A landing page has a specific keyword focus as well as an intent, both of which dictate what the content is about. The landing page is about one specific topic and include calls-to-action that are designed to get the reader to take another step down the marketing funnel. A landing page can be transactional, educational, commercial, or local.


The landing page is written with the express purpose of increasing your exposure on search result pages by ranking high on Google and therefore by outranking competing pages.


Let’s look at an example of a single topic presented on both a brochure page and a landing page.


Let’s talk about red widget maintenance. A brochure page’s H1 might be something like “Red Widget Maintenance Services”, whereas a landing page might read something more along the lines of “How Red Widget Maintenance Services Can Save You Thousands”.


A red widget maintenance service page lists the company’s services in detail alongside the specific pricing tiers. The page may direct the user to the Contact page in order to schedule maintenance, or it may have a form directly on the page.

A red widget landing page, on the other hand, quickly acknowledges the reader’s pain points associated with needing their red widget serviced, and lists the features and benefits of regularly servicing one’s red widget, as well as the risks involved in not getting your red widgets regularly maintenanced by a professional team. If it’s a top-of-funnel page, its CTA could be a lead magnet, like a ROI calculator or something like that.

Now that we’ve hopefully established the difference between brochure and landing pages, let’s see if we can answer the question, “should I or shouldn’t I optimise my page, or rather, should I create a brochure page or a landing page?

So question #1: Are you trying to sell a product or service but you’re up against heavy competition? You’ll be better off creating a brochure page and a landing page.


#2: Is your device’s installation process tricky to explain without the heavy use of images and graphs? You want to make sure that you provide your customer with clear and straightforward instructions, so you’ll be better off using a brochure page.


#3: Do you want to create an ad campaign for an upcoming holiday sale that’ll only run this time of year? A page with a single focus and a clear call-to-action? Well, if you’ve been paying attention, then you’ll probably guess a landing page.


#4: Do you want to demonstrate your company’s real-world successes using a case study with graphs, screenshots, and client testimonials? You’ll be spending a lot of time talking about your company’s processes and how you helped your client achieve their success; therefore, no landing page needed.


#5: Are you spending months and months and thousands of dollars/pounds/euros conducting a study with reputable researchers, hundreds of participants, and reams of data? And are you doing all this to compile a huge whitepaper that demonstrates the positive impact your product has on a segment of the population? This is not even by definition a landing page, so don’t worry about a keyword focus. Instead, you’re better off using this as gated content.


#6: Do you want to demonstrate the softer side of your company by creating blog and social content that show the humans behind the brand and give the world a taste of what it’s like working for such an awesome company? That sounds awesome, and that kind of content makes a huge impact. It’s almost as if the corporate world is starved for it actually—but guess what? Unless you’re hiring, you probably don’t need to build a landing page for it.


#7: Do you have a brand-new, never-before-seen SaaS product about to drop in the B2B market? Well, if you’ve just created a brand-new term, you’re probably going to find that the search volume is low. So, I would recommend you build a brochure page for this new fandangle term that you guys have invented, and then to create a series of landing pages aimed at your target audience with a related keyword focus so that you hook them in with a familiar term and then introduce them to your new product. It’s what we call in the business, the ol’ bait and switch.


If you think about it, determining the type of page you write really boils down to who the page focuses on—you or the reader. Once you’ve figured that out, the rest will fall into place. If you do happen to write a landing page, don’t forget to follow our on-page best practices and to head over to Google’s Helpful Content guidelines if you’re using AI-generated content.


That’s about it folks. I think we’ve successfully cleared up the mystery and confusion, but if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us directly. And on that note, Happy New Year

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Show Notes

Let’s start off the new year with a simple question: do all pages need to be optimised? And really, what is the difference between an optimised and an unoptimised page?

We can’t believe we’ve gone through three seasons of SEO Unfiltered without having addressed these very simple questions. Well, today we are going to answer them once and for all.

Whether you’re new to digital marketing or have been plugging away at your own SEO for a while now, this may be a bit confusing, so listen to this brief episode where Genny will explain the difference between a brochure page (which doesn’t necessarily have a keyword focus) and a landing page (which most certainly should have a keyword focus).

Spoiler Alert 🚨 Not all pages need to be optimised, but all pages should be created to a high standard.

Suggested Readings

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About the Author
Picture of Genny Methot
Genny Methot
Genny Methot is Geeky Tech’s storyteller. She heads up our social media content, blog posts, and the Geek Speak podcast. Click here to learn more about Genny.
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