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SEO is not about optimizing a single page

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been around a long time. And it has changed a lot over the years. But one thing that has been true for more than a decade is still the source of confusion for my clients. The conversation usually goes something like this:

Client: We’ve done keyword research and we decided that there is a really important keyword that we have been completely missing, so we built a new page and optimized it, but it’s not ranking.

Me: Well, it often takes a while for a new page to rank, but is this the only page on your site for this subject?

Client: Uh, yeah, but why does that matter?

Me: [Sigh.]

SEO is not a set of parlor tricks where your company is the magician. SEO is a transaction between content owners, searchers, and the search engine. Unless the transaction works for all parties, it is probably a technique that won’t work, or won’t work for very long.

So let’s think about this from the searcher’s point of view. If the searcher enters this newly-discovered critical keyword, would they rather land on a site that has a hundred pages on that subject, a dozen pages on that subject, or, uh, one?

Seems kind of obvious when you think about it that way, right? They want to go to a site that has a lot of content on that subject, because if they don’t find their answer on that one page, they can probably click around on that website and find it. And they can explore more deeply if they want.

So, if the searcher wants to find a site that has the answer, rather than just a page, what do you think Google wants to show them? That’s right—they want to show that expert site on the subject. And Google can easily determine whether you have one page on a subject or whether you have dozens or hundreds.

So, the searcher wants more than one page and Google knows how to deliver it. That means that you better have a better site on that subject than the ones that are already ranking, not just one really good page.

This isn’t new. And I don’t think it’s going to change. So what are you waiting for?


Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website,, most recently as the Manager of Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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