GroupThink: You Have One Page to Optimize…

Filed in SEO by Matt McGee on July 29, 2008 8 Comments

“GroupThink” is where I turn the blog post over to you. 🙂

Let’s say you work for a large company with multiple departments, and each department controls its own section of the site. You’re the new SEO guy/gal, and the Marketing VP is afraid of what you’re going to do to the site as a whole.

Rather than let you loose on optimizing everything, they tell you, “For starters, we’ll give you one page to optimize. Depending on how it goes, we’ll let you optimize others later.”

What page do you choose?

Comments are open!

(Granted, I’m not telling you if this is a retail site, corporate info. site, or what. Pick one and tell me what you’d do. Or, if you have different answers for different types of sites, feel free to explain ’em all.)

Comments (8)

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  1. My strategy would be to find a page that’s badly optimized with little competition BUT already ranked somewhere close to the top 10 and linked from the homepage.

    If it’s badly optimized and close to the top 10, it shouldn’t take much to bump it up, especially with little competition. If there’s a link from the homepage to the page I’m working on, I won’t have to do much link building to push it up.

    And for this one, the term doesn’t really matter–I just want a quick, measurable success that impresses the non-SEO types so I can get my foot in the door.

  2. The home page of course. Well that is not the answer your looking for. You should say excluding the home page.

    So you look at the second level pages and pick one of those. You pick one that has most potential for visitors and least amount of competition.

    The problem we all know if that simply optimizing the page elements will not get you where you want. You need to make sure you touch other pages on the website to ensure internal navigation is correct to that one page.

    I have been asked this question before by potential clients and I usually say no joy.

  3. martijn says:

    Get their best product, but worst converting productpage and turn it into a gold mine.

  4. Here is my suggestion. Considering you appear to be dealing with a fairly good sized company with a multitude of “middle management” I would pick to optimize the page that will have the greatest benefit to the companies’ bottom line.

    Remember the most powerful thing you can do for a client is MAKE THEM MONEY.

  5. Matt McGee says:

    Good replies so far, thanks for your thoughts, gang. I’m gonna wait and see if anyone else wants to jump in before I toss out an idea for feedback on this situation.


  6. Reworking Frequently Asked Questions pages is often a good trick to build up some valuable content in an SEO- and Accessibility- friendly way. Also good for deep linking to internal pages, etc.

  7. Well, I’m definitely not going to do what Mark said – (no offense to you, Mark). If they want me to work for free to get their business, I certainly don’t want them to gain all the profit, should they decide to do it in-house after I bust hump to improve their ranking.

    Of course this depends on the business, local or national are 2 different animals – I wouldn’t bother wasting my time if it was a national deal, unless of course we’re talking a BIG client. If they’re local, and not attorneys or in real estate, I would check out their services/ products – examine the competition – pick the one that has the best chance ( i could care less if the page has any ranking at all, as long as it’s indexed. ).

    The one thing I would investigate beforehand though is site navigation. If the homepage, or any other page on the site, has links that are unreadable by the search engines due to some crappy javascript menu or something else, I might bow out. Then it WOULD require much more work-link building, article writing with links back to that page, etc… not worth it. Otherwise, on-page optimization should do the trick for the most part.

    I’m consistently able to get dramatic improvement in rankings almost immediately (within a few weeks anyway-often to the first page of google within a month or two) with most sites, just by fixing up the on-page issues. The key is organizing the content on the site correctly to begin with – that’s why I wouldn’t really do this type of job, unless we had a signed agreement that if this page improved by some pre-determined amount in the search engines, they agree to run a campaign.

  8. Matt McGee says:

    It occurs to me that I never chimed in on this conversation. Sorry about that.

    This is an impossible question to answer because I really didn’t give enough information. If I were answering this, I’d say “it depends on the site, the business, the industry they’re in, etc.” Props to all of you for not taking the easy way out. I was actually curious to see if anyone would choose the site map page. (Not the XML sitemap, the on-site site map page.) Assuming the home page links to the site map, you could theoretically optimize the you-know-what out of that site map, and give more weight and relevancy to all those internal links pointing out to the rest of the site. I’m not sure that would be my answer (depends on the above factors), but I think it would be something to consider.

    I also like Robert Carter’s, Jaan’s, Martijn’s, and Jono’s ideas, too. Thanks again for the interesting discussion.

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