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On-site Optimization for Two Similar Phrases on Home Page

4:32 pm on Dec 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks to Webmaster World and other great Web forums I've been able to help the company I work at acheive a #1 ranking in Google for "Widget Marking". It's truely a great achievement. But, now we're looking to try to also rank highly in "Widget Cutting". Of course, I'm just using these terms as replacements for what we are actually targeting. We ranking around 15 or so (2nd page) for "Widget Cutting"; but we are looking to improve it.

What "on-site" steps would you suggest for getting "Widget Cutting" into the top 5 on the first page, without hurting our #1 position for "Widget Marking"?

At the moment, both "Widget Cutting" and "Widget Marking" are in the Title tag and in H1. For example, the Title would be something like "Widget Marking, Widget Cutting by the Widget Guys". The H1 tag is something like "Widget Marking, Cutting & Engraving Machines". No H2 tags used. Some well written textual content. Links to top level pages with the target keyword phrases are linked high up in the text content (first line). The keyword phrases have a frequency count of 7 or less. Prominence is high in the page.

Thanks for any comments and help.

10:25 pm on Dec 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I've found that it's best, especially with important keywords, to create a directory for each theme and not try to rank the Home Page (or any one single page) for both keywords. Intentionally splitting the focus of a page can lead to all kinds of ranking complications.

It's easier to give the second phrase a dedicated directory, and include a Home Page text link pointing to that directory's index page - especially in the content area. That approach sends clean and distinct relevance signals, and it offers two different urls to attract focused backlinks.

Sometimes with that approach, the home page can end up ranking for both terms anyway - which is its own frustration after developing a substantial focused directory. But that's another story, and much lower level of trouble than not ranking well at all.

2:27 pm on Dec 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

It's interesting that you bring up the directory structure. I've always believe it to be a negative to use directory structure within the URLs. I tend to rely on the majority of my files being in (or looking as if) the base/root directory of the site.
10:21 pm on Dec 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

In the earlier days of search engines, sites that were quite "flat" seemed to perform better. But today, that doesn't seem to be the case. I find that a site's Information Architecture, signalled through both the link structure and the directory structure, can be a big help. The larger a site becomes, the more valuable those separate "themes" or "silos" can be in communicating valuable semantic and relevance information.
7:47 pm on Dec 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I thought I'd add a bit more. More important than the structure of the URL is this principle - use a different page to target a different phrase. Trying to optimize one page for several purposes can be problematic, although when it happens, it's a happy thing. I find that it's more likely to happen for the home page when there's a link from home page to a page that focuses on the related phrase.

Creating a "directory" structure (whether real or through a url rewrite schema) can help a small bit by getting a new word into the file path of the url. You may also achieve the same result with a flat structure as well - but I find the key is not to intentionally "optimize" one page for more than one phrase. There's a similar principle in some martial arts poses. They minimize the time that both feet are "weighted" to the ground, because double-weightedness can restrict the potential responses.

3:41 pm on Jan 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

In terms of url, directory structures and navigation menus - is it feasible to include some examples that achieve 'best practice' (obviously withour using actual websites)?
5:43 pm on Jan 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I recently worked with an international site that did a nice job with a redesign and improved their search traffic dramatically. They rewrote their urls to look like this:


The main navigation links to a top level directory style page for brandnames, or product feature or countries, rather than linking to each of the individual pages.

12:14 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Somewhat off topic from where this thread started but where it has ended. I have a website that generates a reasonable amount of traffic and sales for Widgets that are largely for the UK and Europe market. I also have another website (that hasn't had as much work done on it - very few incoming links - relatively light content - therefore very light traffic) that provides Widgets for the US market. Both are hosted by the same US company. Both sites are 3+ years old. Should I a) work on promoting the US Widget website with more content and seo as a stand alone website or B) bring the US Widget into my main UK website and add the US market as a directory. The Widgets are essentially the same type of product/service - just in different places.

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