Once you’ve completed your SEO analysis and research on an existing site, your next step will be to identify your target pages and build a hierarchy structure for them. No matter what type of site you have (informational, affiliate, e-commerce, etc.), you need to have a few key target pages that act as “low hanging fruit” and allow Google search users to easily find your site.
In this article, we’ll give you a full crash course on target pages. We’ll start by explaining what they are and how to identify them. Then, we’ll get into the nitty-gritty details of how to optimize and track their performance using SEO techniques and our revolutionary Rank Tracker tool.
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Target pages are essentially the main pages of your site. These are the pages that outperform most of the other content on your site. They could be long-form articles and pillar content, a main ‘About’ page, a contact page, or even the home page of a website.
These target pages are going to be the pages that bring in the most visitors and rank for the best keywords. By focusing your efforts on optimizing these pages, your overall SEO efforts will have a greater impact and generate quicker results than if you were to focus on optimizing every page of the website at once.
Focusing on individual target pages also makes it easier for you to track your results. Instead of waiting for a bunch of micro-changes to cross-site content to take effect, you can make macro-changes to key target pages, and see serious results and important data.
The data you’ll gather from ranking your key target pages could include:
Top keywords visitors are using to find your page.
What type of content your visitors prefer.
The percentage of your visitors who convert into sales or clients.
You can then proceed to use this data to develop your other target pages, homepage, and pillar content.
Now that you know what target pages are, you may be wondering, “why do you need target pages, to begin with, and why are they important to SEO?”
In this section, we’ll provide you with some of the key reasons why you should focus on target pages before moving onto total-site SEO during your campaign.
From a business perspective, working on target pages first just makes sense. If you’re an SEO specialist, then it can often be hard to convince smaller clients to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a large-scale SEO campaign.
However, if you can break your SEO into “sections” by focusing on optimizing one key target page at a time, then it can often be a lot more affordable for the client. It also allows them to track your progress step-by-step and allows you to extend the terms of the contract on a monthly basis.
For example, you may do some great work for a wary client… After seeing everything you did for a main target page during your first month, they may hire you for a second month to work on another target page, and so on.
The Google algorithm values sites that have a good authority structure. This is commonly referred to as “silo structure” in the SEO community. Your target pages will often act as the main pillars of the site. Once they’re complete, you can boost the rank of each pillar by adding smaller blog posts under each category.
This allows your site to build deep, rather than building wide and shallow. In turn, this makes your site appear more authoritative, trustworthy, and better organized, thus boosting your SERPs ranking in Google search results.
By focusing on optimizing one target page at a time, you’ll be able to build on your previous success. Often, your hardest task will be optimizing the first target page. Then, once you’ve had a few weeks to generate analytical data on your new and improved target page, you can tweak your strategy and apply it to the site’s other target pages.
For example, you may discover that your page needs to have a certain word count or certain multi-media content to perform well. You may find that people find the target page using secondary or support keywords rather than primary keywords.
You can take all of this information you’ve obtained and apply it to building out the other target pages, making your process faster and more efficient.
Lastly, focusing on target pages can help with your link-building efforts. Once you’ve generated some data on one completed target page, you’ll be able to figure out how many internal links and backlinks that you’ll need to ensure that your other target pages have the best chance of success.
The number of backlinks it has.
The number of pages indexed on major search engines.
If any of your pages are un-crawlable (e.g. a forgotten robot.txt file).
Usability problems (broken links, redirects, etc.).
Our Web Audit tool analyzes over 100 different data points and site factors to generate a simple, easy-to-read report, showing you exactly what you need to improve as well as where the site’s doing well. The tool will also prioritize improvements so that you can focus on the important, most impactful fixes before moving on to the smaller fixes.
If you're just starting SEO on a website, then your first step will be to identify your tracking pages. The best way to do this is to use our Rank Tracker tool. This tool will allow you to keep track of your site’s overall performance.
More specifically, Rank Tracker allows you to track individual pages on your website!
This means that you can analyze each and every page on your website. You’ll be able to check on key metrics, such as:
It’s average position in search results (for Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex.
The main keyword that the page is ranking for.
The competition of the page ranking and keyword.
How many backlinks each page has.
How much traffic each page gets per month.
Having access to all of this data will provide you with critical information that you need to identify which pages are outperforming the rest. Then, you’ll be able to categorize each page as a target page or child page and give priority to the target pages you should be working on first.
For example, if you have two top-performing target pages, one might get 15,000 visitors/month while the other gets 18,5000 visitors/month. If you’re just starting out with your SEO campaign, you’d want to prioritize working on the 18.5k/month page before moving on to the 15k/month page.
As you analyze data from each page you run through the Rank Tracker tool, you’ll need a way of keeping it all organized. This is especially true for larger sites, as it’s easy to lose track of a 50+ page site.
For organizing pages, we suggest using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. As you work your way through the site, scanning the pages, dedicate a row of the spreadsheet to each page URL. Then you should have data columns that include:
Page priority (low, medium, high).
Page type (pillar, blog, lead capture, sales).
Search engine indexed: yes/no (Does it show up on search engines?).
Monthly traffic volume.
Main keyword the page ranks for.
Notes for improving the page rank.
Domain authority (its SERPs ranking).
Number of backlinks.
Link velocity (how quickly the page is generating new backlinks).
Admittedly, building your spreadsheet on each page of the site is going to be the most annoying and painstaking step of the process. Once it’s complete, though, you’ll have all of the data you need to identify which pages are your target pages.
You’ll be able to present this data to your client and it will give them an accurate picture of their site’s overall performance with a page-by-page breakdown. Not only will this increase your trust with the client but it will allow you to create a breakdown of the action plan you’ll be implementing to generate results.
After completing your initial analysis sheet of the site, you’ll need to identify which pages are target pages, prioritize them, and then figure out which ones are the most important to start on. All of the data you accumulated during your research process will help you with this.
In this section, we’ll discuss how to go about prioritizing target pages.
One of the easiest ways to determine which page is a target page is by its SERPs ranking. Again, this is data that can be easily obtained using our Rank Tracker tool. It will show you how each page on your site is performing over time, how much traffic it’s getting, and its position in Google search results for a specific keyword.
So, for example, instead of trying to rank that smaller page that’s way back on page 15 of Google, your efforts are better spent trying to rank the page that’s on page 6 or 7. It will be much easier to boost this page higher, resulting in exponentially more site traffic.
Generally speaking, your main lead generation pages and pillar content are going to be your target pages. Blogs are generally lower-priority and help with niche keywords or internal linking, but don’t convert as often as target lead generation pages.
It’s important that you treat your home page as a target page as well. This page is going to be at the top of your silo list and is going to be given automatic priority by the Google algorithm.
So, that being said, here are some good practices that you can implement to ensure that your site’s home page is clean, well-laid out, converts more visitors, and ranks higher:
Communicate Clear Value: Make sure that your value proposition is clear and at the top of the page. What do you offer, what makes it great, and why should visitors trust your site more than any other site on the internet?
De-Clutter Your Page: Home pages should be easy to read. Use large text, bullet points, and limit the amount of randomness. Remember, your pillar and lead generation articles will contain all of the in-depth knowledge your visitors might want. Your home page should be simple and powerful.
Use A Good Design Scheme: Everything from your color scheme to the media content on your home page should be engaging. Colors have a major impact on how our brains perceive information, so the more subliminal psychology you can implement in your home page, the better.
Freebies Always Sell: If possible, try to offer some type of “free” product on your home page. If it’s an e-comm site, try offering a BOGO deal or a first-time buyer coupon. If it’s a local service, try offering free consultations. If it’s a lead-gen site, offer a free e-book, guide, or trial period.
Testimonials: A few short, well-placed testimonials on your home page will do a ton to build trust and convert more visitors.
Limit Scrolling: Most home pages will be around 2-3 pages long, but make sure you don’t go over that. If a visitor has to spend more than 60 seconds reading from the top to the bottom of your supposedly “simple” home page, they’re going to get bored or frustrated and bounce.
Now that you’ve figured out and prioritized your site’s main target pages, it’s time to focus on the on-page SEO for each one. For this, you’ll need to work on aspects of the target page, such as:
Analyzing and improving primary, secondary, and supporting keywords.
Improving readability, grammar, and copy of the on-page content.
Adding CTAs (call-to-action) throughout the target page.
Interlinking your target page to child pages to create a better silo structure.
Working on the target page’s meta title and meta description (Google has a great guide on building high-converting snippets here).
Implementing rich results through the use of schema tags.
If you’re ready to start identifying and building high-converting target pages, then Ranktracker’s tool kit is a must-have. As we outlined above, our flagship tool, Rank Tracker, is able to help you identify and track the real-time performance of each individual page of your site.
Additionally, though, you can use our other tools to assist with your on-page SEO efforts to help build truly great target pages.
You can use the Web Audit tool to keep track of your site’s overall performance and see the total impact that your on-page SEO is having (as well as any key areas that need improvement).
We even have a special Backlink Checker tool in development that will make it easy to build high-quality backlinks for your site and track them over time!
At Ranktracker, we’re all about the details. Our tools are designed to give webmasters and SEO specialists the most detailed, accurate, and up-to-date information on their web pages and sites. This information will be the catalyst that allows you to create truly excellent sites that convert customers and rank high on SERPs results.
Are you ready to rank?