I frequently get asked to look at a page to see if I think it is perfectly optimized. But I rarely think you can tell if a page is perfectly optimized just by looking at one page. Most of the optimized pages I am asked to look at have no clear goal at hand. Is the page meant to be link bait? Am I supposed to buy from the page? How is the page integrated into your site? How do people find this page? What sort of brand equity have you built up?
No matter what you are doing you are always Electioneering. Does your site sell ad space? Are you trying to manipulate public opinion? In many ways just having open access to people who are willing to answer your questions is highly valuable even if that is the only aim of a page.
The key to doing well is to gain enough authority and mindshare to be in a self reinforcing market position or to have enough momentum to be able to jump from field to field. Examples:
- What is Home Depot? A retailer? Or a large home improvement ad network? They are willing to test adding ads to their site, which may allow them to leverage their brand for high margin revenue streams and discover new products and new markets while competing retail only stores are forced to close due to shrinking margins (I just tried shopping at the local Lowes but they closed down).
- The Wall Street Journal is going to sell front page ads.
- Some newspaper websites include syndicated links from blogs. Recently some newspaper publishers have even decided to add links to competing content near their stories.
- Ken McCarthy has been an internet marketer longer than I have known what the internet is about. He recently asked on his blog what Google did with their recent AdWords update. He must have got fifty to a hundred responses.
The issue with just looking at "is this page optimized" is that all markets are heavily manipulated and search frequently changes. If you just maximize one portion of your optimization process without considering the social aspects of the web, short and long term goals, or how your site fits into the web as a whole then when one of the market makers changes the rules you are relegated to leaving whiny comments about how that market maker is evil.
One of the reasons I never published SEO Book in print format is that my self image is quite low, and I never think what I do is good enough (I realize I should not have wrote that). But as time has passed I came to appreciate that the whole concept of optimization really is about predicting market changes and getting the most of the current market as you can. Any sort of optimization has associated opportunity costs and is only effective for a certain window of time. What was perfect optimization a year or two ago is now largely inefficient and ineffective as some of the market makers have closed some of their algorithmic holes.
Long term optimization would be "create high quality content that users like that would make a search engine inadequate if it was not ranked." But when you are starting from nothing, sometimes it helps to take advantage of a few market inefficiencies to help build the exposure necessary to build a self reinforcing position which may allow you to jump from field to field.
And the web is such a social medium that it requires understanding people far more than algorithms. At least for most businesses. And human nature changes much slower than the web and search algorithms do. But you can't understand how well a person speaks to / with their audience just by looking at one web page.
I might have a kick ass copywriter edit my sales letter to improve its conversion rate. I am not afraid of paying him to write it, but my biggest fear with optimizing it is that if I push conversion too much, then what will that do to the consistency of my voice across my site?
Gain a Competitive Advantage Today
Your top competitors have been investing into their marketing strategy for years.
Now you can know exactly where they rank, pick off their best keywords, and track new opportunities as they emerge.
Explore the ranking profile of your competitors in Google and Bing today using SEMrush.
Enter a competing URL below to quickly gain access to their organic & paid search performance history - for free.
See where they rank & beat them!
- Comprehensive competitive data: research performance across organic search, AdWords, Bing ads, video, display ads, and more.
- Compare Across Channels: use someone's AdWords strategy to drive your SEO growth, or use their SEO strategy to invest in paid search.
- Global footprint: Tracks Google results for 120+ million keywords in many languages across 28 markets
- Historical data: since 2009, before Panda and Penguin existed, so you can look for historical penalties and other potential ranking issues.
- Risk-free: Free trial & low price.