Have you ever really paid attention to what is being displayed in the search results?
A common misconception is that search engines rank websites for certain keywords. When in reality, search engines rank a single web page on a given website that best matches the search query (among other things…).
That is why in this Optimized SEO and Websites blog post we will be covering the fact that search engines rank web pages, not websites.
If you want to rank on page 1 of Google, or Bing, or DuckDuckGo, or Yahoo, you must understand this.
Look At The URLs In These SERPs
To get us all on the same page very quickly, let’s take a look at the URLs in these SERPs screenshots below. The URL refers to the page linked to in the search results and SERPs simply means ‘search engine results pages.’
The 1st 6 results in these SERPs contained only 2 links to a website’s homepage. The SERPs had 4 links going to a page on a website other than the homepage, and Google decided to inject some rich results in the form of some FAQs related to the search query.
We choose ‘lawn mowing Florence KY’ as our search query for a couple of reasons. First, we think most people are familiar enough with what cutting grass means and what it entails. Second, it is an easy subject to create this blog post around to explain why understanding search engines rank web pages, not websites is so important.
The final reason we choose this topic is that we primarily work with service-based businesses. Our web design, SEO, and Ad knowledge are really geared towards services. With that said, we run very successful eCommerce stores and work with plenty of retailers and manufacturers offering products. We like making content that could benefit our core audience.
The fact that search engines rank web pages, not websites applies to any website though.
The Thought Process Behind Ranking Individual Web Pages
In very simple terms, the key takeaway is to make sure the content on each page is unique and focused on a very specific subject.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have multiple pages on the same general topic. In fact, it means you should have many pages on a general topic which you want to be found at the top of Google for multiple keyword phrases.
For example, say you’re a lawn service that has a dedicated page about your lawn mowing service and mowing clients are the #1 type of client you are trying to attract as new clients. Your mowing service certainly should be mentioned on your homepage and your ‘all services’ page if you have one (we feel these ‘all services’ pages are dead at this point…), and probably will naturally appear on a handful of other pages as well.
But, if you want to dominate the top of Google like our clients BNB Lawn Mowing does for the search term ‘lawn mowing Florence KY,’ you’re going to have to do a whole lot more as we did. Hence, why our client is dominating the top of Google for that particular search and numerous others desired by the business.
How To Rank Individual Web Pages
We’ll continue to use our client BNB Lawn Mowing to show you how and why they dominate the top Google in their service areas for multiple keyword phrases someone might type into Google when searching for a lawn mowing service.
Take a look at the screenshots with notes from their website https://bnblawnmowing.com to gain a better understanding of what we mean. Then, we’ll cover the on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO we implemented to make this happen.
Oh yeah, we should also mention we were running Google Ads targeting lawn mowing starting a couple of weeks before the grass started growing in the spring well into the summer months. At this point, if you want to grow your business via interested people searching for a product or service you offer, you must be complimenting your SEO efforts with Google Search Ads.
Link To Important Internal Pages From Your Homepage
In the 1st screenshot, we are looking at a hyperlink, in this case, it is ‘lawn mowing’ and you can tell that by the green underline. When the website visitor clicks or taps this link they will end up on the lawn mowing page of the website like they would expect.
By putting a link to this page towards the top of the website’s homepage, we are clearly telling Google we feel this page is important to our website viewers and we want to make sure they can get to that page very easily.
6 ‘Pages’ Are Dedicated To Related Keyword Phrases
Next, we are looking at the menu of the website which contains 6 pages dedicated to related keyword phrases.
We have a page focusing on the keyword phrases of ‘lawn mowing’ itself. We also cover the pricing of the lawn mowing service. The price is something a lot of people want to know when searching for a service of any type.
We also break down the service options for the client’s lawn mowing service. In this case, we break it down into weekly mowing, every other week lawn mowing, occasional lawn mowing, and 1-time mowing services. These are the 4 broad categories a lawn mowing client could fall into. Ideally, our client wants weekly mowing clients. The next best would be every other week mowing clients. They are willing to mow occasionally for people who travel or simply get busy from time to time, and they will provide a 1-time mowing service if that is all the person needs at that time.
4 ‘Blog Posts’ Are Dedicated To Related Keyword Phrases
We also beefed up content around the core topic of lawn mowing by writing blog posts around this topic. For your information, as far as the search engines are concerned, blog posts and web pages are the same!
Internal Links To Important Page Are Found On Other Internal Related Pages
The final screenshot shows yet another internal link leading a website viewer to the lawn mowing page of the website.
Think of links as ‘votes.’ We are voting for the lawn mowing page by linking to it. Yes. Linking to your important pages from other pages on your website does provide SEO value! Backlinks are links to a page on your website from another website. Backlinks can potentially be much more valuable than internal links as this is like a 3rd party is voting for that page on your website.
Other Optimizations To Highlight Important Keywords
Hopefully, you are beginning to get the idea. Our client really wanted to rank for lawn mowing so our optimizations all revolve around this popular keyword phrase.
There are optimizations we made over and beyond what we’ve shown you thus far and this is why hiring an expert SEO service like Optimized SEO and Websites is a good investment of your marketing dollars almost sure to produce a very healthy ROI. Nothing is guaranteed with SEO, but what we’ve found is if you follow the best practices the algorithms don’t have much choice but to show the pages we want for the search queries we optimize for.
The optimizations we made to rank the lawn mowing page on this website also include the URL structure we choose. This refers to what you used after the .com/ of the website domain name. Here is the URL of the lawn mowing pricing page; https://bnblawnmowing.com/services/lawn-care/lawn-mowing/pricing/. Here is the URL of the weekly lawn mowing page; https://bnblawnmowing.com/services/lawn-care/lawn-mowing/weekly-lawn-mowing-service/.
We made sure not to cannibalize any of the pages by making sure each page’s ‘focus keyword’ did not overlap and take away value from another page. The content on each page stays very focused on that specific keyword phrase.
Pro-tip for those using the Yoast SEO plugin. We love Yoast, but many of our clients do not understand the greenlight system used by Yoast to get you an idea of how well optimized a page is towards the ‘focus keyword’ you picked and entered for that page. The search engines to now know or care what you picked at the ‘focus keyword.’ If you pick the wrong ‘focus keyword’ and optimize around it until your ‘all green’ it means nothing!
We optimized page titles and meta descriptions. We are still seeing plenty of websites we look at failing to set their preferred page title and meta description. It’s super easy and provides a lot of value.
We used schema markup. Schema is code you can add to any web page to get the search engines the data contained on that page is a manner they will surely understand. Remember the FAQ rich snippet in the search results, those FAQ pages were marked up with schema markup and that is why they were eligible to show in the search results like that. FYI, schema markup is how you can become the ‘voice search’ result too.
Additional Optimizations We Made For Keywords
We created a ton of citations for our client. We made sure to list lawn mowing as a service on every citation we created that allowed for individual services to be listed.
We post to Google My Business and Facebook weekly for this client. Many of our posts revolve around lawn mowing, go figure.
As mentioned earlier, we run Google Search Ads for lawn mowing and related keyword phrases.
We got our client backlinks from industry-specific websites.
Ready To Rank Your Keywords?
Our hope is you have learned enough about how search engines rank web pages, not websites by reading this blog!
We also kind of hope you are a little overwhelmed and now just want to hire us to perform the SEO work!
If you want to do it yourself, best of luck. If you’d like us to do it for you, contact us!