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Using subpages vs using blog posts as optimized entry points for SEO?

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by brballinger, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. brballinger

    brballinger Newbie

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    Hi guys, I am new here and hope I'm following the rules, but if not I apologize in advance. Let me start off by saying I am primarily a fitness trainer, not an SEO guy so these questions may seem overly rudimentary?again I apologize in advance if that's the case.

    Anyway, I am wondering if it makes more sense to approach my organic SEO efforts by utilizing subpages or blog posts for my keyword-optimized entry points.

    A little backstory: I own a strength and conditioning gym that is home to a few different service programs, like various private training and fitness bootcamp programs. Each of my services has it's own domain in the form of a mini-site sales page with a call to action, and my gym itself has its own domain and is essentially my main website with a full blog, subpages, etc.

    I have done all my keyword research and am looking to boost my rankings for the most relevant, searched-for terms in my local area. Because this is such a niche thing and the inherently local nature of a gym business, I have very specific keyword phrases that I am using, and am honestly in no way interested in ranking well for more general keywords. (e.g I am infinitely more concerned with ranking #1 for "personal training costa mesa" than I am for "personal training", even though the search volume for the more general term is exponentially higher, because a microscopic amount of those people searching generally for "personal training" are actually viable prospects for me, compared to a high amount searching for the more long-tail phrase).

    I'm trying to determine if it makes more sense, both from a logical and from a usability perspective, to use sub-pages based around the keywords I am optimizing for as my entry points for my keyword phrases, or would it make more sense to use blog posts as the entry points? Since I will be doing my own SEO and building back links and stuff I want to make sure my efforts are going towards the best choice.

    If I was to use a subpage, my content would be structured like a sales/info page more than likely, while if it were a blog post it could be much more informational and less salesy, in the form of an article. What makes more sense? Would someone typing "personal training costa mesa" be more interested in an article providing information about how to say, choose the best personal trainer in their area (with a link on that page to an info page about my personal training services), or would they prefer to be linked straight to the page discussing MY personal training service, (basically me assuming they are ready to buy MY service)?

    Knowing this information now will help me keep my SEO efforts efficient. If the answer is to do separate sub-pages, each individualized for specific keyword phrase groups, I can create the subpages and then begin growing my backlinks and submitting it to directories and stuff. This is how I've approached SEO projects in the past for previous websites, but it's always been hard to make sure I avoid duplicate content while still providing quality copy on each iteration of the pages.

    However, if the answer is to do blog posts instead, then I think it would be prudent for me to write the blog posts instead and avoid making the optimized subpages all together, instead linking these SEO-optimized blog posts to a single generic sales page for the program (so I can completely avoid dealing with duplicate content situation).

    So, cliffnotes, which is better:

    Subpage optimization
    domain dot com/service1/geographically-optimized-entry-sales-page-1
    domain dot com/service1/geographically-optimized-entry-sales-page-2
    domain dot com/service2/geographically-optimized-entry-sales-page-1
    domain dot com/service2/geographically-optimized-entry-sales-page-2
    etc...

    or

    Blog post optimization
    domain dot com/geographically-optimized-informational-blog-post-1
    domain dot com/geographically-optimized-informational-blog-post-2
    domain dot com/geographically-optimized-informational-blog-post-3
    domain dot com/geographically-optimized-informational-blog-post-4
    etc...

    Thanks a lot for your time and I look forward to learning from you guys on the subject!
     
  2. Endire

    Endire Elite Member Premium Member

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    Brballinger,

    When you say "entry points" are you talking about landing pages and using pages optimized for a specific keyword as a landing page from anchor text on some other property? If so, then yes this would be a good strategy as far as usability. When users are on other web properties, say a wiki, and see a keyword displayed as a hyperlink that they want to learn more about, it would only make sense that the page they land on is optimized for that word.

    Whether you use blog posts or pages as the landing page doesn't really matter as long as the page is optimized for the keyword you are linking to it and the page doesn't change.

    You may want to consider reading up on the basics,

    http://www.seomoz.org/learn-seo

    Hope that helps,

    Shawn
     
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  3. brballinger

    brballinger Newbie

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    Hi Shawn, thank you for the reply!

    To answer your question about what I mean by entry points, yes and no. I am referring to the page that is optimized for that keyword phrase, which would serve as the first page someone lands on when they type that search phrase into the search engine (and my backlinks would simply be those same phrases to help build my rank for those terms). 99% of my prospective visitors are going to come from searching something like "personal training costa mesa" in google, not from a backlink from another website... those would simply be used as tools to help build my ranking in Google's eyes for those search terms.

    I agree that from a technical standpoint it probably doesn't matter which I use, but I'm trying to look at it from an organizational view. I do all my own web work and my brain is very OCD and if I get messy with my stuff, I get overwhelmed and end up throwing my hands up and walking away. I know that I will need to continue working on my SEO for this business throughout the future, so I need to make sure I set up a good, quality system now, rather than doing the first thing that comes to mind that may work now but may cause a headache to change in the future.

    So, beyond simply leading them to a page that is optimized for the keyword... I also want to ensure that the CONTENT of that page is optimized for what the visitor is actually LOOKING for.

    The question is one of intent. Is someone who is searching for "personal trainer costa mesa" looking to HIRE a personal trainer, and that's why they're searching google? If that's the case, taking them straight to my keyword-optimized sales letter as the initial landing page would make the most sense I'd imagine.

    Or, is said person looking for more information on potential personal training businesses that they might want to hire? Rather than being shown a hard-sell, maybe they are looking for an article on what kinds of warning signs to look out for when searching for a personal trainer in Costa Mesa... something like that. Sending them to a keyword-optimized blog post that addresses whatever this question might be would make the most sense in this case.

    So thus: keyword-optimized sales page as the landing page for search terms, or keyword-optimized informational article that foresees what their intent was and addresses this intent (assuming their intent was NOT to immediately buy?)

    And as such, how do I determine which mindset these people are in, and provide the best possible landing page (both in terms of what they would want to see, and at the end of the day, what would convert best into business for me) based on their intent?

    I realize some of this stuff may seem pointless right now but I do NOT want to have to rethink my SEO strategy every time Google lays the smack down with updates. They have made it clear they want webmasters to organize their sites in as easy-to-use of a manner as possible, rather than to try to game the engines with crappy keywork-optimized pages that really don't offer any useful information. So I want to make sure I do offer that from the beginning which is why I'm focusing on this so obsessively.

    Thanks a lot for the help so far :)