Content Strategy: Divide and Conquer

I imagine it is quite safe to say that most of us in the search marketing sphere have heard the quote “content is king” a few thousand times or so. But is it really? Is content really the trump card? Will 1000 words of moderately relevant content get me to page one tomorrow?

The fact of the matter is that yes, “content is king”. In my opinion, 200 words of highly targeted copy will do more for your search marketing efforts than a 1000 words focused too broadly on several different terms. Now for those of you who are hell bent on broad keyword focus and putting all your eggs in the Latent Semantic Indexing basket, this may not be the type of strategic thinking that you want to hear. But for those of in search of optimizing further down the tail, increasing site pages and giving your visitors the exact content they what to read…then read on.

Too often I work on sites with a small amount of copy on site pages. When I begin working with a site with an abundance of site copy I am truly elated, but often I find pages where there is too much copy on site pages. Too much copy on site pages? Yes, that’s right an SEO just said that. The problem here is that the expanse of copy is covering so many keyword topics that it dilutes any one term’s intended keyword focus. Whenever I encounter this problem I go with the old methodology of “divide and conquer”.  For example, you have a page which describes in 1000 words the five different industries your company provides services for divided by sub-headings. This is a great opportunity to keep this page as a linking page to five separate pages which each now better focus on “’x’ services for the ‘x’ industry”.  Each page’s content is now extremely focused on this topic and will likely better rank for this specific term better than before when it was only a fifth of the page’s keyword focus.

Several site areas can take advantage of this content strategy. An FAQ page with 15 great keyword-rich questions with 15 keyword-rich answers with a moderate amount of copy can easily become 15 new site pages highly targeted for long tail question searches on the web.  This strategy rings true for glossary terms on a site. An abundant definition now receives its own page where before it was one of 50 terms on a page, and now, you have 50 highly targeted pages ready to rank for definition searchers. I think by now that you get the picture, “content is king” in SEO, and will be for some time to come. But it doesn’t end at that, the “divide and conquer” method ensures that your content will work for you instead of existing as a nothing more than a bulk of un-focused content.

Content Strategy: Divide and Conquer” Comments

  1. […] colleague of mine recently wrote a great blog post about website content and how it relates to search engine optimization. It’s all about a […]

  2. Great post, Josh!
    I couldn't agree more. I find it is important to break up content and create pages for each meaningful "concept." If you have a website that talks about the effects of different pharmaceuticals, you wouldn't want one giant FAQ-style page for each drug you were discussing. As you rightfully state, it dilutes the ability to rank for any one single "concept" on that page.
    However, I do believe that there are limits to the effectiveness of this segmentation. For example, if you have a real estate website, you'd want to rank for concepts like the following:
    "House for sale"
    "House for sale in Ohio"
    "House for sale in Springfield, OH"
    "Two-Bedroom House for Sale in Springfield, OH"
    Each "concept" here would potentially have it's own page. The key is to know when to quit.
    It's likely that long tail searches could include queries like "Two-Bedroom House for sale in Springfield, OH with Central Air." Would you create this URL: ""? Where would it end?
    The idea is to create a strong-enough "Two-bedroom house in Springfield, OH" page so that it would rank for all the other possible amenities. See where I'm going here? If you create too many pages that could all conceivable compete for the concept of "two-bedroom house in "Springfield, OH," you risk diluting the possibility of any of them ranking… or you lose control of the page you WANT to rank by putting out too many URLs.
    You don't want to have one page competing for multiple concepts. On the flip-side, you don't want too many pages competing for one concept.
    Enjoyed the post!
    -ken shafer

    • Ken, I absolutely agree. There is a sweet spot to this. You want to make focused but not go overboard. I usually find that sweet spot in keyword research, if you are drilling done too far you get low search volume and usually run into the duplication effect as you stated.

  3. Great advice for smaller sites, but wouldn't you say there is a limit to this based on indexing? If someone has a 100K page site and only 30K pages indexed it seems they may take the alternate strategy and consolidate. Thoughts?

Comments are closed.