Focus Pages are all about SEO strategy and making sure that the most important pages on your site, your money-makers, reach the TOP 10 of Google Search.
Just like you use your car’s GPS to get the fastest route to your destination, you can use Focus Pages to generate a customized path to Search Engine Success for each one of your pages – and systematically rank your pages on Google.
This strategy can successfully be applied to any website, in any niche, big or small.
Yes, you can apply it for:
- a construction company’s website
- a cleaning services company
- a SaaS (software as a service) presentation website
- a huge blog (over 20,000 articles)
- an e-commerce store
- a photography services site
Why does it make sense for this to work for any kind of site?
- Because Google does NOT discriminate according to the type of site.
They (the Google bot crawlers and their algorithms) look at ranking factors above all else.
- Focus Pages are all about analyzing your most important pages according to all the important ranking factors and making adjustments so that Google will love your website more than the other competing websites.
Also, the following information is crucial to get the most out of using Squirrly SEO and supercharging your rankings.
▶️ Feature walk-though [from minute 36:16 – 48:00]
Do I need an SEO Strategy?
Yes, because your end goal might change from time to time. Sometimes, you try to get more visibility. Sometimes, you try to get more conversions. Sometimes, you try to get more sales.
These goals are very different in nature and sometimes they require different plans, different sets of steps to reach these goals.
Getting tens of thousands of visits doesn’t necessarily mean getting more sales. Especially if you don’t have a sales funnel, you could write the best article in the world about Free-to-Play gaming (real example from a customer), get tens of thousands of views (both from SEO and Social Media) and still not be able to sell more of the games that your indie game dev studio creates.
Do you have a purely SEO-based strategy, or is SEO just another marketing channel for you? Are you using cross-channel marketing? Think about what you’re trying to achieve. What’s the GOAL? Why do SEO in the first place?
What Are Focus Pages?
These are the most important pages on your site. They are your money-makers, a limited number of pages on your site that you would want visitors who’ve never visited your WordPress website to see.
These are the pages you most want to rank on the 1st Page of Google, 4, 5 pages (if you have a bigger site) which help you earn customers, get partnerships, get email subscribers, sell your products/services – whatever your goal is.
A few details about Focus Pages (they don’t need to meet ALL the following requirements, because these things can depend from goal to goal, business to business):
- They are extremely well-written and are packed with insights that provide tremendous value to your audience. They are usually a deep-dive into a topic.
- They reflect your business. In other words, they are relevant to your industry, niche, and so on. If you have a site where you sell products, then it would make sense to make a Product Collection page one of your Focus Pages. For example, an Action Figures category from your e-commerce store. Other times it can be the page that makes your phone ring the most with eager customers on the other end of the call.
- They can be long-form posts that include insights and ideas which could serve as standalone blog articles. For instance, if you have a travel agency and you write a lot about travel tips and hacks, then one of your Focus Pages could be an in-depth resource for this topic which you could name The Ultimate Travel Hack Handbook for Smart Travelers.
- Content is original and exciting. They make visitors perceive you as an authority on the topics tackled in them.
- They should sit on top of your site’s pyramid, as they are Pillar content. So other pieces of content should gravitate around your Focus Pages and link to them.
- They can be Evergreen articles or pages, meaning the featured content is continually relevant, does not become dated, and stays fresh for readers over an extended period of time.
- They can be conversion-based pages like a page called Digital Marketing Strategy Examples, or Digital Marketing Strategy PDF, which would get people to subscribe via email to get the resource. Then a Sales Funnel would start working for you to convert your customer (either via salespeople, or simply automated sales). After the big conversion elements on top, the page could go into detail and have at least 1,500 words written, with an above 3 minutes average time on page.
The pages which can bring you the most conversions will usually be your focus pages. Unless your end goal is brand awareness. But most of the times, pages which have a solid chance of converting website visitors into leads are the ones that you want to focus on.
If your main plan is to get visitors to very specific pages around certain topics and then target them via Facebook pixel ads, then you just need to focus on getting the right people to that page, so that your FB ads will be super targeted.
[More about Focus Pages] An Introduction to Focus Pages and the Power they Have for SEO >>
How to Access Focus Pages
Focus Pages can easily be accessed right from Squirrly’s main menu bar. Navigate to Squirrly SEO > Focus Pages to reach the Focus Page section.
Add a New Focus Page
NOTE! It’s important to understand that a Focus Page must be a post, page, product, landing page, and NOT a category, tag, or the home page (if it’s not a static page). All the Focus Pages need to have IDs in order to be optimized with Squirrly Live Assistant.
All the available focus pages will appear in the Focus Pages list at Squirrly SEO > Focus Pages > Add New Page.
You can search for a focus page by Title or URL, and filter results by post type and status. Once you found a page that you want to set as Focus Page , click on Set Focus Page button.
If the focus page is already added, you will see the “See Tasks” button which links to the Focus Page report for that particular page.
After you set a Focus Page, Squirrly will start the Audit for that URL and analyze the:
- on-page SEO,
- content optimization,
- off-page SEO,
- Social Media signals,
- organic search signals,
- and more.
The process is extremely complex, which is why it may take up to 5 minutes to complete.
To request a new focus page audit, click on the Request New Audit button.
Note that you will need to wait 5 minutes between requests. Other than that, there is NO limit when it comes to the number of New Audits that you can perform in a day.
It’s very important that you Request a New Audit every time you make a change to your page, change your main keyword, complete a task, and so on. This way, you will receive fresh Audit information.
Inspect a Focus Page URL
Every page that you add to the Focus Pages can also be manually verified by clicking on the three dots and then clicking on Inspect URL. (as shown in the screenshot below)
Doing this will open a detailed report that gives you REAL-TIME insights about things like the speed with which your page loads, metas, inner links, and much more.
Progress & Achievements
In this section, you can see the latest 90 days evolution for a Focus Page – and how your chances of ranking have changed.
Note! To see the Progress&Achievements section for each one of the pages you’ve set as Focus Pages, make sure to click on Details >>
As shown in the screenshot below.
Furthermore, you’ll get key progress and achievements details for each page you’ve added to Focus Pages. See essential performance metrics without leaving WordPress, including:
- Traffic stats
- Rank improvements
- Page engagement
- Page authority
- Social shares
You also have a super easy way to monitor the Keyword Ranking and Page Traffic with dedicated graphics that shows you:
- the ranking evolution for the last 90 Days;
- the page views for the latest 90 Days.
Remove a Focus Page
To remove a Focus Page, go to the last column for that focus page, and click on the three dots. From the drop-down menu that appears, select the option to Remove Focus Page.
You can also remove a Focus Page from the report section of that Focus Page. Click on the three dots. Then, from the drop-down menu that appears, select the option to Remove Focus Page. (as shown in the screenshot below).
! After you remove a Focus Page, ALL the focus page audit history will be removed* and you will be able to add a new focus page to the list following the steps described here.
Good to Know:
*We store the information related to a Focus Page for 30 days since you remove it by clicking on the Remove Focus Page button. So, in case you remove a page by accident, you can add it again as a Focus Page without losing the data associated with it. However, after 30 Days, ALL the focus page audit history will be removed.
Focus Pages – Chance to Rank
The Chance to Rank is dynamically calculated by the Squirrly SEO Machine Learning based on the main keyword you selected for a Focus Page. For each Focus Page, Squirrly displays the chances of ranking in a super dynamic system, that is only available now with Squirrly SEO.
The algorithm behind the Chance to Rank is very complex but the fastest way to increase your chances is to complete the main tasks like:
- Keyword Competition,
- Content Optimization,
- Social Signals,
- Daily Traffic,
- Inner Links,
- and External Nofollow Links.
In time, you will need to complete all the Focus Pages tasks in order to rank higher and higher and maintain your rank (especially if your keyword is a competitive one).
Once the Focus Page Audit is ready, you will get an estimated Chance to Rank for every Focus Page.
If the website is set to be hidden from search engines (from Settings > Reading > Search Engine Visibility) or if you decide to block Search indexing for a particular page by turning off the Visibility Settings using Squirrly Snippet, you will get a 1% chance to rank.
If the Page ranked in the TOP 10 on Google, you will see a golden circle with a winner cup under the Chance to Rank column for that page (as shown in the screenshot below).
Once you know that a certain page ranked in the TOP 10 of Google, you can focus on ranking the other Focus Pages as well.
We recalibrate Chance to Rank according to latest data from the entire community of users.
This helps Squirrly SEO also keep up with algorithm changes by Google.
Using research data on over 113 ranking factors (part from within WordPress, part from our Cloud Services) and then using A.I. to compare with TOP 10 evolutions from the rest of the community, in order to re-calibrate your Chances of Ranking.
When we say ranking factors, it’s important to know that some of them are groups or final scores for multiple ranking factors. The SEO Live Assistant score, for example, is ONE of these ranking factors. To calculate this 1 RF, we look at 14x different ranking factors.
So there’s a huge number of ranking factors that our systems look at.
The Basics of Working on Your Focus Pages in Squirrly SEO
A lot of thought and effort went into shaping this section in a way that would ensure it’s super easy and clear for you to work on ranking your Focus Pages.
Ultimately, all that hard work led to a series of in-plugin elements which create an efficient workflow model that is all about Focus, Action, and Results.
- Red elements.
These are the issues that stand in the way of you getting to the top of Google. There are different tasks, each relevant to different factors which impact your chances of ranking – such as Content and Keywords.
Squirrly checks your pages and if something is not right, it will be flagged using the color red. When you click on a red element, you’ll learn more about the problem we found and what tools and tactics (from Squirrly SEO) you can use to fix it.
Once you start working on a task, Squirrly SEO checks to see if you’ve managed to fix the problem. Bear in mind that it takes a bit for the software to analyze the work you’ve done.
- Yellow elements. These are tasks that are only partially completed.
- Green elements.
These are your SEO wins, the things that help you achieve first-page Google Rankings. Every time you manage to turn a Red light to Green, you win. Every task you complete represents an SEO victory. The end goal is to turn everything you see in the Focus Pages section GREEN.
- Chance to rank. Based on how many red elements are associated with your page, Squirrly SEO will show you how likely it is for that given page to rank on Google.
Next up, let’s take a look at all the main thing Squirrly analyzes to calculate your chances of ranking.
! Remember, all the Red, Yellow, and Green circles you see in this section are clickable. Once you click on them, you’ll see everything you need to do to turn a Red or Yellow circle Green.
Focus Pages – Visibility
This category checks to make sure the visibility signals are set correctly. More specifically, it looks at:
- Whether your Focus Page has correct robots META in Squirrly SEO Snippet
- If the URL is present in the sitemap.xml
- If the page has a correct Canonical link
- If the URL is a user-friendly URL (the URL structure should include your keyword)
- If you requested the URL index in Google Search Console > URL Inspector
It’s very important to have all these tasks marked as complete (a check mark indicates that task is complete) to have a good chance of ranking. If ALL the tasks from visibility are completed, the Visibility column will be marked Green.
The first time you add a page as a Focus Page, you’ll see that the Manual Index Request task is red. To turn that task green, click on the “Ask Google to Re-Index” button and follow the steps to inspect and index a URL.
Once you click the button, you will be taken to a section in Google Search Console where you need to add the Focus Page URL you want to verify and index in Google.
Once you see the status of your Focus Page in Google Search Console, click on the “Test Live URL” button to perform a live test.
If the message URL is available to Google appears, then it means the page is available for Google, and the page will be indexed in Google next time the Google crawler will check your URL. Click on “Request indexing” and go back to the Focus Pages section.
Now, Request a New Audit and check the task Manual index Request again.
Focus Pages – Keyword
Choosing the best long-tail keywords for your Focus Pages is crucial to your success. An effective SEO strategy is built around the keywords you choose and optimize the Focus Pages for.
Since Focus Pages are the most important pages on your website, you need to make sure that as many people as possible are able to reach those pages.
So, the tasks included in the Keyword category are meant to help you make sure that:
- The main keyword you optimize a Focus Pages for is a long-tail keyword (has 3-5 words)
- You performed keyword research before deciding to optimize for that keyword;
- The keyword you selected doesn’t have a big competition (this will help you rank faster and make it less likely to lose your ranking as time goes by)
- The keyword has a good search volume to avoid ranking for a keyword that very few people search for ( a good search volume indicates that people are actually searching for that keyword on Google and other search engines). If you target keyword searches with low volumes, then you’ll end up having just 2 or 3 people every month visiting this page. And then all the effort will have been for nothing.
As you can see in the screenshot below – Squirrly will show you the complete list of keywords for which you’ve optimized your content using the Live Assistant, alongside optimization percentages achieved for each keyword.
Note that the main keyword you’ve optimized for will have a S T A R symbol next to it. This is the main keyword for your Focus Pages – and one of the factors based on which our system will calculate your page’s chances of ranking and generate tasks.
However, you can always change the main keyword for your Focus Pages – right from the Focus Pages section. This shows you how to do it.
Focus Pages – Strategy
This category is all about checking whether you have an SEO strategy for your Focus Page.
For this, Squirrly’s systems check if the main keyword you’ve optimized your Focus Pages for has been added to your Briefcase and categorized using labels.
It’s also important to optimize your Focus Page for multiple keywords to provide context and help Google understand the topic of the Focus Page (which will increase your chances of ranking).
Focus Pages – SEO Content
Here’s what’s being verified in this category:
- if the Focus Page is optimized over 75% for the main keyword using the Live Assistant,
- if the Squirrly SEO Snippet is optimized and customized for Search Engines and Social Media,
- if the Platform SEO section is green for the analyzed Focus Page,
- and if the content has been updated with fresh content in the last three months.
All these factors have a huge impact when it comes to helping you bring high-quality, targeted traffic to your Focus Pages over time.
Focus Pages – Words/Page
Here’s what’s being verified in this category:
- Content length.
Longer content is typically more insightful/contains plenty of information. So it’s best if you create well-formatted content that is over 1,500-words long and has very good “avg time on page” metrics inside Google Analytics.
WHY? Because Google cares about seeing the quality in your pages to rank you higher. Therefore, they look at how much time people have spent on your long pages. If you only write very short articles, Google may consider your content as thin content.
!Note that you don’t necessarily have to get 1,500 words on every page for it to rank in TOP 10 on Google. However, getting this task completed ensures that your chances of ranking will be very high.
- Reader’s experience. Get an average time on page of minimum of 2 minutes for every focus page. You can do this by editing the content and making it more appealing to visitors.
Why was it important to also include the Average Time On Page in our analysis? Because sometimes website owners can be tempted to make the pages longer by increasing wordiness.
Over 1,500 words / page can give you much better SEO results. However, making it longer does not mean you should make it boring.
In order to check that the length of the page was increased properly, we also take into account if website visitors love this page.
Focus Pages – Platform SEO
Here’s what’s being verified in this category:
- if the overall SEO is set up correctly in SEO Automation and SEO Snippet. It’s important to have Robots.txt file rules and ensure you don’t block Google from indexing your Focus Pages.
All verified tasks:
- If you customized the SEO Snippet for your Focus Page;
- If the SEO Automation is active and if the Post Type which your Focus Page corresponds to is included in SEO Automation;
- If SEO Patterns are active in SEO Automation;
- If a Robots.txt file exists and if all rules are set correctly for this file.
Focus Pages – Snippet
This is the most important category after content optimization.
It’s important to have attractive Search Engines Snippets and Social Media Snippets for your Focus Pages. It’s also important to have a good structured data JSON-LD for featured snippets in Google.
It’s important to have your main keyword in the snippet for that page. Also, keep in mind the reason people don’t click on your listing (on search engines) could be that you don’t have an attractive enough meta description.
There are quite a few elements that go into making the Snippet fully optimized:
- Click to edit the SEO Snippet for the Focus Page.
- Remove the patterns from Title and Description.
- Write a Title that will attract more clicks on your Focus Page and include the main Keyword in it.
- Write a Description that explains in a few words what is the page about and include the main Keyword in it.
- Add the main Keyword in the Keywords section too.
- Save the SEO Snippet.
You can validate your JSON-LD with: https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool
Focus Pages – SEO Image
This category is meant to ensure that you have at least ONE image from your Focus Page being named as keyword.png
Example: oktoberfest-in-munich.png (in this example, the Focus Page would be optimized for: oktoberfest in munich – MAIN KEYWORD)
To make sure you have the keyword in the image URL, download a relevant image from your page. Change the filename. Then re-upload with the SEO filename and add it to your page’s content again.
It’s best to keep this at only one filename which contains the main keyword of the page. (the one who has the S T A R symbol next to it)
Focus Pages – Traffic Health
Here’s what’s being verified in this category:
- whether you have just one Google Analytics tracking code placed. We’ve seen many sites where there were multiple google analytics codes placed by different employees, themes, or plugins. With this check, we’re helping you make sure that your tracker is set up properly and that there will be no errors with your Google Analytics account.
- whether your Focus Page attracts relevant, high-quality traffic. It’s not only important to bring traffic to your Focus Pages, but also to ensure that traffic is high-quality.
- Page Bounce Rate should be under 50%
A high bounce rate means that your users just click on your search listing, visit the page and then decide they’ve seen enough and bounce off to another page on the web.
A high bounce rate could indicate your visitors don’t find your content relevant or interesting enough. This usually happens when you do SEO in the wrong way and you don’t match the content you’ve created to the visitors’ intent!
Learn how to fix the Bounce Rate by clicking on the Bounce Rate task in the tasks section from Focus Pages.
- Average Time On Page should be at least 2 minutes
Look at the average time on page to better understand how visitors engage with your content. Analyze this metric in relation to the number of words on your page.
What constitutes a good time on page for a 500-words page is different than a good time on page for a 1,500 words article. That’s simply because it takes longer to read a long-form article than it is to read a short one.
- The focus page should have at least 70 visits per day (for small businesses)
For this task, we’re looking at unique page views from your Google Analytics.
If you don’t get an average of 70 visitors / day / page, then your Focus Page is not yet popular enough on your site.
Focus Pages – Platform Health
Platform Health looks over the entire website audit to make sure it doesn’t have huge SEO issues.
Your site needs to be built on a strong foundation. A page will NOT rank high if most of the website has low-quality SEO.
In Squirrly SEO, you can check the overall health of your platform – in your case, your WordPress site. The Platform Health category inside the Focus Pages section is dedicated to this.
Here are the main tasks outlined in this category:
- Ensure you have a site Audit score over 70% (as a best practice, make sure to add your Focus Pages to the Audit as well);
- Ensure there are No empty or duplicate titles on your website;
- Ensure there are No empty or duplicate descriptions on your website;
- Your website should have a good loading speed;
- Your website should be mobile-friendly.
Focus Pages – Page Authority and Backlinks
The Page Authority category verifies if the page has links from authority websites and a good MOZ score.
The Backlinks category verifies if the page has enough links and links from different domains and IPs.
To build a good Backlinks strategy, focus on social media sharing, guest posting, Quora comments, ads, and more.
There is no one exact recipe, but having at least 100 backlinks from authority websites will definitely help you rank better in the long run.
Focus Pages – Social Signals
This category tracks shares from track-able sources. For the moment, we can grab shares from Facebook, Pinterest, and Reddit. To turn this section green, you’ll need to get at least 100 total Shares for each page you set as a Focus Page.
Having your Focus Page shared on Social Media indicates that you already have authority links and traffic to your website.
Make sure you also share the focus page on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and other social media channels that make sense for your business.
Focus Pages – Inner Links
Inner Links are links that you send from one URL of your site to another URL of your site.
This is all about optimizing other posts in your site for topics which are similar to that of your Focus Page. These articles can be optimized for long-tail variants of the main keyword for which you’ve optimized your Focus Page. You can also use different website architecture designs to achieve this.
Linking these articles to your Focus Page shows Google your Focus Page is the most important page in your site for that topic.
Since your Focus Pages are the most important pages on your site, you should make sure that you link to them from many pages on your website. The links you send to your Focus Pages should be contextual links NOT navigational links (contextual links appear in your pages’ content and they have higher SEO value).
In this section of Focus Pages, Squirrly’s systems verify that you’ve created at least 5 inner links for each one of your Focus Pages.
Focus Pages – Outbound Links
All links going out from Focus Pages towards 3rd party sites should have a no-follow attribute – and this category checks to see if you’ve set this up correctly.
Make sure that you’re not letting that hard work go to waste by sending out all your authority and Link Juice over to other pages from the web.
To make sure that all the external links are no-follow, you can install a free external no-follow plugin from WordPress or use the SEO Links and Redirects section of Squirrly SEO to set this up (Squirrly SEO > SEO Configuration > Tweaks and Sitemaps > SEO Links and Redirects)
Focus Pages – Accuracy
This category refers to Rank Accuracy. If you have an Squirrly SEO Business account, this category will automatically turn Green.
The SERP Checker available on FREE and PRO Plans is made via Google Search Console integration, which means that the information is not as accurate as possible and will not clearly depict the exact position in Google.
Google uses an average when it comes to the position. And it’s not the true position. The average is made according to the positions that the page was found on when users did click on it.
Also, the data inside Search Console is a bit old, so if you’re actively trying to increase your rankings day in and day out, you need the Business Plan.
Focus Pages – Clicks, Impressions, CTR
This category retrieves information from your Google Search Console based on the keyword you selected as the main keyword for your Focus Page.
- Clicks show you how many users clicked on your Focus Page after they searched for your keyword and saw your page in Google’s Search Results.
- Impressions show you how many times your Focus Page has appeared in search results viewed by a user, not including paid Google Ads search impressions.
- CTR is the number of clicks that your Focus Page received divided by the number of times your page appeared in search results (clicks ÷ impressions = CTR). For example, if you had 70 clicks and 700 impressions, then your CTR would be 10%. A good CTR is over 5%.
If the CTR is high, it indicates that your Focus Page has an attractive snippet and people are clicking on your link rather than your competitors’.