When you search for your favorite celebrity’s name, or the profile of the novelist behind the book you’d read and raved about, chances are that the results will include a Wikipedia entry. On Page One. You’d almost be shocked if you find it on Page Two. The web encyclopedia seems to have outraced everyone to the top, and everything seems to be pointing to any one of its many, many pages. But do you see “Adam Lambert”, or “Jonathan Franzen” on Wikipedia’s home page? Probably not. You wonder how you can optimize your own website that way, without having to barrage your preferred landing page with a hundred links.

The example of Wikipedia demonstrates how SEO can be used to target not just keywords – but entire target markets. This strategy was recently discussed in SEO Design Solutions as a way to out-optimize your competitors, if you will, and have your website rank from the top 1000 to the top 10.

Authority websites like Wikipedia usually reach the top of the search engine results whether or not the pages within them feature related content or not. That’s because each of those individual pages have become as valuable as the home page: they have their own internal links, they have their own off-page links, and they have their own page rank, which then contributes back to the website as a whole. As one page gains more relevance and strength in the rankings, so does the entire site.

The very holistic search engine optimization (SEO) strategy works by using pages collectively (and not individually) to tackle competitive keywords, and then cultivating these keywords and promoting good link flow by feeding these pages with deep external and internal links. Of course, doing this won’t instantly push a website to the top. It’s a process that takes time and effort – a process that first requires unique pages to acquire enough relevance for a keyword and be crawled, indexed, and ranked by the search engines.

It doesn’t end when you are in the index. To climb on top of the search rankings, you have to continue cultivating a website with enough content, links, and relevance. A website that, like Wikipedia, has individual pages that each rank for specific keywords. It depends on the size and focus of your website, but usually it could take as much as having 30 links (a combination of offsite and internal) on each “supporting” page – and then as few as a couple hundred links to the main landing page. The goal of this cultivation process is to gain keyword/ market relevance in the search engines for your individual pages – instead of just riding on your home page to climb the rankings.

This, of course, takes more time and more effort. But the potential of this optimization strategy is powerful. You can transform an SEO-unfriendly website with a scattered assortment of content and links and make it into a comprehensive, authoritative site that can catapult your aggregate ranking and target not just keywords – but entire target markets.