There are more than 1.8 billion websites on the Internet, and thousands are created every day. Needless to say, each website serves a different purpose, which in turn impacts the way it’s structured, designed, monetized, and maintained. And of course, different websites might require a substantially different approach to SEO.
Today we are going to review 9 different types of websites, how to optimize them for SEO, what search terms to prioritize, and what challenges may come your way.
Common Types of Websites
Here are the website types we’re going to review:
- Service websites
- E-commerce websites
- Educational websites
- Portfolio websites
- News & media websites
- Personal websites
- Non-profit websites
Let’s get started!
What is it? Blogs have been out there since the early days of the internet. It’s the number 1 choice for people who want to document their knowledge or events happening in their lives. A lot of people create blogs to share their knowledge and try to monetize it, whereas others simply write a blog as a diary.
What terms to rank for? It depends on your niche, but most likely keywords of informational nature.
Examples: “best pasta carbonara recipe”, “how to choose the right internet provider”, etc.
Where to get income? Google AdSense, affiliate partnerships, referrals, programmatic advertising.
Most popular platforms? WordPress.
Rising or decreasing popularity? According to Omerlo, there’s a 12% increase in the number of active bloggers in the United States. Thus, blogging as a hobby or a business is still rising in popularity.
Main challenges? We live in the age of information overload, and hence a lot of niches are really stuffed with content. That means you’ll have a harder time getting and staying ahead of your competition and ranking for high-volume keywords.
The best strategy to rank? If you’re new to blogging and see it as a business project, you might want to find an unexplored niche with low-competition keywords. Alternatively, you can battle your way through competition by gaining juicy backlinks, posting content regularly, and following best SEO practices.
If you’re looking for a trusted partner who will take your website’s SEO from zero to hero – Crowdo is the place to go. We will review your website and suggest a long-term plan to rise to the top of SERPs. Get a free quote now!
What is it? Most business websites aim to promote a product or a service. Thus, service websites include both physical (local) services and services carried out remotely.
What terms to rank for? Service keywords and local keywords.
Examples: “Accounting services”, “Financial audit services”, “Barbershop near me”, “dentist in Amsterdam” etc.
Where to get income? This is one of those website types that is usually directed towards attracting visitors to your on-site location, and thus the website itself is not monetized directly.
Most popular platforms? WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Strikingly.
Rising or decreasing popularity? It’s hard to imagine a service with no web presence whatsoever. However, some business owners rely more on social media and word-of-mouth, downplaying SEO. Whether it’s good or bad depends entirely on your audience and business goals.
Main challenges? Similar to other types of websites, the most challenging part is getting your name out there and facing fierce competition. Additionally, optimizing a local business adds a layer of complexity to your SEO endeavors.
The best strategy to rank? If your services are location-dependent, you might want to pay extra attention to local SEO practices, such as optimizing your listing on Google My Business, TripAdvisor, and other business directories. If not, all the best SEO practices apply.
What is it? E-commerce sites are typically online marketplaces that offer products for sale. The range of products can be very narrow and specific (hygiene products) or very broad (you can find practically anything on Amazon). If your goal is to sell physical goods online, this website type suits you the most.
What terms to rank for? Purchase-intent keywords.
Examples: “buy BBQ grill,” “buy a microwave with free delivery,” etc.
Where to get income? Buy at wholesale price, sell at retail price, make a profit.
Most popular platforms? WordPress (Woocommerce), Shopify.
Rising or decreasing popularity? As an industry, e-commerce is at its peak. Given the COVID-19 circumstances and lockdowns around the world, a lot of people switched to online shopping. E-commerce sales in the US alone surpassed 1 trillion dollars, a huge increase compared to previous years.
Main challenges? The key obstacle for most e-commerce shop owners is to compete with international giants like Amazon and eBay.
The best strategy to rank? Selecting a certain niche and tailoring your offerings to a specific target audience is the best way to stand out.
What is it? Educational websites are mostly knowledge hubs that offer a variety of materials aimed at teaching a specific topic.
The content formats are very diverse and include but aren’t limited to articles, video courses, ebooks, quizzes, etc.
What terms to rank for? Knowledge-based queries and action-oriented queries.
Examples: “Fundamentals of digital marketing”, “learn digital marketing online”, “digital marketing courses”, etc.
Where to get income? You can sell your content assets directly or charge a membership fee for access to all the content you produce.
Most popular platforms? WordPress, Wix, Squarespace.
Rising or decreasing popularity? E-learning skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, and this trend won’t vanish anytime soon.
Main challenges? If you opt to create your own e-learning platform or website, you will be competing with big players such as Udemy, Skillshare, or Coursera. These well-known platforms allow you to reach a wider audience but charge a fee for all sales you make. If you want to keep all the profit and stay away from these marketplaces – you’ll need to invest a lot of money to market your courses or resources.
The best strategy to rank? Repurpose your content. If you’ve already made a video course, transcribe it and transform it into an ebook or a series of articles to maximize your ranking potential. You can also run a podcast or a series of audio lessons (simply extract the audio file from your video recording). All of these methods will not only help you reach a wider audience – you’ll also get a lot more awareness and recognition throughout the web (and, of course, more backlinks and clicks).
What is it? Out of all website types, portfolio websites are typically not SEO-focused. They’re heavy on visuals, and their main goal is to showcase someone’s artwork. This includes but is not limited to photography, graphic design, web design, filmmaking.
What terms to rank for? Brand keywords and generic keywords that are associated with it.
Examples: “Agency 101 portfolio”, “John Doe portfolio”, “Agency 101 web design”, “John Doe photography”, etc.
Where to get income? Typically these websites are not monetized directly.
Most popular platforms? Squarespace, Wix, Webflow, Strikingly.
Rising or decreasing popularity? In general, most creators tend to have their portfolio website in addition to uploading their portfolio to websites like Behance, Dribble, and Flickr, among others. The reason for that is simple – you have 100% control over your content and its presentation.
Main challenges? Building a portfolio website is not a difficult task in itself. The website builders mentioned above take no time to learn, and there are hundreds of beautiful templates that should set you up and running. The main challenge here is marketing your website and generating traffic.
The best strategy to rank? To be fair, portfolio websites typically have a low ranking potential. Their nature is visual and not so text-driven. Thus climbing to the top of Google for generic search queries is usually not realistic. However, your best strategy is to optimize your brand name and get some backlinks and social signals.
What is it? Forum websites typically revolve around building an online community. Members of that community share a similar set of hobbies and interests and contribute their insights on a regular basis.
What terms to rank for? “Your niche” + “forum”.
Examples: “content marketing forum”, “SEO forum”.
Where to get income? Google Adsense, affiliate links, banner advertising, signature promotion.
Most popular platforms? WordPress (BBpress), Discourse, phpBB.
Rising or decreasing popularity? Forums and digital communities are still popular but not as they used to be. First of all, forums handed over the center of the stage to social media platforms. Besides, the value of a forum increases with each new member (called the network effect in economics). Thus, big forums (Reddit, Github) are taking away a huge chunk of the market share from small communities.
Main challenges? The most challenging part is building a community that genuinely contributes valuable information and doesn’t solely look for self-promotion opportunities. A lot of forums have died over the years because of member inactivity or spam. Thus, forums belong to types of websites where social activity is absolutely crucial.
The best strategy to rank? Since forums are populated with user-generated content by nature, there are limited possibilities for on-page optimization. Your best bet is investing in technical SEO and link building.
News & media websites
What is it? Typically, these websites are driven by content and publishing frequency. In theory, whoever gets the news out first should get the first-mover advantage, but the reality is slightly more complicated.
What terms to rank for? Keywords that relate to current pressing issues.
Examples: “COVID-19 in the US”, “latest in Arizona”.
Where to get income? Google Adsense, affiliate links, programmatic advertising.
Most popular platforms? WordPress, Joomla, Drupal.
Rising or decreasing popularity? With the increased usage of social media, news websites are on a small decline. Yet, their potential is by no means exhausted.
Main challenges? Getting your news website known takes a lot of effort and resources. You have to post content multiple times a day, preferably ahead of others, without compromising quality.
The best strategy to rank? Post frequently and do more research than your competitors. Provide more figures, videos, infographics, and any other material on the subject. Although these websites typically get a lot of natural links and social activity, having a strong domain authority is vital. Thus, after setting the content machine up and running, you’d likely need to take off-page SEO very seriously. Otherwise, more trusted domains will always be ahead of you, even if your content is great.
What is it? More often than not, personal websites showcase an individual’s professional experience, achievements, and background. Think of it as your digital CV. Some people build these websites to get their name out there and outrank their own social media profiles or other mentionings of them on the internet.
What terms to rank for? Your full name.
Examples: “John Doe”.
Where to get income? These websites are usually not monetized directly.
Most popular platforms? WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Site123.
Rising or decreasing popularity? There’s no explicit data available, but this type of website will always be around to a certain degree.
Main challenges? The SEO behind ranking your name (or CV) is usually not too difficult unless you’re already a famous person with thousands of mentions around the internet. Actually, a lot of people simply prefer to de-index their personal website and share it with people directly.
The best strategy to rank? Mention your name and descriptive keywords (your industry, location, honorable mentions, etc.) frequently within your content. Additionally, you can feed the website with some quality links to foster its SERP growth.
What is it? Non-profit websites intend to promote a social cause or collect donations to battle certain social issues. Owners of non-profit organizations are usually driven by goodwill and moral goals
What terms to rank for? Brand keywords, keywords that correlate with the organizational mission, action keywords, and local keywords.
Examples: “Global warming fund”, “support refugees from Ukraine”, “non-profit organizations in Belgium”.
Where to get income? This kind of business relies on donations, not on profit-making.
Most popular platforms? WordPress, Weebly, IM creator, PageCloud.
Rising or decreasing popularity? The Internet made it easier and more accessible for business owners to collect donations and strive for a better world. Hence, in this day and age, most non-profit organizations go digital.
Main challenges? The main challenge faced by non-profits is creating content that not only sheds light on a certain issue but also encourages people to take action. Therefore, having a brilliant copywriter on the team is a must.
The best strategy to rank? All of the best SEO practices apply here, including on-page SEO, technical SEO, and link-building.
Conclusion: What kind of website should you create?
Ultimately, the website category you choose is largely determined by the project you have in mind. Each of the different types of websites discussed today has its challenges, especially in terms of SEO.
Regardless of your goals and motivation, performing SEO in-house can get overwhelming pretty quickly. Luckily, you can outsource all of your SEO efforts to trusted providers like Crowdo. Over the years, we’ve worked with hundreds of different websites and have always achieved great results.