Search Engine Optimization- Part 3: The Homepage
In this case, we are referring to the main page visitors land on. Some may describe this as a “Landing Page”, but in most cases a landing page is a separate page that is detailing a single offering and call-to-action. Oftentimes, the homepage is the most frequented of all your website pages. As your main page, most people will travel to your site through it before traveling deeper into your website—if you peak their interest. Due to the critical nature of this page, we are dedicating a full article to it, and some SEO strategies will be similar to your on-page SEO, but there are a few differences that you should keep in mind.
Why the Homepage is Important?
As mentioned above, the homepage is one of your most important pages of your website. One reason is that it can have your highest visitor rate as well as bounce rate. Homepages should, and need, to contain all pertinent information of your website and direct visitors into digging deeper into your site as well as taking action. This is where most conversions of visitor to customer happen; when the visitor reviews the page, they should understand what the website is about, what are the products/services, why it matters to them, benefits of choosing you, and how to purchase.
Since it is so critical and covers all of your website, there are certain elements that should be on the page no matter your layout. Headings and connections from this page to an internal link should be clearly defined. Have a couple (2-3) call-to-actions that cover different stages in the buyers journey but promote each type to go further into your website. Try to have images, or a video, that supports your offerings, but once again, it’s best practice to avoid stock images when you can. Besides your offering, potentially you will also have resources on this page; it could be where visitors can get more information about the industry in general or click to learn more about your offering. Additionally, having social proof or testimonials of your products/services and/or company will only benefit you. Lastly, make sure your contact is on your homepage and clearly indicated. If you have other profiles, such as social media, have them connected as well. This will give you a robust page as well as brand image.
SEO and the Homepage
Make your homepage work for you by ensuring it is a lead part of your search engine optimization strategy. Since homepages are a pillar of your website prior to your visitor taking an action, it offers a great opportunity to create conversions. Besides your website ranking, each page will have its own ranking within search engines and that goes for your homepage. The better your homepage ranks, the better your overall website ranks!
Your homepage will have its own target keyword(s) to tell both search engine bots and visitors the context of your site. You won’t only be ranked on a single word, but its important that your keywords all have the same relevance and that you do have a PRIMARY / target keyword. This primary should influence all the others. Other keywords may end up being utilized for content, such as headers or within your text.
Much like other on-page SEO, your headers and their correlating tags will be taken into account by search engines while providing context and organization for visitors (they won’t see your tag, but the way it shows up on the page is an indication for them).
Your homepage should have strong internal links to other sections of your website as it is one of the pillars of your website. Ensure these links are connecting to the correct other page or snippet of information. Additionally, be sure to continuously maintain these links so that there are no issues when visitors go to that page. Strong internal links from this page will help new pages be discovered by both bot and reader, can boost authority to other pages, and add to the context of the page. Besides internal links, you will want to have backlinks to improve your homepage’s authority. There are many places these links can go (within the text, at the footer, etc.) and as we’ve touched on before, the authority and relevance of that site will be a big indicator as to how great of an influence it will have being connected to your website. There are many ways to increase your backlinks, which we will discuss in another article.
Your homepage and its SEO strategy can be a positive or determent to your website’s ranking. However, a word of caution, is to not focus so much on your SEO that you forget your homepage’s primary goal: clearly providing information about your company, brand, offerings, etc. and turning visitors into conversions. Your homepage will also most likely have the most backlinks and most keywords than your other pages, which is why maintenance of it’s SEO should be a priority (however, don’t forget the other pages as well if you have more than one page!) It’s vital to not neglect this page in terms of SEO because of its ability to improve your overall website. At the end of the day, your homepage is another page of your website. Therefore, if you are interested in more components of SEO that go into on-page SEO, check out our previous article.