A lot of businesses start of their websites for various purposes. A business that prevails online needs a proper exposure. The exposure that gets them, customers, leads, traffic and few more such statistical goals. Before a website gets any of its web pages in front million eyes, shouldn’t the homepage SEO be strong at first place?
It is a simple concept, right?
A post from Yoast says homepage SEO isn’t really necessary and it doesn’t exist at all. Bottom line – You need not spend time on homepage SEO technically, to rank your homepage obviously. Rather spend time on homepage optimization which will indirectly result in your homepage’s high rank in SERPs.
If you pay a close attention to what’s shared in the post, you’d find that the author is not completely denying to rank for a keyword. What he has said is to rank for multiple keywords, which makes pretty easy to grow your business by the technical route.
The optimization route is however important and will play the major role. Bitter truth is, only ranking homepage for keywords will not do good in long run. If a web page cannot convey what’s important, a keyword-rich page is of no use.
Having said this, you’d have a question.
Why is homepage SEO important to you?
The homepage is the starting point for your business. It is the main door where a potential customer comes looking for products or services to fulfill their needs. If you provide what they’re looking for, right in the homepage – You win. If you cannot provide vital things needed to convert a visitor into a customer, then you need to work on your homepage.
Even I believe that homepage SEO technically doesn’t exist. Rather, you can very well optimize the homepage in such a way that it ranks well. This means the homepage shouldn’t be ranked for a keyword, but yes you need to do the optimization.
What do you get by doing this?
The homepage might not be the most trafficed page of your website, but it is the most important page of your website. With a really good homepage, you are opening doors for a lot of visitors to become potential customers. This is the very purpose of having the website right?
This is why homepage SEO is important to you. That said, you need not rank your homepage, just do the homepage optimization.
If not rank, what else for homepage SEO?
As discussed in the post by Yoast, there are websites names with keywords in it. So the competition is by default on. Another side of this aspect of ranking a homepage is that doing so will leave a chance to rank a web page for that keyword. A web page that has the potential to get a customer, leads, traffic or something similar to these.
All the webmasters and SEOs spend a lot of time in optimizing the web pages, so obviously they’d do the homepage SEO with the same intensity. Spending time on how to do the homepage SEO comes to an end here.
In a Whiteboard Friday, Rand Fishkin from moz discussed a perfect homepage.
Here’s the visual of what was discussed.
I am in complete agreement with whatever Rand said in that session. I’ve got a lot of question asking for homepage best practices and this is what we’ll be discussing here.
Not ranking the homepage for a keyword will leave a lot of space to do a lot of more work to fill that gap. Again, the homepage SEO content should be clear and well communicated. Let us have a look at the ideal components of homepage SEO.
#1 Give a clear navigation map to your users
We know home important the homepage is, why stuff too much in it? Instead, placing not-so-important sections in the navigation menu would do great. Like it can help you decrease bounce rate and increase session time. It can also help you build a great user experience.
Let us focus only on the most important thing on the homepage – The purpose.
Consider an example.
Bluehost has a great reputation. It provides hosting services. Look at the homepage. The message i.e. the purpose is conveyed right in the first sight. Rest of the things related to the purpose are in the navigation menu. Simple and sweet.
#2 Visual explanation of your company
The human evolution has been so. We humans interact with pictures more than text. Gone are the day when stuffing keyword on the homepage is enough to rank well in SERPs.
Users love interactive content and if they find what they’re looking for along with interactive content, they resonate. As a business owner, it is important to pitch your would-be customers in such a way that they feel a connection with you.
How to do this?
#2.1 Explain what your company does
Make a perfect blend of pitch and interactive content.
A lot of business owners and marketers are feeling the urge to have a video on the homepage. They’re right, videos have been the most powerful weapon in a conversion of visitors to a customer. It has worked for many, it will work for you too.
#2.2 Establish a USP [Unique selling point]
Your USP should be clearly conveyed.
What is it that your company does the best? Is it the cost, the service, the shipping, customer support, products or you are the first of a kind. Just flaunt it in a creatively simple way.
If you are successful in getting the customer’s attention on your USPs, your half job is done. If you don’t have a USP, establish one. Just whisper what you do the best, if not now they will return back and become a customer.
But how can you establish a USP?
You should keep two things in mind for establishing your USP
- Offer you are making, i.e. the pitch
- Gains the customers will get, i.e. the products/service you have to offer.
#2.3 Have rich content
Experts say that a 400-word homepage is ideally good. Maybe, for most of the website, this holds good.
You know your audience more than anyone else, you know what they like and what they don’t. You decide how many words would do great to your users/readers. Don’t stuff too much just to touch this mark. The text is important, no doubt but only the best stay on the homepage.
That said, what should be the text?
#2.4 Use branded keywords
Okay, this is the explanation of what the Yoast post was about. Using a keyword is prohibited, keywords aren’t. Rank your homepage for multiple keywords. If you are using Yoast SEO plugin, you can either upgrade it or use a traditional way and SEO best practices to use the keywords in the text.
Google Keyword planner can do a great job here.
Just, feed your target keyword, in this example – Brownies.
I found this interesting keyword that has pretty decent searches per month and can help you target a huge audience. Find the keywords in a similar fashion, place it in H1 first (the most important keyword, the best one I’d say) and then fill the H2, H3 and so on.
#3 Make appealing and interactive headers
Headers are important.
They pin visitors eyes if crafted well.
See bitly homepage, it is beautiful and so many ways. Perfect pitch, right content in the focus and short. This is what an ideal header should look like. It’s effective right?
If you to see this page, what would you do? Paste a link and get started? Yes, even I would do the same.
#4 Homepage meta description
If you are a marketer, a webmaster I need not explain how important is meta description for a web page. When you add a meta description, not only search engines are on edge of their seats even the users who see your result in the SERPs.
What is meta description?
The Meta description is an excerpt that summarizes the page’s content. The better you summarize, the more profitable it is. Using keywords in meta description is a good move to trigger search engine to direct traffic.
#5 Social proofs or testimonials
Credibility is a bliss.
If someone recommends you, flaunt it. If that someone is a public figure, definitely flaunt it.
Social proofs and testimonials are important to establish a good rapport with the user. Before a visitor becomes your customer, they need to first believe in you.
How do they believe in you?
Make sure you add some testimonials so that the visitors establish a connection with you.
What Bing, Google, and most search engines are doing these days is beyond just serving search results. They are ranking highly optimized homepages for a search term. Reason being, a highly optimized homepage (as discussed above) is a source of high-quality information and information to a user is the most valuable thing a search engine can serve.
By doing so, two things happen
- User get highly qualified information
- You get business
So build a homepage for users. Users expect a homepage to be highly interactive and intuitive. Just meet their expectations and you’re sorted.
Over to you. Do you spend more time in optimizing your homepage or ranking it for keywords or both? Let me know in the comment section below.
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