5 Must Haves To Perfectly Optimise Your Home Page
The homepage – it’s a pretty important page, often the first visitors see. It therefore has a greater responsibility to explain your brand message and funnel traffic to conversion pages.
So, how is homepage optimisation different from any other page?
Well, your homepage needs to be optimised for keywords relevant to your offering, while creating brand affinity. But how can you achieve both?
Simply include these 5 must haves for excellent optimisation.
1) Optimise for general themes
There are several schools of thought on homepage optimisation.
One is to heavily optimise for your priority keywords. Businesses choose keyword rich domain names and business names like Beach Towels and www.beachtowels.com. It certainly hits the nail on the head, but the trouble is you might be shooting yourself in the foot.
Choosing a competitive term as your entire business name and/or domain name means ranking on page one of SERP is going to be a struggle.
Optimising for your brand is a quick way to gain good ranking results early in your digital strategy….. unless you’ve chosen competitive keywords as your business name.
Doing this makes your company sound more generic and reduces brand affinity. Will visitors really be able to tell you apart from towelsforbeaches.com or bigbeachtowels.com? Probably not, brand loyalty will be low.
Recently the opposite approach has been espoused with Yoast writer Michiel Heijmans claiming homepage SEO doesn’t exist!
Apparently, we shouldn’t bother trying to optimise homepages for keywords, but only for brand name.
We think this view is extreme. Your homepage is a highly authoritative page. By failing to optimise it for target keywords you could be missing out on valuable traffic.
The best way to optimise your homepage is to take a balanced approach.
Neil Patel is among the digital gurus to agree with us. Rather than optimise your homepage for a specific priority keyword or just for your brand name, you should optimise for general, relevant themes that easily convey what your business is about.
Take a look at our website. We optimise our homepage for our brand name and ‘digital marketing agency Perth’.
This tells Google and users exactly what we are and gives a general overview of what we offer.
A homepage should tell Google the clear theme of your whole site. So yes, you have made life difficult for yourself by starting that sushi, Christmas tree and second hand aviary business. Assuming your offerings are sensible and related, general keywords work very well on homepages.
Avoid optimising for trendy, made-up words as a substitute for well-known general keywords. For example, if you sell lipstick and foundation, optimise your homepage for makeup, not just ‘new luxury second skin’.
2) Choose compelling, optimised meta data
Use your business name and the chosen subset of general keywords in your title tag, meta descriptions and in your homepage copy.
Users at early stages in their research can be compelled to click and learn more using your meta description. Think of this as the official introduction to your site.
3) Have a helpful site architecture
You need to have a sensible site architecture leading from your homepage to conversion pages with clear, easy to follow links in your menu navigation.
This is essential for both SEO and human visitors to have a good site experience.
You want visitors to move seamlessly through the site, to find the information they need and arrive at converting pages without getting lost.
You also want Google’s spiders to crawl through your site easily and see the connections between your content.
Internal linking, particularly from your homepage, helps this process.
According to a study by Sweor, participants noted many websites are often lacking in navigation aids.
4) Make it accessible
We admit it, we’re all lazy and impatient when it comes to using websites. That’s not a bad thing because it’s the seller’s job to attract and engage you online.
One of the most important optimisations for your homepage is accessibility. By this we mean:
- Speed – 47% of users expect a maximum of 2 seconds loading time for an average website.
- Mobile friendliness – If your homepage text is too small, navigation is too cramped, or it is easy to click the wrong button, then forget about them progressing past that homepage.
- Ease of contact – It should be obvious that visitors want to contact you, but some businesses like to qualify their leads by forcing people to fill out a form, rather than ringing or sending a direct email. However, according to this report covered by Entrepreneur.com, 51% of respondents thought decent contact information was a key element missing from most websites and that 98% would be annoyed and leave or think of leaving if there was no clear contact info.
Don’t you just love click to call in search results?
Of course, you do, so help your visitors and make that phone number and email explicitly clear, don’t just hide it in the footer.
5) Use CRO
Last but not least is conversion rate optimisation.
Good SEO means traffic and a good UX design and homepage CRO means that traffic turns into profit.
CTAs – Utilising calls to action is one of the best ways to optimise that homepage by calling attention to your products, services and special offers.
USPs – The homepage is the place to shout about your unique selling points. It is the time to grab attention and stand out over competitors.
Headers – H1s, H2 and H3s etc. are a smart way of incorporating keywords and showing their importance to Google but it’s also an opportunity to entice and compel visitors to read more, explore the rest of your site or show your ethos and values:
Test – Don’t forget to multi-variant test your homepage regularly to draw together the features that work best with your audience.
Using these 5 must have points, you will have an excellent starting point for a killer homepage.