One thing we sometimes forget about when it comes to SEO is the importance of the homepage. It is not only the first page your visitors see but also, most likely, the first page seen by the search engines. Because of this it is important to spend time optimising the page with rich content for SEO success.
What is the purpose of the homepage?
- Establish trust and credibility (with the use of company information and logos, awards, industry body memberships, product guarantees, reviews, etc.)
- Headline information (hook them in with news, competitions, events, etc.)
- Specials and marketing (using promotions and offers).
Here are a few ‘must-haves’ for a good homepage:
Content - The copy on the homepage carries the most weight when it comes to SEO. It’s great to have images but it is fundamental to have rich up-to-date content. The position and placement of your text is very important. Most of the copy should be above the fold and as close to the head of the page as possible.
Links - Back links to the homepage are also just as important. These can be links from social networking sites, blogs, media sites (where you’ve had news or articles published) and external links exchanged with other sites. It is important that the latter are relevant and/or complementary to your business or search engines will penalise you.
Keywords - Make sure that your homepage contains a few of your top keywords and phrases that you’d like to be found for. These should be spread in a natural way throughout your content. Remember to incorporate some of your keywords into the image alt and title tags.
Footer – Your footer should contain all useful navigation links such as ‘Home’, ‘Terms & Conditions’, ‘Contact Us’ etc. Preferably these should be text-based links styled only with CSS for good SEO.
H tags – These tags are not just for specifying the appearance of content. They help search engines distinguish the important text from the rest. H tags should be used for all relevant headings within your copy with <h1> being the most relevant.
If you have any advice on things that have worked for you, then it would be good to hear it below.