Your home page is your landing page. It is where the magic happens, so it only makes sense that it must be SEO-optimized. What you want is a landing page that produces organic traffic.
Why? Because organic traffic is free, and you do not have to spend on ads to make your URL appear at the top of Google if a user typed specific kinds of keywords.
1. Optimize your home page title
The first thing you have to do is to use the appropriate keyword on your home page. This means that if your homepage link appears on search results, the reader must immediately know what business you offer.
Take a look at the screenshot below:
As you can see, if my homepage shows up in the search results, the reader knows that I am offering information on making an income with blogging.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Use no more than 60 characters
- Use targeted keywords
- Do not stuff keywords
- Use your domain name at the beginning of the title
The 60-character limit is there because Google truncates long titles. You want the reader to be able to see the complete title of your home page.
It is also a good practice to write for humans, not robots. One thing I noticed that many people do is that they focus too much on keywords. While this is great, it is not enough. Do not regurgitate keywords in your meta title just for the sake of it.
Writing for humans means it has to be understandable. Make it so that the headline itself is a message for the reader.
2. Optimize your Meta Description
The meta description is the text below your title. Google and other search engines read this description and then appropriately indexes your site where it belongs.
Because of this, you must ensure that:
- Search engines can read and recognize what your website is about
- Readers get enticed to click your URL from the search engine result pages (SERPs)
To do the first one, you have to add keywords to your meta description. Take a look at this screenshot about HubSpot:
It uses the following keywords:
- Customer services
- CRM software
This approach makes it easy for search engines to determine what HubSpot does.
The second thing you want to do is to improve your click-through rate is to make your meta description attractive to humans. Now that the search engine robots have done their job, you need to back it up with a good copy.
Copy is a form of persuasive writing, which is to entices a reader to take action. In this case, the action you want is for the reader to click on your URL, so he gets to your website.
As we can see from HubSpot’s SERP appearance, it tells people what it has to offer. The first two words sat “HubSpot offers.” It is straightforward, and the rest of the meta description tells people what to expect.
The next thing to optimize is your images. If you have banners and logos, make sure you name them appropriately. Use alt tags properly, with the end goal of telling search engines what they are.
Machines cannot “see” images. They can only read the texts by which the machines were labeled. As such, you have to appropriate label your images according to the keywords you are aiming for.
You have to do the same thing with your logo. If your logo is a cup of coffee, do not call it a cup of coffee. Instead, label it according to your brand name, with keywords that fit your niche.
- Midnight Brew Coffee Recipes
- Midnight Brew Coffee Instructions and Manual
Here are some tips in making your homepage images optimized:
- Set ALT text or tags that describe your image, with keywords
- If your image contains text, separate the text as a different picture
- As much as possible, do not use text on the image
If the image has text, machines cannot read that text. Doing so makes it problematic, especially if the text is important for your SEO optimization strategy. Here are some examples if your brand name is Midnight Brew:
4. Content SEO
Content SEO is not different from how you do SEO with your blogs. However, your homepage SEO must be more robust than your blog posts. You need to really nail this down.
If we come back to Hubspot, you will notice that their homepage has important words such as Marketing, Sales Hub, and many more.
For e-commerce landing pages, you also need to put images of what you are selling. If you have a corporate or business website, you need to use texts that describe what you offer. For blogs, you typically have to display snippets of your most recent posts.
As always, use keywords the right way. Use long-tail keywords that match what your target users may be searching for. If there are images on your homepage, put captions to describe them, and sprinkle keywords in these captions.
5. Loading speed
The last piece of advice I have for you is loading speed. I cannot stress this enough: if Google puts your URL at the top of the SERPs, it is trying to assess your performance.
If somebody clicks it, and it turns out that your site speed is poor, Google will take this into account. If your site speed is poor, the Google algorithm will naturally think that your users are not getting the best experience.
Slow load speeds cause users to bounce. What this means is that the user decides to leave your homepage without visiting other pages. If this happens in a concise period of time, like less than five seconds, Google will show your URL less and less.
Google wants to be the best (and it is) search engine. Because of this goal, they put a lot of emphasis on user experience. Google does not want to recommend slow websites to its users.
If you want to check how Google sees your homepage regarding loading speed, go to Google’s Site Speed Insights. Enter your URL and then see how your landing page is performing.
Summary: Homepage SEO
Your homepage is your storefront. It does not matter if you are operating an online store, an affiliate marketing site, or a blog. If anybody ever gets to one of your blog pages, they will likely come and check out your home page. If not, it still makes sense to optimize your home page to get organic traffic.
Your first goal is to make sure that search engines know what your homepage content is about. Google, for one, uses a sophisticated algorithm to do “read” your home page and determine what it is about. Make sure you abide by the rules and that you also optimize your content for humans.
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