What will make your brand-new homepage rank in 2018? Here’s what you need to know about determining the most important elements of search engine optimization.
You’ve likely spent a lot of time optimizing your blog content and your social media content with the best SEO practices in mind.
This is great. But, how much attention have you given to your homepage?
Oftentimes, businesses get so wrapped up in optimizing other parts of their website, that they forget about optimizing the homepage altogether.
This is a huge mistake, as the homepage is often the first thing customers see when they come to your website. It’s the gateway to the rest of your content and it sets the tone for the rest of your site.
So, what do you have to do to optimize your homepage?
Read on to learn about the most important elements of search engine optimization for your homepage.
1. A Great Headline is Everything
A great homepage all begins with a great headline.
When we say headline, what we really mean is the title of your website. This title will likely be the first thing visitors see when they come to your site, so you want to make it count.
As a general rule of thumb, you will want to keep your headline between 6 and 12 words.
Seeing as one study found that a killer headline can increase conversion rates by 10.4%, you’ll want to make sure you choose your words carefully.
Don’t sweat it though, creating an awesome headline is a lot easier than you think.
The main thing to focus on when writing a headline is that you want to answer the question, “What problem can this site help me solve?”
For example, let’s say you have a job board site. Your homepage title might be something like, “Your number one source for helping you find your dream job.”
Or, maybe you just own a really great Italian restaurant. Your title could be something like, “Come for the pasta, come back for an escape to Italy”.
Get creative with it, and never stop thinking about ways you can evolve your headline.
2. Beautiful Images
Humans are visual creatures, which means the images you choose can make or break your homepage.
In fact, people often feel like they connect with images more strongly than they do with text.
So, don’t just slap on the first generic stock photo you see.
First, take your time to think about what types of images would be a good representation of your products or services. If you have the money and resources, you may want to even consider hiring a photographer to snap a few photos for your homepage.
When putting images on your homepage, keep the following in mind for best optimization:
- Choose an ALT text that describes the image
- Naturally include the ALT text keywords
- If the image already has text included, try separating the text from the image, so search engines can pick it up
3. Keep it Clean and Simple
You likely have many wonderful things that you want to share with your customers.
However, don’t feel like you need to share everything on your homepage. Many businesses make the mistake of trying to cram a ton of information about their products, services, and brand right on their homepage.
Unfortunately, while it’s great to be enthusiastic about your business, putting all of your info on the homepage will bog the page down and make your customers feel overwhelmed.
Search engines like homepages that are clean and simple, and so do your customers.
Plus, you want to keep your customers on your site as long as possible, which means enticing them to read other pages.
4. Call to Action
A customer isn’t going to be very happy if they come to your homepage looking for a solution to a problem, and then find out there really isn’t a clear next step to do anything about it.
Many websites make the mistake of making it almost impossible to find a phone number or a button that offers customers a next step.
Therefore, you need to create a call to action on your homepage that makes it super obvious for customers to know what to do next.
Let’s get back to the two examples we used earlier, the job board site and the restaurant site.
A great call to action for a job board site could be something like “Click here to find the hottest job listings in your area.”
A call to action for a restaurant might be, “Click here to learn how we became the number one pasta joint in town.”
Basically, you want to make sure your call to action stays in line with solving the reader’s problem, and that it’s enticing enough to make them want to stay on your site.
5. Write Great Meta Content
What isn’t displayed on the homepage is just as important as what is.
What we’re talking about here is meta content, specifically, the meta title and the meta descriptions.
The meta title is the first thing that appears in search engines. Therefore, you need to make sure it contains competitive search terms so it can rank higher in the search engines.
Make sure your meta title contains more than just your brand name. And, avoid throwing your slogan in there, as rarely does this have anything to do with your keywords.
Click here to learn more about title tags.
Also, make sure you are creating some killer meta descriptions. These too should contain keywords, as well as other information about what your site promises to deliver. Try to keep the meta descriptions to 160 characters or fewer.
Most Important Elements of Search Engine Optimization: Wrap Up
So, there you have it, the most important elements of search engine optimization for your homepage.
If you have any questions about these suggestions, be sure to drop us a comment below.
Otherwise, be sure to check out our SEO page for more tips on optimizing your online materials.