What is an SEO friendly website
How to Create an SEO Friendly Homepage
It's actually quite easy, isn't it?
You've probably been optimizing websites for as long as you've been doing keyword research.
That's just part of SEO. Keywords. Textwriting. Everything great. It's actually quite simple.
Stop, not so fast.
One still argues about what constitutes an effective homepage optimization.
Yoast even published an article questioning the very existence of homepage SEO. Here is an excerpt from the article that explains what homepage optimization is all about.
The logic behind this is this: Since many pages have keyword-based names, it is extremely difficult to get a good ranking if your brand name happens to be the same as one of the keywords.
And when you think about it, such a brand name can be quite a challenge.
Do you understand now why the whole thing can be complicated?
This is not a phantom theory of SEO spokesmen. That's a real problem that You and your company might just face it!
Although in most cases your homepage is surely the most authoritative page on your website, you may not even reach the first page in the SERPs if you have to compete against strong competitors.
Yoast is of the opinion that you shouldn't even try to place your homepage or choose a main keyword.
I can even understand that. Really.
But I see the whole thing a little differently.
Although I also think that trying to place for a single keyword is pointless (depending on the competition), that does not mean that you should hoist the white flag and just give up website optimization.
All you need is a different approach.
While working my way through a post in Moz's Q&A forum, I came across a comment on this Yoast article.
This comment really got me thinking.
That really hits the nail on the head.
In my opinion, not doing website optimization can lead to the loss of high quality traffic.
That is why you should be aware of your keywords and try to be placed for certain keywords.
You just shouldn't Alles Putting your energy into trying to get ranked for a single keyword - your branded keyword.
In the end, the goal of your homepage shouldn't be to let Google know what topic your site is about, but rather what product you are offering.
That will now be clarified and there is a logical framework, if I want to deal with the basic requirements of an SEO-friendly homepage.
As always, my suggestions are based on my own research and experience.
How I was able to attract over 100,000 visitors per month with SEO.
Your main goals
I see it that way. There are three main goals you should always keep in mind when building your homepage.
- Explain to Google and human visitors what your company / product is doing.
- Facilitate Intuitive Navigation - An efficient page structure helps visitors find what they are looking for and is a critical aspect of SEO.
- Answering the main questions that a visitor has and removing possible doubts or fears - this can mainly be done with detailed content and social proof.
The great thing is that these targets kill two birds with one stone.
Think about it.
If you optimize the main components like keyword-optimized headings, intuitive navigation and detailed content, you can target search engines and human visitors alike.
It's a win-win situation.
How do you implement these goals?
Although there is a lot involved in an SEO-friendly homepage, it is actually quite easy if you do it right.
There's a Whiteboard Friday on Moz that addresses the key components of a well-designed homepage.
In the video the “old” and the “new” methods of website design are discussed.
Here's a recap of Rand Fishkin's whiteboard so we can get an overview.
You can just ignore the "old way" because in our case they are not important.
Instead, I want to focus on the five main points, A through E.
If you take all of these elements into account, your homepage should actually be pretty SEO friendly and ranked successfully in the SERPs.
I would now like to break down each individual element and then discuss it in detail by showing relevant examples.
Logo and navigation
I won't take much time on this point because it's basically self explanatory.
Of course you want to use your logo on the homepage because it underpins your brand identity.
As far as navigation is concerned, you should consider all the main areas of your website here.
Then visitors can quickly narrow down their search and find what they are looking for. In addition, Google then understands both the theme of your site and your brand.
I see no reason to complicate the whole thing unnecessarily.
Your navigation should only be clearly visible and logically arranged.
Look how simple the Quick Sprout homepage is.
The Sprout Social homepage is also a great example. It follows the same pattern.
Explain what your company does.
This is important.
You have to show clearly what your company does and what products you offer.
There are two important things to keep in mind when doing this.
First and foremost, your offer must be crystal clear.
Your visitors should have no doubts about what your offer includes.
Here's a great example from Cloud Bakers.
You can immediately see that they offer a cloud-based system for email, online file storage, data exchange, etc.
At Quick Sprout, I've made sure visitors don't get confused.
You want to highlight your unique selling point, also known as a Unique Selling Point (USP), in the shortest possible time.
In addition, you should offer a reasonable amount of in-depth content.
In this way, you can further expand your USP, make your offer even more understandable and help Google to understand the topic of your site and your brand.
So what is “a fair amount” of in-depth content?
Well, Business 2 Community recommends at least 400 words of quality content on your homepage.
That's a pretty good guideline.
But I am of the opinion that the content does not have to be quite as extensive.
Some of the best websites I know use a lot fewer words.
The most important thing is that you explain your company / product appropriately and show what you have to offer.
Try not to use more words just to reach a certain number of words.
It should always make sense.
Build in keywords
So here is the thing with the keywords.
I mentioned earlier that you shouldn't try to get ranked for a single branded keyword.
While it cannot be said with absolute certainty that you will not end up ranking well for that keyword (which is entirely possible), you are definitely missing out on an opportunity.
In my opinion, Rand Fishkin's advice should be heeded:
Focus on a very small subset of keywords.
Simply target a handful of keywords that you want to be ranked for.
Also, make sure they fit the theme of your site and your brand.
In this way you can give Google important pointers and improve the general SEO of your homepage.
In my opinion, Business 2 Community is a great example of this.
“Use logical opportunities to incorporate your keywords. For a home improvement website, we could swap the term "New Communities" for a better term, such as "New Toronto Home Development Communities," which appears more often in search results. "
All you have to do is make sure that the keywords blend in naturally and fit your brand.
And there's one thing I don't have to mention. Steer clear of keyword stuffing.
It is clear!
How can I put together a group of relevant keywords?
The following process always works.
Use Ubersuggest to search for keywords and follow these steps:
Step # 1: Enter a main keyword and click on “Search”.
Step # 2: Then click on “Keyword Ideas” in the left side menu.
Step # 3: Look at the results.
Find relevant keywords from the list and place them on your homepage.
In particular, keep an eye out for long-tail keywords.
For example, I could say “Laptops for Gaming” and “Laptops for Sale”.
To find even more suitable keywords, I click on the “Questions” tab.
In this area you will find questions that users enter into the search engine and you can then write blog posts in which these questions are answered.
Then click on the keywords that you want to add to your homepage. Now this window opens:
For example, if you want to use the term “travel laptops”, you should first check the number of backlinks, the domain score and the social shares for this keyword. You will also receive information on the estimated visits by search engine position and you can get a better overview of the possible additional traffic for each position.
With this simple method you can find new keywords for your homepage in a flash.
Headings are important for SEO.
That is why you naturally want to enjoy its advantages on your homepage.
Ideally, you will naturally incorporate a few of your main keywords into your headlines.
In my opinion, HubSpot does this pretty well.
But how big should the headlines be?
Here is my recommendation.
Only use the H1 tag at the top. It has to fit your brand and your topic
Then you can use H2, H3 and even H4 tags as long as you follow a logical flow and build a hierarchy.
The use of images
We all know that people respond particularly well to content with images and less to purely text-based content.
So it is understandable that you want to include at least a few pictures in your homepage.
But I would like to point out one thing.
You should always offer an image in combination with a small text.
Here's a great example from Quick Sprout.
Here's another example from the Dollar Shave Club.
If you offer the pictures together with a small text, you achieve two important things:
- You provide visitors with an eye-catcher and at the same time offer details about your company / product.
- It's a great opportunity to provide additional rich text.
If you want to go a step further, consider a video.
This has almost become the standard lately and I also offer a video on the NeilPatel.com homepage.
The Dollar Shave Club too.
And if the video goes down well with your visitors (like the one from the Dollar Shave Club), it can even give you some great backlinks.
Or at least it underpins your USP and helps visitors to connect the individual points with one another.
Offer social proof
As Rand already suggests in Whiteboard Friday, social proof signals (credibility) are an important part of your homepage.
This can be testimonials, reviews from satisfied customers or examples of customers you have worked with. Social proof has a positive impact on your site.
In some cases, the impact can be dramatic.
I would now like to show you a few examples of companies that have seamlessly integrated social proof into their homepage.
For example, there would be Cratejoy:
And then we have Sprout Social.
They even use the logos of companies they've worked with and testimonials.
This is another way of naturally adding rich text to the page to keep the search engines happy, while also proving to your prospects that your business is worth working with.
You are probably wondering what the links are all about.
More precisely, you're probably wondering how many internal links you should have (or whether you should have any at all).
Internal links are an important part of SEO.
Here is my take on the matter.
In my opinion, including a handful of relevant links is a good idea as long as it makes sense.
In most cases, these links are placed below and serve as a navigation aid for your visitors.
HubSpot does that really great on their homepage.
They have a great menu in the footer that serves a brilliant purpose - to help visitors explore what is on offer and learn more about HubSpot.
It's not spam-like, nor is it just intended to produce a little more “SEO Juice”.
Here is another example from MuleSoft.
This area contains links to different pages of the website and links to the products.
MuleSoft lets these links flow naturally into the page and makes it easy for visitors to find out more.
And yet it doesn't disrupt the user experience.
You can use these links on your homepage with a clear conscience. They make your site even more SEO friendly.
But there is one thing you should know.
It's imperative to make sure that they fit the theme of your site and brand, and that they don't flood your footer.
In other words, these links should provide a better overview.
The meta description
We mustn't forget one small but important detail - the meta description of your homepage.
You should mention your company name at least once. You also have to explain briefly what your company has to offer.
You should also highlight what your customers get from buying your products.
Here is the meta description of Quick Sprout as an example:
And here is Crazy Egg's meta description:
You can clearly see that both provide a good overview of the topic of the page.
This helps the search engines to better understand the topic of your page and gives potential visitors a brief insight into the benefits they can expect from visiting your page.
CTA (call to action)
Last but not least, there is the CTA.
Although the CTA is a simple element of your website, you should pay enough attention to it.
You can't just slap a half-hearted CTA on your page that doesn't clearly state the action you want your visitors to take.
What are the characteristics of a good CTA?
- It has to be conspicuous
- He has to be direct
- It has to be clear
- You should do an A / B test to determine which colors, positions, etc., work best.
Slack does this great on their homepage.
Whenever possible (and useful), use words in your call-to-action that are relevant to the topic of your website.
For example, on Quick Sprout, the CTA is “Analyze the website”.
If you want to learn more about creating great Calls to Action, check out this post on NeilPatel.com.
Is it still important to get the main content in the visible area of the page?
You have probably heard it before: “Place the content in the visible area”.
If you put the most important content too far down, too many visitors can overlook it.
But Rand Fishkin makes an interesting point on an episode of Whiteboard Friday.
He says that people scroll a lot more now than they used to, mainly due to the widespread use of mobile devices.
Just think about it.
If you use a smartphone or tablet, do you open a homepage and then only look at the visible content without scrolling down?
I am a “compulsive scroller” and always work my way to the bottom of the web pages that interest me.
If I don't do that, then I just can't get rid of the feeling that I've missed something.
Rand has great advice on how to position your main content and whether it should be placed in the visible area.
People are definitely scrolling down. Just make sure your site is irresistible to turn heads down.
I personally place the most important information in the visible area and then explain it in more detail below.
If visitors continue to scroll down on Quick Sprout, they will see this here:
Keep it short and sweet
I would like to say one more important thing about creating an SEO friendly website.
As with most other things in web design (and design in general), less is often more
That's why you shouldn't overdo it with your homepage.
Express yourself clearly and get to the point.
You don't want to use long, complex, or unnecessarily complicated sentences.
While I am an advocate of long-form content, this is not necessarily an approach that you should use on your homepage.
Signal v. Noise even did a design study for CRM company Highrise.
You did an A / B test for two different designs.
The first design was quite “restless” and had a lot of information.
The second design was much simpler and included the image of a smiling woman.
Here are the results of the study:
The second design received 102.5% more registrations!
This shows us once again how important it is to keep things simple.
So you should always keep this in mind when structuring your homepage.
I know I put a lot of information on you in this article. So let me summarize the whole thing again briefly.
You should definitely not target a single branded keyword on your homepage.
Instead, you should target different keywords to represent the overarching theme of your site and your brand.
You should do everything in your power to help search engines understand your company and your products, while presenting a USP to your visitors and answering the most frequently asked questions (FAQs).
You can do this by providing detailed content and sticking to common SEO practices (e.g. the use of headings, a great meta description, the provision of relevant links, etc.).
Images and videos, in combination with short texts, can improve the clarity of your homepage, help visitors to link all points with one another and help you to create even more detailed content.
In addition, you should include at least one social proof in the homepage and offer a watertight CTA.
Placing the most important content in the visible area is not mandatory as long as your content is irresistible enough to convince the visitor to scroll.
And when you've taken care of everything, all you have to do is make sure that your homepage is visually appealing and not overloaded with information.
Ultimately, appearance is everything.
Keep the search engines happy by providing them with all the information they need to understand your business / product and give your visitors a great experience by answering their questions.
In your opinion, what is the most important element of an SEO-optimized homepage?
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