In the “old days” of the web, you could almost guarantee that your website visitors would land on your home page first. So, you filled it with keywords (probably way too many) to attract the search engines, had navigation which led to every other page of your website, and tried to be ‘all things to all people’.
As the search engines have advanced, your home page may is no longer be the most visited page on your site, nor the top entry page. This is especially true if you are actively marketing content such as blog posts, your product catalog, landing pages, local search content. Even more so if you using social media, and marketing.
The needs of your home page visitors must be addressed so that the least number of clicks will take them to the correct destination within your site. It’s essential that you understand clearly what the needs of these visitors (your target audience and potential customers) may be and that your front page reflects this and provides suitable direction.
Your home page should focus on the most likely needs your ideal prospects will have – by answering the frequently asked questions and providing links to more in-depth information. If you sell many products and serve many markets, you do not need to cater for every single one of these on the home page. Make it simple to reach the main areas of your site with clear labels and logical architecture. This way the visitors can lead themselves to the answers they seek even if they do not fit into your most profitable category of customers.
The graphic elements of your home page – images, icons, photos – help to quickly convey meaning so you should spend a great deal of care choosing them. A short sentence beside each one will help communicate exactly where a click will lead the visitor, and can include essential keywords.
Keywords and Optimization
There is no need (nor has there ever been) to cram every keyword relating to your business on the home page. Well-written, quality and keyword-rich content throughout your site will help the search engines to index it for the correct terms.
If there is one thing that Google’s Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird and similar updates should have taught us, it is that you should design and optimize your web pages first and foremost for your site visitors and NOT the search engines.
Quality Content Still Stays Above the Fold
Several years ago, best practice was to have all home page information fit on a single screen without scrolling. Today, there are several reasons why this may not be necessary, such as the use of mobile devices and responsive design. Now, people are accustomed to scrolling down to find more information. But don’t let this give you the excuse to create a never-ending home page filled with content and images. They still should be deeper within your site structure. The most important details on your home page should remain “above the fold”.
Social and Contact Details
Always include your street address as well as icons for your social media accounts on your home page. This helps to establish your image and credibility as a real business, and offers a variety of contact routes without the visitor needing to click any further into the site.
To summarize, your home page should:
- Use a clean design
- Answer WIIFM (what’s in it for me)
- Include a graphic to convey your benefits
- Provide contact details and a geographic address,
- Incorporate navigational elements to all major areas of your site, and
- Be optimized to provide necessary keywords for the visitor (am I in the right place? Will this site have what I am looking for?)
Not sure why your home page has a high bounce rate or why it isn’t converting nearly as much as it possibly can? Join us at the Dallas Search Engine Academy. Attend our SEO Training Classes or call us at 214-550-4310 to schedule a complimentary 20-minute introductory phone meeting.