One area of your website that should always be on the SEO copywriter‘s agenda is your homepage.
It is often the most popular page on your website. It is likely to be a gateway to the rest of your site and your online sales cycle. It’s where people come to see what you’re all about and make decisions about whether they want to work with you.
If the fact that your customers want up-to-the-second information isn’t enough to motivate you into updating your homepage every single day, then consider that the likes of Google and Bing have completely changed how they rank your homepage (and website).
What you need to put on your homepage
In trying to make this as clear as possible, I’ve created this list of things you should be doing versus what you likely used to do (or are doing) on your homepage.
Promote the most important thing to your most important customers: in the old days, we would make the homepage a great big directory of all the other sections of the website (i.e. portal). This is just not going to work any more as the search engines are much better at understanding your website structure.
With better design options today, we no longer need our content to point our customers around the site, we simply need to promote the most important messages. This means making some tough decisions about who your most important customers are and being confident in promoting one or two most important pieces of content geared just for them. As you’ll see, your other segments will find what they are looking for too, because your design makes it really easy to find things. (Right?)
Use a small, focused set of keywords: in the old Google world, we put loads of keywords and keyword groups on our homepages in the hopes that it would help that page rank highly for the searches our customers were making. But, the Google and Bing algorithms are now so sophisticated that they make judgements across our whole sites, not just our homepages.
This means that you can now focus on just one small set of keywords on your homepage relating to that one specific customer segment and content you are promoting, even just branded keywords. It means you can truly create landing pages specific to different segments and keyword groups. It means, your homepage can do what it was meant to rather than be a hodgepodge of SEO copy.
Less is now more: Designers can finally smile as gone are the days of long homepages filled with keyword rich copy. The way the search engines work today means that you can use much shorter copy, that is more focused on delivering just what customers want. (See above.)
That could be by using a more visual way of communicating your value proposition such as a graphic. Now, we’re not saying NO copy, just much much less than the old paragraph after paragraph explaining every little nuance of your business. As mentioned above, focus on the most important message to your most important audience segment.
Far from making our lives more stressful, all these changes that the search giants are making serve to help our customers and us. It helps them find what they want more easily, and it allows us to do what was right all along; focus our marketing on ways we can best serve our customers.