What’s Included in a Perfectly Optimized Homepage? written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing
When you’re trying to get your business noticed online, you need to create a website that stands out. While your site must have a great user experience and make it clear to visitors what your business does, you must also be sure it’s optimized to keep search engines happy.
Building a site with the following attributes will not only make it easy for visitors to understand who you are and to navigate through the rest of your website, it will also make for a strong approach to SEO.
An HTTPS Certified Site
First thing’s first: Both visitors and search engines want to know you site is secure. Google’s Chrome browser has started warning visitors that a site is not secure if it does not have its HTTPS certificate, and they’ve also made it a ranking factor.
Switching to HTTPS is simple, and most web hosting platforms will do it at little or no cost for existing customers. If you don’t switch, you risk falling behind your competition who have made the switch.
Fast Load Time
Another ranking factor is how quickly your site loads. Load time can vary from desktop to mobile devices, and you want your site to be quick on both. If you’re not sure where you stand, check out the PageSpeed Insights tool from Google. The tool gives you a rating—green, yellow, or orange—for your site.
If your site isn’t loading as quickly as you’d hoped, talk to your web developer about strategies to increase the speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as eliminating some of the bigger items and sticking to just simple text and images on your homepage.
Search engines like Google go out into the world and crawl websites, looking for information on sites that tell them what the website is about. This is how a search engine determines which queries you should be ranking for.
Let’s say you own a home painting business in the Atlanta area. They’ll likely see terms on your site like “home painting,” “exterior painting,” “contractor,” or “home repair.” They’ll also see your location and contact information. Google then determines, based on what they find, where you should be ranking in a given query. That’s why you’ll turn up in a search for “home painters near Atlanta,” but not “party planner in Seattle.”
Only some website content is easily crawlable, though. Using HTML and simple text on your homepage gives you the greatest shot at getting properly indexed, so that you show up in search results for the most relevant queries.
Include Your Value Proposition
Your value proposition must be clearly highlighted on your homepage. Again, when search engines crawl your website, they’re looking for relevant information about what your business does. Your value proposition not only makes that clear for search engines, it also makes it easy for human visitors to immediately know and understand what your business does.
Featuring your value proposition above the fold, front and center, and in a simple text format, keeps all visitors happy and well-informed.
An H1 Tag and Alt Text for Images and Logos
Another way to get more relevant keywords onto your homepage is to include them in your H1 tag and Alt text on images.
An H1 tag is basically the heading at the top of the page. It’s something that search engines will look to for information on what the website is all about. It will also let visitors know what they can expect to find on the rest of your site. So it’s important that the H1 tag accurately portrays what your business does, and includes keywords in a way that doesn’t make the language seem unnatural.
Alt text can be used to let search engines know about the content of a certain image. They are another way to include additional keywords on your homepage. The Alt text description should really describe what the image is, but you can also use keywords that you’re hoping to rank for.
Let’s say you’re the owner of a local art school in Dallas. There is an image on your homepage of students at pottery wheels, making bowls. The Alt text description could read “pottery students at XYZ Art School Dallas, Texas.” That not only accurately describes the photo, but also includes your business’s name and location.
The Right Metadata
Metadata is the information about your business that is displayed on SERPs. The title is the blue link that you’ll see on Google, and the meta description is the grey type underneath, which gives people a little more context about what they can expect to find if they click on the link.
Make sure that the title and meta description for your homepage are more than just your business’s name. Including something more specific about the products or services you offer, or your location (if relevant). This will help you appear in appropriate searches and also give people a greater sense of what you do.
For example, Duct Tape Marketing’s title is, “Duct Tape Marketing: Small Business Marketing Consulting” and our meta description is, “Simple, effective, and affordable small business marketing system and home of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.”
Your Contact Information
This may seem obvious, but you’d be shocked by the number of businesses who neglect to include their contact information on their homepage.
Not only is this wildly helpful to visitors who might want to reach out to you with further questions or to make a purchase, it’s also a ranking factor for search engines.
Your contact information should be correct, and should sync up with what search engines will find on your Google My Business profile and other online directories. If there are inconsistencies on your business’s name, location, or contact information, that can hurt how you rank in SERPs (and it can certainly confuse your customers).
You want your homepage to get noticed by customers and prospects who need the solutions your business offers. The best way to do that is to create a homepage that ranks well with search engines and is user-friendly for human visitors. When you optimize your page for both man and machine, you create an effective online base for your business.
If you want to talk more about how to optimize your business’s homepage and website, schedule a consultation with our team.