Your homepage is one of the top, if not the most important, pages of your website and likely drives most of your traffic. But what can you do to make your homepage optimization efforts stand out?
We have gathered five critical elements and three real-world examples of an SEO optimized homepage to help you build an excellent homepage that will help users find your website.
5 Elements of an SEO Optimized Homepage
What are some of the key elements that make up an all-star homepage? Here are five we identify as critically important when it comes to making your homepage stand out.
Creating a strong title tag is important for your homepage’s SEO but also for the user to understand what your content is going to be about. When you write your title tag, include keyword-rich phrases that are relevant to your site’s overall message so that users better connect with your content.
The typical length to aim for when writing title tags is 55 to 60 characters because Google usually truncates, or cuts off, the characters beyond that length.
Your meta description is helpful both for SEO and for users. Your meta description is often shown in search engines and provides additional context about your page to accompany your title tag.
The typical meta description length that search engines show is 155 to 160 characters. You may want to aim for a similar length when writing yours since, like with title tags, search engines will truncate the rest of the description if it goes beyond that length.
The most important rule you should follow when creating an H1 tag is to make it highly relevant to the content on the page. Don't make your visitor dig to find out who you are and what you do.
How many headings should you use? It's an age-old SEO best practice to only use one H1 tag per page, followed by relevant headings to break up the sections. Adhering to this rule and formatting content in a clear hierarchy ensures you are doing your best to assist search engine indexing and conforming to World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) accessibility guidelines.
Calls to Action
Calls to action (CTAs) are finally getting the attention they deserve. You've built a website for a reason, and your site visitors should actually do something when they arrive. Building in clear, action-oriented CTAs are the best way to lead site visitors down your intended conversion path.
Plus, they help with accessibility as well since CTAs like “learn more” give the reader little to go off of when using assistive technology. To make links more accessible, be sure to have the full link text give context rather than the information around it.
For instance, if you have a sentence that says “click here to read more about how SEO is important,” but only “click here” is part of the hyperlink, then people who use screen readers that call up a dialogue box with a list of links from the page only hear “click here” and not the rest of the content.
Considering the rapid pace at which the Google search algorithm is changing, it can be difficult to keep pace. Panda and Penguin, which placed priority on keyword-rich content linked to or from other sites, were replaced by Hummingbird and several other significant algorithm changes over the years that focus on keyword-rich content and unique content that is helpful, genuine, and relevant.
What does this mean for you and your website? Updating your site on a frequent basis with unique content that aims to solve your users problems has never been so important.
Real World Homepage SEO Examples
We have gathered three homepage examples that are exceptionally put together and optimized for SEO.
A leading professional healthcare liability insurer, MagMutual’s homepage benefits from header structure that meets best practices, with no skipped heading levels or repeated phrases. The metadata uses keywords that align with both the site content, goals of the client and expectation of the users.
In addition to moving the site to Drupal 8 to take advantage of site performance, Mediacurrent provided strategic consulting on MagMutual’s data visualization, SEO, and optimization efforts.
2. Scifinder-N page on CAS
The landing page for Scifinder-N, a product of Chemical Abstract Services (CAS), acts as a homepage for the product. The metadata, including the page title and meta description, are well optimized for search on the product and give users a sense of the content.
The strategy team at Mediacurrent provided input on the page design, content strategy, and SEO. They also did an extensive amount of keyword research to ensure the title tag and meta description are optimized for search and to grab the users attention.
3. Scholar’s Edge
Mediacurrent not only developed the Scholar’s Edge 529 site, allowing for a sound structure set up for SEO in Drupal 8, but provided metadata to improve its rankings from the get-go.
Improve Your SEO
Do you need to improve your website’s SEO but aren’t sure where to start? Check out our SEO checklist which includes how to optimize your current content, steps to take to make the most of your keyword research, and more. Download the SEO checklist, and start taking charge of your website’s content strategy!
Author’s note: This post was originally published by Duo Consulting, now part of Mediacurrent. It has been updated with new information.