What is included in a fully customized homepage? Read more in Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch
When you’re trying to get your business noticed online, you need to create a website that stands out. While your site should have a great user experience and make it clear to visitors what your business does, you should also make sure it is optimized to keep search engines happy.
Creating a site with the following features will not only make it easier for visitors to understand who you are and navigate the rest of your website, it will also create a stronger approach to SEO.
an HTTPS certified site
First things first: both visitors and search engines want to know that your site is secure. Google’s Chrome browser has started warning visitors that the site isn’t secure if it doesn’t have an HTTPS certificate, and they’ve even made it a ranking factor.
Switching to HTTPS is simple, and most web hosting platforms will do it for existing customers at little or no cost. If you don’t switch, you risk falling behind your competition who have switched.
fast load time
Another ranking factor is how quickly your site loads. Load times 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. This tool gives you a rating—green, yellow, or orange—for your site.
If your site isn’t loading as fast as you expected, talk to your web developer about strategies to increase the speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as removing a few large items and sticking to just simple text and images on your homepage.
Search engines like Google go into the world and crawl websites, looking for information on those sites that tells them what a website is about. This is how a search engine determines which queries you should be ranking for.
Let’s say you have a home painting business in the Atlanta area. They’ll likely see words like “home painting,” “exterior painting,” “contractor,” or “home repair” on your site. They will also see your location and contact information. Google then determines where you should be ranking in a given query based on what they find. That’s why you’ll be searching for “home painters near Atlanta” but not “party planners in Seattle”.
However, only certain website content is easily crawlable. Using HTML and simple text on your homepage gives you the best shot at getting indexed properly, so that you appear in search results for the most relevant questions.
Include your value proposition
Your value proposition should be clearly highlighted on your homepage. Again, when search engines crawl your website, they are looking for relevant information about your business. Your value proposition not only makes this clear to search engines, it also makes it easy for human visitors to know and understand immediately what your business does.
Featuring its 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 on your homepage is to include them in your H1 tags and Alt text on images.
The H1 tag is basically the title at the top of the page. This is something that search engines will search for information about the website. It will also tell visitors what they can expect to find on the rest of your site. That’s why it’s important that the H1 tag accurately reflects what your business does, and includes keywords that don’t make the language seem unnatural.
Alt text can be used to tell search engines about the content of a particular image. They are another way to include additional keywords on your homepage. The Alt text description should describe exactly what the image is about, but you can also use the keywords you’re hoping to rank for.
Let’s say you own a local art school in Dallas. Your homepage has an image of students making bowls on pottery wheels. The alt text description reads “pottery student at XYZ Art School Dallas, Texas”. It not only accurately describes the photo, but includes the name and location of your business.
Metadata is your business information that is displayed on SERPs. The title is the blue link you’ll see on Google, and the meta description is kind of gray at the bottom, which gives people a little more context about what they can expect to find if they click on the link.
Make sure your homepage title and meta description is higher than your business name. Include some more specific information about the products or services you offer, or your location (if relevant). This will help you appear in suitable searches and make people more aware of what you do.
For example, Duct Tape Marketing is titled, “Duct Tape Marketing: Small Business Marketing Consulting” and our meta description is, “Home of the Simple, Effective, and Affordable Small Business Marketing System and Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.”
Your Contact Information
It may sound obvious, but you will be shocked by the number of businesses that neglect to include their contact information on their homepage.
Not only is this wildly helpful for visitors who want to contact you with further questions or make a purchase, it is also a ranking factor for search engines.
Your contact information must be accurate, and synced with search engines on your Google My Business profile and other online directories. If there are discrepancies in your business name, location, or contact information, it could put you at a loss to rank in the SERPs (and it can certainly confuse your customers).
You want your homepage to be seen by customers and prospects who need the solutions your business provides. The best way to do this is to create a homepage that ranks well with search engines and is user-friendly to human visitors. When you optimize your page for both man and machine, you create an effective online base for your business.
If you’d like to talk more about how to optimize your business homepage and website, schedule a consultation with our team.