First of all let me apologise for a lack of activity on the blog recently, I have been pretty ill and have fallen behind in many of my online endeavours.
What I want to discuss today is how to structure your homepage, something that I am often asked is exactly how to use the keywords on a page, yes I am going to talk about title tags and headings but I am going to go into more detail than that.
The thoughts within this post are purely my own and I have found these techniques to work the best over my 7 years in online marketing.
So, do you know how many keywords to optimise for on your page? Where to use exact matches? How to use them in links? How to use keywords in your category or archive? If not you should continue to read.
Keywords in General
When it comes to optimising the homepage of a site I don’t particularly like to use anymore than 3 keywords, a low, medium and high competition keyword. This allows you some early ranking success and allows you to easily measure your progress in Google.
The low competition keyword should have a decent amount of traffic but not so competitive that it will take you longer than 3 months to rank. I usually like to look for keywords with around 1000 exact searches a month.
The medium keyword needs to be a little more ambitious, look for a keyword with around 3000 to 5000 exact searches a month. This should take you around 6 months before you see any real rankings.
The high competition keyword needs to be the crown jewel, you are going to make a long term effort to land this one but the traffic will be worth it. Ideally the number of searches for this keyword needs to be at least 10,000 and needs to be 100% relevant to the theme of your site.
There are many different schools of thought on how best to use your title tag, it is the most influential on page factor therefore it’s important to get it right.
You obviously have to use your keywords within the title tag but the other main factor to consider is prominence, how prominent are your keywords?? I generally like to structure my title tags like so;
High competition keyword – Medium competition – Low competition/Brand
The only time I stray from this model is with a new site (under 18 months old) and prefer to put more prominence on the ‘medium’ keyword;
Medium keyword – High – Low/Brand
As you can see this is what I have done with SEOwizz. I also feel including your brand is an important part of building trust, however it is not necessary for high rankings.
I think using h1 – h6 are now a little overrated, however for the sake of covering all angles I would advise using your High and Medium competition keywords in the h1 and h2 and use variations within the others.
I am often asked about the effectiveness of category links and if they need to be optimised. In my opinion no they do not, in fact a site can look pretty spammy if it has repetitive keywords in internal links. What I would say is use optimised internal links when pointing to a page that has been specifically optimised for it. As you will see in the footer, I have a link to my ‘SEO Leeds‘ page, optimised appropriately.
External Links and the no follow
Since Google advised the nofollow attribute cannot be used to store PageRank many webmasters have decided to remove them, I personally have seen detrimental effects when the nofollow has been removed, therefore I still advise keeping it on those links that are no good for users and other unnecessary link holes. I, for example, use it on my feed links and a few other social sites and have seen no negative effects of doing it this way.
Static or not?
This is something that is often debated, in my opinion a static homepage is easier to optimise. If you have a blog the new posts will show on the homepage, these may not be optimised for the keywords you are chasing, this may cause huge fluctuations in rank, at least until you have huge link popularity and authority. Whether or not you have a static homepage will depend much on the type of site you are running, a purely social blog will benefit from showing users up to date posts, of course you can compromise by having links to your latest posts on the page somewhere.
Static will help gain consistent early rankings, mobile will be more erratic in the early days but should settle down when you have enough links.
A little on building links
All I want to talk about here is anchor text. It is no good creating the exact anchor text every time, this will soon get you banned on Google, however you have to use some ‘exact match’ link text in order to compete. In research I have carried out recently it seems the top sites have around 35% of their links anchored with the exact target keyword, this is something you should try to emulate in your link building strategy.
One last thing before I finish, in order for your page to look attractive to Google it must be content rich. I recommend anywhere between 400 – 1000 on your homepage, implementing lot’s of different keyword variations.
I know some of this will be old news to a lot of my readers but felt I just need to clarify how I go about structuring a homepage. A homepage setup as above with a strong linking strategy behind it will do well in the SERPS and fetch the traffic you need.
As always please feel free to add to the topic and ask any questions you need in the comments.Line Break
Author: Tim (294 Articles)
Tim Grice is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 7 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Head of Search at Branded3, an SEO agency in Leeds.