Lesson Four – Homepage Optimisation – 1
We’re now ready to start the optimisation process. We’ll start with your homepage.
Of course its necessary to optimise all pages you want rankings for and we’ll come to that later. The homepage is a bit of a special case though, for two reasons – one, it should reflect the more general nature of your business – and keyphrases selected accordingly. Secondly, it is generally easier to get rankings for your homepage than others. This is because typically it will have more search engine ‘equity’ in it because links from other sites will direct to your homepage (we’ll study this in greater detail at a later point).
There are two main parts to optimising any page – firstly optimising the on-page text and secondly optimising the metadata (metatags). The latter we’ll address next time but this time I want to focus on producing some good text for your homepage to capture the phrases you have targeted.
Before I ask you to select your homepage keyphrases I want to address the important point of SEO copywriting
Copywriting and SEO
We cant get away from the fact that search engines, at the moment, place lots of emphasis on the textual content of your site. What they read is important in assessing what your pages are all about. So, you need text, and as a rule of thumb at this stage lets say at least 250 words on each page you want rankings for.
A common misconception is that users dont like too much text. They do; its more a question of how the text is structured and presented to them. Here’s an example of a great homepage that ranks number one for ‘garden office’ (out of 108,000,000 competing pages!).
Take a look at www.iobuild.co.uk. Scroll down the homepage and see how the text flows and how the images used interract and break up the text.
Here’s another good example www.aardvarksafaris.co.uk – you’ll see here the page is dominated by great photography and the left hand side navigation. If you scroll down though you’ll see excellently presented copy. Most people wont necessarily read all this but if they do it reads well – and certanly Googlebot will gobble it all up.
So the trick is presentation and structure..
Choosing Keyphrases and Density Considerations
I would suggest you choose two, and a maximum of four phrases for your homepage optimisation. In the example above ‘garden office’ and ‘garden offices’ were selected.
So, go ahead and choose a couple of phrases from your list.
I suggest when you produce your copy you write the text to sound as natural as possible. The text is there for people not search engines. Having said that you want to make sure that you are repeating the target phrases a few times. Two to three repetitions in 250 words is fine. Lets again use www.iobuild.co.uk as our example.
Firstly carry out a google search for the phrase ‘garden offices’…
If you now click on the ‘cached’ option – the one Ive encircled in green – you will see google’s record of this page and also the repetitions google has highlighted for you. (Incidentally – this is a good way of checking the repetitions the top ranked site is using giving an indication of what is obviously working). You’ll see in this case around 5 repetitions of the exact phrase in around 500 words. Its the same for the other term the page is optimised for -’garden office’. This keyphrase density (1%) is fine for 500 words. I’d increase it to 2% for 250 words – that is 2 to 3 repetitions – max.
Hopefully that gives you an idea of how to produce optimised copy. There are a few other points worth remembering about keyphrase repetitions:
- They can be included in bullet points to break up the text
- They can be included in navigation links
- They can be included in links within the text
- They can be included in footers in the page
…and other places to. But at the moment go ahead and produce some good copy to capture your main keyphrases and next time we’ll build on this and do the metatagging.
One last thing…. some people have a problem deciding what to write about on their homepage. In addition to the two examples Ive given above, have a look at this example – www.deangroup-int.co.uk – you can see here they have been creative in their copy, using company history, the processes they use, quality procedures etc as seperate sections to capture their two main phrases ‘investment casting’ and investment castings’.
Best of luck with it. Its not the easiest thing in the world to do (and there are alternatives we’ll discuss later) but its the best approach.
Produce your homepage copy but dont upload it yet. Let me know if you need any help.