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 can’t 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 300 words on each page you want rankings for however the more words the better and if possible there should be at least 500 words.
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 high 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 interact and break up the text.
So the trick is presentation and structure..
Choosing Keyphrases and using them effectively
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.
In the past we would have been obsessed with including a certain amount of each phrase within a certain amount of text. For example we would have said: Have 5 instances of Garden Office and 5 instances of Garden Office. This has now changed.
Nowadays we recommending working with synonyms as well. So instead of having the same phrase repeated over and over again we use different words that have the same meaning. Google has boasted that it can identify the meaning of words for a long time and over the last year this part of the search engine has improved considerably.
As we can see this in the following example:
You can see from the above image that we searched for Outdoor Offices but in the bottom listing you can see that Google has highlighted Garden Offices
Rooms Outdoor: Garden Rooms,Garden Offices, Garden …
So in this example you can see that Google has used Garden Offices as a synonym of Outdoor Offices. This means you can use instances of Outdoor Offices in your text and this will help you get listings for Garden Offices as well as obviously Outdoor Offices.
This can make SEO copywriting easier. You can either research these phrases as we did in the above example, or you can just use good synonyms because Google is constantly improving this part of the algorithm so these should get picked up one day if they don’t already – a way of future proofing your SEO.
If you visit http://www.iobuild.co.uk/ you will see that there are 4 instances of Garden Offices and 12 instances of Garden Office. There are also 7 instances of Garden Buildings (a future synonym in the Google algorithm?). However for this page we have recommended that 5 of the instances of Garden Office are replaced with Outdoor Office.
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. Four to five repetitions in 500 words is fine.
Hopefully that gives you an idea of how to produce optimised copy. There are a few other points worth remembering about keyphrase repetitions:-
1. They can be included in bullet points to break up the text
2. They can be included in navigation links
3. They can be included in links within the text
4. 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.harland-hms.com – you can see here they have been creative in their copy, using values, information on sister companies, selling points and more.
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 don’t upload it yet. Let me know if you need any help.