SEO – 10 Tips for a Homepage That Ranks

My Post (11).pngYour homepage is the most important page on your website. It’s where visitors get introduced to your business and its the door to all your other content. For this reason, it’s the page that you want to rank highest on Google. To achieve that, you’ll need to optimise your homepage and here are ten  SEO tips to help you get started.

The purpose of a homepage

Homepage SEO starts with understanding what the purpose of your homepage is. Essentially, it is to offer introductory content that lets visitors and search engines know what type of business you are and the kinds of product or services you are offering. It also acts as a gateway to the more specific and detailed information found elsewhere on your site.

With this in mind, here are the ten things homepage SEO should set out to do.

1. Navigation

Navigation, including menus and links, is necessary for two purposes. Primarily, it’s there to help visitors quickly and easily access the information they are looking for. For SEO, its important because it enables search engines to discover and index all the content on your site. As it does so, not only will that content be findable on the internet, it will give the search engines a more complete picture of your company and brand. This helps it better decide if your site is relevant to someone’s search query.

2. A company overview

Including a company overview on your homepage is vital for SEO. This doesn’t need to be highly detailed or very lengthy. Instead, keep the description concise, explain what you do clearly and provide your unique selling point (USP).

You can also include short overviews of some of the key services you provide or product types and provide links to them.

As this information is provided on your homepage, search engines will take note of it for ranking purposes.

3. Keywords

Ideally, you should only focus on a limited range of keywords on your homepage. Your other pages will focus on keywords of their own and you don’t want the homepage to compete with these for search engine favour. Your brand should be one of the keywords you focus on, as well as your main areas of business. If it is important, you should consider focussing on location, too.

Remember that when including keywords in your text, they should sound natural, not forced and certainly not overused, as this can be off-putting to readers and affect ranking.

4. Headings and subheadings

Headings and subheadings play a key part in SEO but are only of any value if they are marked up as headings using HTML H tags. Without these tags, search engines cannot recognise them as headings. You should include headings and subheadings for titles and to divide up sections of text on your homepage. To make the best use of them, include some of your keywords. Only one heading, the title, should use the H1 tag, the rest should be H2s, H3s and H4s, used hierarchically.

5. Images and videos

Visual content has an immediate and striking impact on visitors and should be an important component of your homepage. Using images together with blocks of text is a good way to break up the page into meaningful sections for the reader and provides opportunities to add SEO worthy content that can help search engines better understand the site.

For SEO purposes, all images on the homepage should have an alt tag and these can contain the various keywords your page is aiming to rank for. Try to limit keywords to one per alt tag.

While videos don’t add SEO advantages in themselves, if they are liked enough by visitors, they can result in backlinks which are highly important for helping you rank better.

6. Social proof

Both visitors and search engines come with built-in scepticism. While they like trustworthy websites, they like it even more if there is some kind of independent proof. There are numerous ways you can include this on your website, such as testimonials, reviews, links to ratings on third-party sites like Trustpilot and Google and logos of your clients, sponsors and relevant trade organisations. This also gives opportunities to add additional SEO-friendly text.

7. Internal and outbound links

Internal linking is crucial for good SEO as it helps with site indexing. However, aside from menus and footer links, the main homepage content should restrict links to the main pages you want visitors to move onto. Minimising the choice not only streamlines navigation; it forces the search engines and visitors to take the path you want through the site.

A footer menu can be beneficial, however, as it can contain both internal links to important parts of the site that aren’t essential on the homepage itself (blogs, knowledgebases, FAQs, etc.) and link to external sites. External links can include the logos of organisations you are members of or have affiliations with and which provide kudos and social proof.

8. Calls to Action

The text used in your calls to action (CTAs) is not only essential for improving clickthrough rates, as a link, it is also taken note of by search engines. Although only short, CTAs do need some thought to make sure they clearly state the action you want visitors to take. Indeed, many websites use split testing to see which CTA texts attract the most clicks. To be most effective the CTA needs to be highly visible, direct and clear.

9. Meta description

Although the meta description doesn’t feature on the page itself, it is often displayed in the search results and has a key role to play both for SEO and for clickthroughs. For the homepage, the meta description should include the company name and a short but clear description of your business. If this can include your focus keywords and be written to attract clicks, even better. Done effectively, it enables search engines to understand the site’s topic and helps potential visitors decide if it’s the right link to click on. – Read more

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8 Key Trends in Digital Transformation

My Post (3).pngAs businesses try to adjust to the new normal, many will be looking to technology to help them move forward. Digital transformation can give enterprises a competitive advantage but investing wisely means keeping abreast of innovations and up-to-date with trends and developments. To help, here are some of the main digital transformation trends keeping boardrooms excited.

Analytics

Analytics has transformed the decision-making process, providing data and insights that help businesses identify problems, opportunities and solutions. The vast quantities of data available for analysis, including real-time data, means companies which don’t make use of it are at a serious disadvantage. It has applications in all areas of business: procurement, operations, logistics, marketing, communications, security, finance and HR; and with sophisticated analytics tools easily deployable in the cloud, it’s becoming much more widely used.

AI and machine Learning

AI and machine learning are the ideal partners for data analytics and enable businesses to do much more with their data. They speed up analysis, automate large scale processing in the scalable cloud and remove the bottleneck caused by human analysts. They also learn and adapt from previous analyses while providing results in user-friendly, easily digested, graphical interfaces that non-IT staff can make sense of.

5G

While the consumer generally sees 5G as a way to improve smartphone connections and speed up downloads, the deployment of 5G infrastructure will have a much wider impact that many businesses can benefit from. It will, for example, hasten the development of IoT infrastructures, such as smart cities, intelligent transport networks, smart vehicles and smart industry. At the same time, we’ll see a wider range of connected devices, making it easier for businesses to take advantage of the IoT and the valuable data it generates.

Wi-Fi 6

The next generation of wi-fi, known as both Wi-Fi 6 and AX Wi-Fi, provides up to three times faster processing and wireless connection speeds. Even better, it enables networks to handle far more connected devices, which is helpful considering the proliferation in wi-fi enabled gadgets being used in the workplace and the increasing amounts of data they send and receive.

Blockchain

Although it’s often associated with cryptocurrencies, blockchain has many valuable uses in businesses, such as tracking the origin and movement of goods in the supply chain and providing financial audit trails. It has applications in healthcare, real-estate, media, energy and local government and can be used for a wide range of purposes. – Read more

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5 myths of Disaster Recovery

My Post (14).pngCommon misconceptions about Disaster Recovery

 

Being prepared
The importance of disaster recovery (DR) cannot be overemphasised in today’s climate, but there are still many misconceptions about DR and whether every business needs a solution in place.

Too many businesses fail because they are not prepared for an IT disaster, even when a simple DR solution could have saved them. Reportedly only 6% of companies that suffer data loss survive, which is why it is so critical for every business to understand the value of disaster recovery.

So, what are some common myths about DR?

#1 ‘The chance of a disaster striking my business is low’
Every business is at risk, whether large or small. Some sectors such as finance and eCommerce could be targeted due to the value of the data being held, but small businesses who are less likely to focus budget on protecting their infrastructure are equally at risk.

Disasters can happen anywhere, at any time, whether a natural disaster, human error or hacking attack. Human error is even considered to be a primary factor for most data breaches and data loss in UK businesses, and the size and impact of DDoS attacks has been steadily rising in recent years. Even if businesses are not situated in areas of risk from natural disaster, global warming has affected weather cycles in the UK – consider flash flooding and storms that can cause power outages.

All businesses need to consider the value of their data and be prepared with a proactive DR solution in place.

#2 ‘Our business would be fine if disaster struck’
This is a very dangerous myth about DR. A disaster could affect access to applications, hardware, data, servers, networking equipment, power and connectivity. DDoS attacks and data breaches in particular cause widespread damage and could also affect customer data as well as the business’s own.

Unless there is a DR plan in place to resume operations in a short amount of time, then a disaster could create prolonged downtime for staff and customers and damage to the company. Extensive planning ahead of time, to consider all eventualities, is essential.

Companies should look at where the biggest vulnerabilities lie and run a Business Impact Analysis to determine the damage a disaster would cause.

#3 ‘We already have an airtight Disaster Recovery Plan’
No DR plan is ‘airtight’. The plan could be very comprehensive and cover all bases but disasters, by nature, are unpredictable. Businesses need to prepare for the unexpected with their DR solution.

Preparing a DR plan is the first step on the path toward complete disaster security. Run regular tests and reviews to ensure the effectiveness of the plan and to analyse any areas that fall through the cracks. It is far better to find and fix any problems in advance of the DR plan needing to be rolled out.

Clearly communicating a high-level DR plan to employees is vital to ensure that all team members know what would happen should a disaster occur. Also having a reporting and escalation procedure in place for any suspected DDoS attacks or data breaches is an important process to have.

#4 ‘We Backup Our Data…We Should Be Safe’
This is another common misconception – there’s an important distinction to make between backups and disaster recovery. Backups are the process of making an extra copy (or multiple) of data either on or off-site to protect it. DR, however, is a solution that ensures businesses can quickly reestablish access to applications, data, and IT resources after a disaster. – Read more

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