SEO – 10 Tips for a Homepage That Ranks

My Post (10)Your 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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7 Proven Ways to Boost Website Traffic

My Post (24)According to retail analyst, GlobalData, over 50% of UK consumers now shop online, with spending predicted to grow 30% by 2024. Indeed, by 2021, Statista forecasts 93% of internet users in the UK will be shopping online. While this is fantastic news for online businesses, it comes hand in hand with a growth in competition as more companies launch websites: 84% had them in 2018 compared to 70% in 2007. To be successful in such a competitive marketplace, companies will need to find ways of increasing website traffic and in this post, we’ll explain some of the main ways to achieve this.

1. Online advertising

For companies with new websites or those which struggle to get listed in search engine results, online advertising is often the chief method of attracting customers to your website. The main way to advertise is with Google and Bing, using paid search ads that appear in search results or display ads that appear on other websites. Alternatively, you can also advertise on social media sites. All of these options allow you to target specific audiences and track the progress of your campaign, helping to ensure your advertising budget is spent effectively. It can, however, be an expensive strategy.

2. Content marketing

Internet users aren’t always looking for products or services; quite often what they are seeking is information or ideas to help them solve problems. Providing content on your website which solves those problems can massively boost the number of people who visit as it can be found in search results and shared on social media. If that content subtly mentions and links to a product or service that you supply, it increases the chances of a sale. Take, for example, someone with a small garden looking for ideas to spruce it up. They find a blog article from a garden centre called ’10 ideas for revamping a small garden’ in which they find a picture of a table and chair set they like, together with a link to the product page. From this article, the visitor solves their problem and the garden centre makes a sale. This technique is widely used by businesses in all sectors.

3. Social media marketing

If businesses don’t want to pay for advertising on social media, they can always use these sites to promote their brand, their web content and their products or services. Social media is great for posting links to your website and with the ability to use eye-catching images and video, it can be a highly effective way to increase traffic, especially as other users can spread the word by liking and sharing your posts.

4. Improve SEO

Search engines are the main way consumers find the things they are looking for online, so optimising your website for them is vital if you want to improve the chances of your web pages ranking well in search results.

While the crucial factor in SEO is providing high-quality, fresh and relevant content on your pages, you must not overlook all the other key ingredients. These include having a well-structured, easily navigable website and placing relevant keywords in the titles, subheadings, meta descriptions and content.

5. A mobile-friendly website

A mobile-friendly or responsive website is a necessity in today’s online market. The main reason for this is the fact that users spend more time online on their phones than they do on laptops or other devices. Increasingly, users are also shopping more on mobiles too. According to Statista, at the end of 2018, smartphones generated the largest share of online retail revenue in the UK with many sources predicting the amount spent using mobile devices would double over the next few years to around £40 billion.

There are many reasons for this growth: there are more phone users, there is better internet access away from home, there are easier ways for people to pay using their phones and, importantly, more companies are providing mobile-friendly websites. For businesses, the last point is crucial, as without a mobile-friendly site, the growing market of smartphone shoppers won’t be able to fully access your store. That’s an issue which also makes search engines downrank sites which aren’t mobile-friendly.

6. Make use of email marketing

Email marketing has the highest ROI of any marketing technique and is very inexpensive to implement. There are various ways to grow an email list, such as using a pop-up that offers an incentive to sign up (e.g. 10% off your first order) or asking customers to sign up during the checkout process (e.g. ‘Get updates of our new products and latest offers’).

Once visitors have signed up, you can send marketing emails to them for free with links to your website included. Today, many companies combine email marketing with the use of personalised product recommendation software which tracks what a visitor has been looking at on the website and sends out emails with links to relevant products. This personalised form of email marketing can significantly increase traffic to your site. – Read more

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5 Website Updates Needed Due To Coronavirus

My Post (22)The effects of Coronavirus are forcing the majority of companies to temporarily change the way they do business. In times like these, your website plays a crucial role. It’s one area of your business that can remain in operation and, with so many people confined to their homes, it’s the main way customers can connect with your company. However, to meet the needs of your business and your customers, you may also need to make changes to your website. Here are five updates you might want to consider.

1. Update users about the impact on your business

It is highly likely that the levels of service your company offers will have changed because of Coronavirus. You may have difficulty sourcing products, have staff in self-isolation, work from home technology issues and various other challenges. You may even have had your physical premises compulsorily closed.

While customers are aware that businesses, in general, have been affected, they cannot know the specific impact on individual companies or how things change on a day to day basis. The place to let them know is your website and, ideally, you need to put this information on your homepage, a pop-up or a prominent link on all pages to a specially created Coronavirus page.

Information you might need to display includes:

  • Reduced opening times or days
  • Delays in delivery
  • Delays in responding to queries
  • Changes in products being sold
  • Restrictions on purchasing (e.g. limiting the number of any item a customer can buy)
  • Limitations on people allowed in physical premises
  • Social distancing measures introduced in physical premises
  • Any services which have temporarily ceased
  • How cancellations, returns and refunds will be handled

2. Showcase new initiatives

Although companies are facing challenges and restrictions, many of them are going out of their way to offer alternative services and to help those most in need. Again, you should use your website to communicate these initiatives to visitors. These might include:

  • Measures to help the over 70s, those at high risk and key workers, such as priority shopping hours or deliveries.
  • Any new services you have begun to offer, such as live chat instead of telephone customer service and online shopping and delivery instead of shopping in-store.

3. Explain how you are looking after employees

Many businesses are using their websites to make it clear to their customers how they are looking after their employees. This is done to help customers understand how Coronavirus is impacting company operations and to highlight that the companies are putting employee welfare above profits. The latter is important as social media criticism of poor employee treatment can worsen already damaged sales. Things to include here are:

  • Allowing staff time off to care for others
  • Reduced hours
  • Overtime payments
  • Work from home introduced where feasible
  • Social distancing introduced on-site
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) issued to all who need it
  • Where redeployment or furloughing has been used

While it may seem that these things aren’t relevant for customers to know, today’s ethical shoppers are much more likely to stay loyal to ethical businesses. This information can be important for brand reputation and customer retention.

4. Back end tweaks

It is not just the front end of your website that will need updating, there may be backend changes required too. If you sell online and find products hard to procure, you may have to regularly update your list of unavailable products so that you aren’t left with a string of complaining customers. However, clever stores are offering alternative products on these web pages and these products are selling well as customers, now used to scarcity, are willing to settle for second choice.

You may also have to adjust the shipping times on your store. With more people shopping online, shipping companies are under increased strain to deliver unprecedented numbers of items while facing their own issues with staff shortages. You may find shipping times will need regularly changing. Shipping costs may fluctuate, too, and this could mean making changes to your pricing.     – Read more

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