Your home page is your most important page on your site. It is the portal to the rest of your website and therefore should have enough content and information to prevent your visitors from bouncing off. You need to keep them within the site and convert on sales (if you are selling products)
So how should you optimise your home page?
1. One of the most important elements in seo is the title tag.
The title tag tells users and search engines the topic of that particular page. The title tag should be placed within thetag of the HTML document. There should be a unique title for each page on your site and they appear in the search results as the below illustrates.
The homepage is probably the only page on your site where the title tag should feature your brand early followed by relevant keyword second. Typically, this is opposite to how your title tags should read for your internal pages.
2. Optimise the metadescription
This tells the search engine what the page is about. It is a summary of the page. It also appears in the search engine result pages and should be compelling enough for users to click through. Like the title tag, the description meta tag is placed within thetag of your HTML document.
If you do not have a metadescription tag, other content from the page will be pulled through.
3. Make sure you have a clear H1 tag
There are six sizes of heading tags, beginning with h1, the most important, and ending with h6, the least important.
Since heading tags typically make text contained in them larger than normal text on the page, this is a visual cue to users that this text is important and could help them understand something about the type of content underneath the heading text. Multiple heading sizes used in order create a hierarchical structure for your content, making it easier for users to navigate through your document.
Other areas to consider
1. Find the Balance Between Design / Usability & SEO – quite often the focus is on only one of these items, as a result the homepage suffers. Avoid having your design team dominate the conversation, be sure to factor in things such as usability and SEO.
2. Branding is Important – little things like company colors and the company logo can go a long way when it comes to designing your homepage.
3. Navigation – be sure that the homepage features clear and intuitive navigation from the homepage. Don’t have too many navigation elements on the page. With some sites, their homepage is their sitemap. Staples is an example of such as site. Ensure that your homepage features some intuitive main navigation (such as a top nav bar) and includes a link to your sitemap (and not to your XML sitemap).
4. Have one Home Page URL – from a user perspective, it can become very frustrating if you have seven different variations of your homepage URL.
Merrill Lynch for example, has 2 http://www.ml.com/ and:
5. Content is your Friend – so make sure there is enough content on the page to explain what the site is about and encourage those users to click through. Make sure that the content has keywords the site wants to rank for, without it being spammy.
6. Avoid Having Two Versions of Your Homepage when possible – some will use a Flash version along with a static version of the homepage. Be simple, just have one version and you can make the site look pretty without having flash.
7. Page Load Time / Coding. Avoid having excess coding on your homepage. Have clean coding and optimised page elements so that the page load time of your homepage is not affected in a negative manner. Avoid large Flash files and large images.
8. The website should have a clear call to action, do not try and cram too much on the site, otherwise you will confuse the users and they will leave without clicking through.