As an SEO professional working alongside talented Website Developers, I sometimes have a difference of opinion on how we put together new client websites. Our Development team works hard for our clients to come up with aesthetically pleasing websites. Our clients are looking for graphically striking sites that have user friendly navigation, areas for image and video assets, all while being up to date with the latest mobile device platforms. More times than not I feel that home page content starts to take a back seat to videos and images.
It took me some time, and a lot of research, to start to feel comfortable with this approach, at least when it comes to home page. The issue I always brought up had to do with the Search Engines. Of course, the majority of SEO work we do for our clients these days has their end users, not Search Engines, in mind. However, there are certain things we do to help make a site more user friendly at the same time as helping guide the Search Engines for keywords. My argument was this: If there isn’t any content on a home page how do we expect the Search Engines to index a site for keyword topics?
Dealing With Minimal Home Page Content
Once a clients’ new website has gone live, you can usually find me in the Developers office asking to have a content block added to their home page. Once upon a time I used to request it to be just below the main slider (most of our sites have large, full-width sliders). Now I have changed my tune. I have discovered, through my endless research, that home pages don’t need the minimum 300 words of content in order to engage users. At the time I didn’t want to believe this, as I had always preached that every page needed at least 300 words of content. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Users today use the internet differently than they did just one or two years ago, and are more internet savvy than ever before.
Once I came to this conclusion I did even more research to decide on some new guidelines. That is when I came across an article put out by SEO PowerSuite, one of our professional tools we use for our SEO efforts. It was while reading this article where I discovered the three types of content that need to be prevalent on any website; Informational, Navigational, and Transactional. A home page would fall under the Navigational content area. There should be just enough content to get users deeper into their site, where the Informational content would live.
By using minimal content on a home page we will still be able to do our SEO work just as before. Using images and keyword enriched content, the Search Engines will still find your home page for the keyword topics we set out to target, and your users will engage with your site in the way we need them to. Now that’s what I call a win/win situation.