Let’s get something straight—homepage SEO exists.
A homepage can rank for relevant non-branded keywords and help other pages on your site to rank too. You can find proof of that all over the web. Here’s one from Squarespace’s homepage:
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But SEO is not the only or primary aspect of a homepage. So in this article, you’ll learn how to optimize your homepage for search engines in four steps without undermining your homepage’s primary purpose.
How to optimize a homepage for search engines – four steps
Homepage SEO resembles the general flow of optimizing a page for search engines. We have keyword research, creating SEO content, and building links. However, there are some caveats and special considerations. Let’s dig in.
1. Choose the target keyword
Your homepage should clearly “tell” Google and your readers what your product/service is about. Both parties need to understand the context.
In SEO, this is done mainly by focusing the content of a page on a target keyword. This keyword defines what the page is about. This doesn’t mean that your page will only rank for this keyword alone. It will most certainly rank for tens and even hundreds of related keywords. But first, you need to choose that one.
Start by making a list of keywords that best define your product or service. For the sake of our example, let’s assume you’re competing with Intercom in the space of communication tools. Here’s how you can populate your list:
Brainstorm – You can do this on your own or in a group. Just create a list of words or phrases that come to your mind. Since you probably already know a great deal about your niche, these words should come quite naturally.
Analyze competitors – Make a list of your competitors and read through their websites to find words that they use to describe their offerings.
So let’s say we came up with the following keywords: CRM, communications platform, customer communications platform, customer communications tool, conversational marketing platform, conversational marketing tool, customer messaging tool, conversational relationship platform, and customer service software.
Next, we’ll plug those keywords into an SEO tool. We will need to get the traffic potential of each keyword and understand the search intent behind all of them. You can use any SEO tool you like, but it’s best if you use a tool that doesn’t group keywords.
If we use Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, here’s what we will see:
To get a clearer picture of our Traffic Potential here, I’ve ordered our keywords based on this metric (TP).
Ahrefs shows data for 6 out of 9 keywords. The remaining three are most likely very low search volume keywords. Because of their low popularity, we won’t bother with them in this article.
Next, we need to analyze the search intent for these keywords.
Search intent stands for the reason behind the search query. Basically, we want to see in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for these keywords the same kind of pages that you want to optimize: homepages.
Additionally, since we can assume our homepage will be describing a product, we can expand our search for landing pages with the same intent. If you want to dive deeper and understand the reasoning behind that, see our guide on search intent.
Moving on. Look at the top 10 pages ranking for those keywords and see if you can spot a homepage or a product page (if your competitors are offering a suite of various tools). In Ahrefs, you can just click on the SERP icon.