Do I really need that much content on the home page?

When we are designing new website designs for our clients, one of the comments we hear often enough is “Do we really need to have that much content on the home page?” It is not uncommon for clients to only want a simple homepage with very little content, be it text or images. In order to get a site and homepage to rank for the desired keywords, more content than less is often required. The trick is to find the happy balance between an easy to explore page, and an overwhelming user experience.

Impact on search engine rankings

We have written many times and spoken to our clients countless times about how search engines determine their rankings. It all comes down to content and use. The more often a page says a keyword, the more likely that page is to rank for that keyword. On the home page, there are over 3,000 words of text and we use our main keyword 8 times. When you scroll through the page, you will also see video, countless photos, icons, page breaks, and more. By doing so, the page is much easier to navigate and read.

A standard rule of thumb is to use a keyword 2.5 – 3 percent of the time in text. So if you have 100 words of text, and your keyword is only one word long, you would want to use the keyword 3 times. If you have a page with 100 words of text, and your keyword is 3 words long, you should only use it once. The problem with that scenario, is that Google is not likely going to pick up on a keyword until the keyword has been used repeatedly. And if you have limited amounts of text, only 100 words, you might only be using a keyword a few times – not enough to get the ranking desired (without expensive pay-per-click ads or spending ad money elsewhere).

Multiple Keywords on the Home Page

When we set up landing pages as part of an SEO campaign, we only focus on one keyword for each landing page. For example, our Local SEO De Pere WI page focuses on that one and only keyword. When we want to focus on Web Design De Pere, that is a new landing page. On the home page, we can focus on more than just one keyword. Google and leading search engines will know which page is the home page or index page of a website.

Typically, when we are setting up a new homepage for a client, we will focus on their top 3 – 5 services as keywords. In order to get the ranking desired for each keyword, it will again require more content. That content that gets added won’t be just paragraphs of text. It will also include all the same page breaks of headings, images, videos, and more.

By focusing on more than one keyword on the home page, we can make the page more authoritative and well rounded. Would you want to have to go to one restaurant to get a hamburger, another for fries, and a third for a soda? No one would want to go through all that work. Our websites (and our businesses) are much the same. Most businesses provide more than one service, all of which should be represented on the home page. By doing this, it can present the business and website as the respective and authoritative voice for all of the keywords.

Balancing design and content

If the home page was nothing but 3000 words of text, it would have a significantly negative impact on the user experience. To avoid that negative impact, there must be a balance between design and content. Things like images, video, headings, graphics, icons, page breaks, or many other types of whitespace, all help to keep a page readable.

As the homepage design keeps going in length, we will add in more call to actions (CTA) buttons to help direct users to either a contact page or a conversion page or some sort (sign up form, store page, etc). We will also include links and buttons to other pages on the site. By doing this, we provide more options and avenues for users to explore more of the site and drill deeper into content. As a user continues to drill deeper into content and go further into a page, the chances of that user turning into a sale or conversion go up considerably.

More Content for Interior Pages as well

The same ideas all hold true when it comes to interior pages as well. Sometimes, when we are designing interior pages for a website, the interior pages can be a little short of content. There are some pages that there just is not a ton of content available. Landing pages might not always have a lot of content pertaining directly to the keyword. When this happens, we will often look to the home page for a section of text that fits close to that page. One most of the website design landing pages on our website, we have our case study. It might not be entirely keyword focused to the landing page, but it still provides great quality content to help add to the word count on the page.

To Have Content, or Not to Have Content?

At Full Scope Creative, we get asked sometimes “Do we really need that much content on the home page?” For all the reasons mentioned above, you can see why it is important to have a lot of content on your website’s homepage. Whether for SEO or user experience, more content is almost always a good idea. Rather than having an overwhelming and cluttered, implementing good design trends and patterns, your site can rank high in search engines and provides a fantastic user experience.

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