Marketing Myths – Search Optimizing to Drive All Traffic to the Home Page

Working with search marketing clients, I have sometimes encountered a belief that all traffic should be driven to the home page of the web site. Years ago, I would find online business owners who held the belief that users would want to go to the home page and then navigate the site through the menu. While this is not as common as in past years, it is still a dangerous misconception.

I once worked with an education services website that placed almost every product offering on the home page. The result was an unfocused mess on the home page that suffered a low conversion rate and a high bounce rate. Whether your site is a blog or a business website, don’t throw everything on the home page. You can also make this mistake in search optimization for your web site.

Search engine users are very specific in their queries. They are often searching for specific information to answer a question or a very specific product that will meet an immediate need. Each one of your web pages should be the answer to a different customer need or question. Mistakenly trying to answer all web visitor needs on one page, like the home page, is guaranteed to frustrate your web visitors or blog visitors. The result will be confused visitors, who will immediately bounce back to the search engine and click on another web page result.

A similar SEO mistake is to optimize only the home page and a trifling few web pages. Optimization should be applied consistently across the entire web site or blog. The SEO battle is won or lost at the page level, but since only 25-50% of your pages will eventually rank in the first page of search results, optimize many pages to increase the natural search traffic performance of the entire web site.

Start your optimization of the entire web site with the title tag and meta-tags. The title tag is most influential to search engines, whether on the home page or other pages.

The title tag and meta-tags should meet these requirements:
1) Must accurately describe the web page content with a keyword that is sought by a larger number of people each month.
2) The title tag keyword should also appear in the on-page headline to reduce the visitor bounce rate.
3) The title tag must have the same meaning as similar page content words that express the page theme. Since most search engines use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). Search queries that use LSI against the indexed web pages will return web page results that are similar in meaning even if the results don’t share a specific keyword.
4) The meta-description tag may use the keyword and should also convey a benefit to the reader. When a reader sees your web page title listed in Google search results, Google often places the description tag text underneath the listing. Here’s your chance to lure in more readers with a compelling description tag.
5) Meta-description tags should be unique for every page.
6) The keyword meta-tag is useless.
7) The meta tag is not discussed much, but tells search engines that among any pages with similar text, that the tagged page is the unique and original page. This is useful because it prevents the dreaded search engine duplicate content penalty.

Use these fundamental steps across 30-100 of your most important web pages, and you will build a powerful foundation for attracting web traffic through natural search results.

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7 Responses to “Marketing Myths – Search Optimizing to Drive All Traffic to the Home Page”

  1. sea
    August 17, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    hi: that is too funny…. i havent seen that myth. Wow, i’d be scared if i did….

    i have only heard “gtk 100% visitors on your landing page” voice.
    the how… is interesting to see what tactics are deployed.
    But this voice is from web analytic sorta dudes as in here:
    http://www.ioninteractive.com/post-click-marketing-blog/2012/8/15/100-of-the-people-who-visit-your-landing-pages.html

    i personally, like the “conversation content marketing” tactic that Scott Brinker advocates here:
    http://searchengineland.com/4-principles-of-conversion-content-marketing-48115

    what really peeves me is when organisations ASS-U-ME that traffic = lead.
    so boringly old school thinking is this lead generation from traffic. ends up treating visitor to site as a widget. e.g. register to get a white-paper.

    rather than traffic = hello. fullstop. then i interact with the content, gtk you a bit thru the content + layout of the website or mobile app.

    if you ever need a superb landing page, if you need an example to oppose this myth you speak.
    1) check out google’s new education, sharing, all free on how all this impacts marketing
    http://www.zeromomentoftruth.com/
    it is googles new Zero-Moment-Of-Truth site
    fyi – when you open that site on the iphone, captivating…

    or for tablet
    2) googles mobile playbook on the tablet… wow!
    check it out:
    http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/insights/featured/the-mobile-playbook/

    • peter
      August 17, 2012 at 9:35 am #

      Thanks for the comment! You seem to know your stuff!
      Who ARE you? :)

      • sea
        August 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

        thx. I like to share. so hope helps
        it’s actually not my area of specialty – just wading thru gunk out there – to get the gems, key things to be aware of as the shift to web being marketplace of product and services to marketplace of opinion… means a bunch of dudes are playing silly foolish marketing tactics… and ruining my UX. my joy of discovering new things as I explore using web..

        housten … we have a problem
        site design is thinking traffic = lead

        lover of insights and sharing
        rather than fluff n puff
        cheers secret squirrel

  2. Ed Hill
    August 17, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    SEA,

    Thanks for the useful insights and links.
    I don’t see the mistake of putting everything on the home page much these days. However, as in the case of the education site I mentioned, it does occur occasionally.

    • Karol
      August 17, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

      We all have our own paths to “enlightenment” – but it does seem a tad anachronistic to load up a home page. Thanks, as always, for your insights to (the most of us) a hard to get your arms totally around it topic. Lots to learn, thanks for the sharing.

      • peter
        August 18, 2012 at 10:44 am #

        Where are you at product camp today?!

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