Search engine marketing is an intense game of strategy, analysis, and patience. But, it’s also a game with multiple, sometimes even conflicting, goals. Depending on who you talk to you, some will tell you SEO is about rankings, while others will tell you it’s about conversions. It’s a classic political struggle trying to answer the question, “what will bring in the greatest profits?”
You need exposure to get the traffic that leads to new business. But, you need to be user friendly in order to convert the traffic you’re getting into new business. Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?
This series is pulled from a presentation given at SMX East. Part I of this serious covered the problems duplicate content creates. This post covers the causes of duplicate content, and Part III will look at the solutions you need to implement to fix your duplicate content problems.
Duplicate content is like a virus. When a virus enters your system, it begins to replicate itself until it is ready to be released and cause all kinds of nasty havoc within your body. On the web, a little duplicate content isn’t a huge problem, but the more it replicates itself, the bigger the problem you’re going to have. Too much duplicate content and your website will come down with some serious health issues.
A little over a year ago I wrote an article about how sometimes you have to break a website in order to fix it. This isn’t always the case in SEO but there are those situations where a site is so bad that you pretty much need to burn it to the ground before you can build it right.
The other day I reviewed a site that confirmed this premise. It wasn’t a bad looking site on the surface but once you looked into the architecture a bit you found problems compiling on top of problems. Nothing short of demolishing the entire site and building it from the ground up would allow it to gain any traction in the search engines.
This is a continuation of a series of website marketing checklists. Check out all Web Marketing Checklists in this series.
What this is about: This list covers just a couple of points relevant specifically to a website’s home page to assure that specific and necessary functions of the page are met.
Why this is important: The home page is often the single largest entry-point. It is the page that gives the visitor the sense of who you are and what they can expect. Go wrong here and it can be all over before it begins.
Your home page is the single most crucial page of your site. This is the page that will be the primary entry point for a majority of your visitors. It is also the page that sets the stage for the rest of the site giving visitors a birds-eye view of who you are, what you’re about, what you can do for them, what you offer, and how they get the information needed.
The importance of making sure your home page is user-friendly cannot be understated. This page, more than any other, has to pull together so many elements without being overbearing or overloading the visitor with information overkill. Despite the over-reaching purpose of the home page, simplicity is the key. Provide the necessary information and usability elements and you’ll lower your bounce rate and improve site conversions along the way.
The home page’s first function is to convey to the visitor what site they are on. Company name and logo must be clearly and obviously displayed.
Visitors should know that they page they have landed on is, in fact, the home page. A quick glance at the page should make this obvious.
Home page content should provide an overview of who you are and what you do. It should go on to introduce the main areas of your site, giving visitors the opening to continue through to the information they came for.
Calls to action
Use textual and image links that convey a distinct call to action that drives the visitor to the desired destination.
Splash pages should never be used. These pages serve very little purpose and tend to annoy visitors.
Home page content should be kept to a minimum. This page should serve as a jump off point (enticement) to direct visitors to the deeper sales content pages.
Vertical scrolling should be kept to a minimum. Ensure that most important information is visible “above the fold”.
Need a full-site usability analysis? Pole Position Marketing provides comprehensive site architecture and usability reports that help your site succeed. Purchase yours today!