Google’s Algorithm Reveals the Critical Role of Homepages in SEO
As search engines like Google continue to be pervasive in our everyday lives, investing in digital infrastructure such as a website to build an online presence for your brand and business is more important than ever. While this may sound straightforward, Google has kept much of what makes its algorithm work under wraps to protect its proprietary technology. In this article, we will look at information divulged through interviews with Google staff members to see how Google’s algorithm works, specifically regarding the importance of home pages.
Homepages and Google Rankings
There has been a lot of chatter around website homepages and how Google uses them to rank a website’s importance. Homepages generally refer to landing pages or pages that pop up when someone enters your website’s domain or hostname into their search bar. Because these pages tend to be the first thing people see when searching for you directly, it makes sense for them to be considered highly important in Google’s algorithm and, therefore, in your ranking compared to your competition.
However, search engine optimization (SEO) has come a long way from the early days of search engines. In the past, it was common knowledge that the homepage was the most important part of your SEO since links were obtained mainly through directories and reciprocal linking. Now, websites hold a diatribe of information across several pages, with many subpages and sub-subpages delving deeper and deeper into niche areas of interest within a given industry. Link builders have adjusted their strategies to these new ways of conveying information by building connections to important inner pages rather than their home page.
Understanding Google’s Algorithm
According to Gary Illyes from the Search Off the Record podcast, it is important first to see if your website is even landing on search results pages before worrying about internal website content. Users are likely to re-type their prompt instead of going through several pages of Google search results, meaning that if your website is located on page two or three of results for a given keyword, you may as well not exist. This dilemma can greatly concern small businesses that rely on word-of-mouth marketing to build their business.
If Google determines that your website is worthy of a higher ranking, they will analyze your homepage in-depth. Google appears to index websites based on this homepage. If your website is not indexed, it likely has some problems that Google determines make it not worth indexing.
In addition to the homepage’s content, it is important to ensure that your website’s content is quick and easy to find and access. According to that interview, URL structure appears less important than the number of clicks required to get to needed content. Pages that take more clicks to access contain less critical information than those closer within the navigation, with the homepage often acting as the starting point to determine the importance of inner pages.
Homepages will continue to be at the core of SEO practices as they hold large importance in the ranking of your website. However, based on this limited information leaked through interviews, the ease of navigation of your website is much more important.
Getting the Technical Expertise You Need
In the digital marketing industry, SEO and its many buzzwords can be difficult to understand, especially for those focused on their own businesses providing specialized products or services to their clientele. At BluShark Digital, we partner with businesses to provide them with digital marketing expertise across many disciplines, including website development, on- and off-page SEO, social media marketing, and paid ads. Contact our team today to see what our company can do for you!