I want to kick off the website structure by discussing the home page.
While the Home page isn’t the most important on-site factor, it can make an impact on both user experience and SEO.
Table of Contents
- How does the home page impact SEO?
- 5 Home Page Structure Strategies
- Which strategy do I use?
- How to create static Gutenberg Home Pages
How does the home page impact SEO?
The home page usually has the most inbound links to it so it is very powerful. The aim is to then distribute that link power to specific URLs. This is the theory behind structuring a home page for SEO purposes.
You can read about all kinds of theories about home page structure among various SEOs, especially with respect to where to link to your site from the home page.
I’m going to set out 5 home page strategies for you and then tell you which one I use.
5 Home Page Structure Strategies
Recent blog posts (User focus)
If you publish regularly and are striving to build up a loyal, regular audience, you will want your recent blog posts to show up on the home page with paginated links to past recent posts.
For example, I read CNN daily. If CNN didn’t publish recent articles on the home page, I wouldn’t go there. I go there to get the latest news. While you may not publish a news site, your audience will appreciate new, recent content when they visit.
Should you publish the entire post or an excerpt?
I prefer publishing only an excerpt of several blog posts. I typically display 12 to 16 excerpts on the home page.
Links to Cornerstone articles only (SEO)
This strategy focuses on leveraging your home page (and all the inbound links pointing to it) to improve SEO rankings for other articles.
What you do is you identify the URLs on your site that you want to rank high up in Google the most and that you have a realistic chance of doing so. Then you publish links (excerpts are good) to those articles.
For example, if you have a product review on your site that stands a good chance of ranking high up in Google and would then generate a ton of revenue, while it’s not clickbait, this may be worth linking to from the home page to improve its chances to rank.
The downside to this strategy is you can only realistically and effectively link to so many articles from the home page. While you
may want to rank all of your website’s articles, you do have to pick and choose.
Link to articles users will love (User Focus)
Another strategy is to link to articles from your home page that are popular. These may not be recent but instead are proven winners that people like.
I’m not a big fan of this because you alienate regular readers and sometimes your more popular content (measured by shares or pins) may not have the best potential for ranking on Google.
For example, you may have some highly shared clickbait content that doesn’t really target any great keywords. Or, you may have similar content but don’t earn much, even if it does rank for a decent keyword compared to an article that promotes an affiliate product successfully.
A workaround if you want people to check out your popular content is to create a post that lists out your top 10,25, etc. popular posts. Direct visitors to that so they can see your popular articles. I do this on my biggest niche site. Yes, I update it regularly to reflect my most popular content
Lead generation focus
If the focus of your website is to attract email subscribers, you will want to have an opt in option at the top of your home page.
I use OptinMonster’s welcome mat, but you can create a fixed opt in at the top instead (or in addition to the welcome mat).
Below the opt in form you can list out recent posts and/or links to content you want to rank.
This is in my view, the best strategy. Basically, you deploy two or more of the above strategies. I do this on my biggest niche sites. As my other niche sites get bigger, I’ll do the same on those.
Which strategy do I use?
For 2 niche sites, I use a hybrid strategy. For the rest, I simply put recent posts on the home page. As my other sites grow, I’ll probably adopt a hybrid strategy.
I have a clear “Recent posts” section but I also link to cornerstone articles that I want to rank in Google.
My home page is an example of the hybrid strategy. The 4 articles at the top are links to cornerstone articles. As
is the carousel at the bottom. In between, I have recent posts.
How to create static Gutenberg Home Pages
Using template designs to create terrific home pages in Gutenberg (no skills needed). I use the Ultimate Addons for the Gutenberg block library.