Some of you may have noticed recently that your top listings in Google may look a little different. It seems Google may be performing CTR analysis with your internal pages.
Listings that previously have held positions featuring the home page URL now feature the most relevant internal page. With this in mind, now is the time to start "spreading the love" across your site. Google is showing that we need to concentrate on search engine optimization (SEO) for our internal pages.
Two main site elements -- content and inbound links -- need to be spread evenly across a site looking for success in the SERPs.
Analyze this as you would for personal investment. Would you put all your money in a low yielding savings account? Would you place all your money in a high-risk stock?
No, of course not. You would diversify your assets across several different areas to conservatively grow what you put into the pot.
This analogy can ring very true in the world of SEO. People become obsessed with ranking their home page for their top term. This leaves the rest of the site neglected. In a worst-case scenario, if the competition comes calling or a major algorithm change breaks the ranking, then you've just lost your investment.
With this scary what-if in mind, please consider that in most cases your home page is your landing page, and your top keyword will likely drive less than half of your organic visits. So, why would you put all your eggs in one basket if it had a marginal return and was also very risky? This analogy is especially fitting when you hear a client mention one of the following:
- "We've hired a copywriter to create blog posts for us." Why not a few blog posts, some articles, content on deeper pages of the site?
- "We've been building a lot of links to the home page." And not to internal pages?
Pigeon-hole SEO can be a viable plan if you have a one page site or a two term keyword set. The other 99.9 percent of us have to consider how we get involve the entire site into the SEO mix.
When developing a content-building strategy, you have to look past the home page and the blog and consider other areas of the site you want to rank for. These include:
- Internal category pages (i.e., services/products)
- Glossary pages
These pages can house meaningful content for your users, as well as search engines.
Reviewing your referrals by landing page from within your site analytics is also beneficial. This will show you how much of your incoming traffic is coming through your home page, as well as other top site pages you deem as important that may need to be of additional focus.
Within the other main diversifiable SEO element, which is link building, learn to forget your home page for a while. You may have 2,000 great links to your home page, but how many to you have to other important internal pages?
Look in your Google Webmaster Tools account at the Links to your Site section. You might be alarmed to find out that 90 percent of your site's link equity may be pointing to your home page.
This can reinforce the need for a deep linking initiative. Start off by accruing topically relevance links to your main category pages adjacent to the site root and then work your way down. This will help show the search engines that the rest of your site is trustworthy as is your home page.
As search engines change, test, and progress, we must pay close attention to what they show us and what they want from us. This means we have to concentrate on building search engine friendly sites, not just search engine friendly home pages.