When it comes to SEO, every website wants to be among the most highly ranked in Google searches. Many websites try to optimize their homepages with every keyword that they want to rank for. Although this can prove to be a very difficult task, many websites still try. However, costly mistakes can be made if you over-optimize your homepages such as loss of business, loss of traffic, and a risk that your rankings will also drop just to name a few. So, before we go over what you can do instead of trying to rank your homepage for all your targeted keywords- let’s look at some of the risk involved if you do.
The last thing you want to do is be in competition with yourself or to make your work harder than it must be. Keyword cannibalization is simply over-optimizing your homepage with targeted keywords which in turn could interfere with other pages that are trying to rank for those same keywords. This very important detail, if done, could cause Google to be confused at which of these pages to rank.
Google’s algorithm will kick out pages continuously that are optimized for the same keywords from the rankings. So, what does this mean for you? This means that you have worked against yourself and have possibly not only missed out on organic search traffic- but also, potential new clients and sales especially if your homepage ranked higher than your actual product or service page.
Your whole mission is to get your audience directly to the page that they need to be on from the very beginning of their search. If this does not happen your users will quickly lose interest and will quickly divert to the next website that SERP’s produce- which will be your competitor’s page. Having a low conversion rate accounts for the second risk that over-optimizing your homepage could pose. Let’s look at an example of this for it to make sense a little better.
- Let’s say that you sell sunglasses. Now, let’s say that a potential consumer does a search for “Ray-bans”. Of course, it is wise to assume that you also have a product page for this very popular brand of sunglasses, but unfortunately, because you have over-optimized your homepage and have ranked for that instead- your user lands there instead of the product page.
Once there, if the user still has the interest to stay, they will have to navigate your website to get to the page that they need to be on. With that said, if your product page had ranked over the homepage for the same keyword search, which is what you want, then your user would have automatically landed there instead and would have probably made a purchase.
Limiting Your Business
Let’s go back to the sunglasses example for a moment. Let’s say that you offer an array of sunglasses. Ray-bans, rimless sunglasses, Aviators, retro sunglasses, and Oakley’s for example. So, you optimize your homepage for targeted keywords such as sunglasses, Ray-ban, Oakley’s, etc. Now, after some success, you decide to also sell sunglass accessories such as sunglass cases, care kits, and eyeglass retainers to name a few.
The issue is your homepage is only optimized for sunglasses. This means that if you want to rank for your accessories and continue to rank for your existing products, you will now have to re-optimize your webpage. This will not only cause a bit of frustration, but it will also come off as a bit spammy and you certainly do not want that. Another issue that this may cause is confusion yet again for Google. With all these keywords, Google will have trouble pinpointing exactly which keywords describes your business the best. So, the last thing you want to do is risk limiting your business possibilities by over-optimizing your homepage. So, I know you must be asking, well what do I do?
There is a very easy solution to not having to worry about keyword cannibalization, low conversion rates, or having to limit your business. The solution is to build entirely separate pages for each targeted keyword that you want to rank for and optimize those pages. This will make for a cleaner website, a more user-friendly website and a more organized website being that each product or service will have its unique page that you are wanting to rank for. This will diminish any confusion on the part of the user since they will now land on the correct page and Google since they will now know what to rank you for.
Backlinks will make this process even easier. It would not hurt to link other pages on your website from your homepage since most homepages often have the most backlinks. This will share the authenticity and backlink power of your homepage with other pages on your website. This will also in turn help to help other pages rank better. This strategy is often referred to as “link juice”.
This, in some ways, takes away the need for your homepage to even rank, not saying that you should not want to have your homepage rank, but it should be optimized and ranked for your brand more so than your products and or services. This is what your pages are for. To do this, provide the name of your business throughout your homepage instead of targeted keywords.
Branded and Natural Anchor Text
Another way that backlinks can be linked back to the homepage is by branded or natural anchor text.
- Simply put, an anchor text is any clickable text that is seen in a hyperlink. The word anchor is befitting since these clickable links anchor different locations on the internet together.
- Branded anchor text are anchors that use your brand name. So, for example, if your sunglass business is called “Leith’s Eye Wear” you would make that a visible and clickable link that links back to your homepage.
When it comes to deciding if you should optimize your homepage, there is a lot to consider. However, if you want to get the most out of your SEO, optimize where it counts, which are your pages. Allow them to rank for the targeted keywords and your homepage to help get you and your brand noticed. There are many risks in over-optimizing any page so once you become familiar with these tips, your website will rank which in turn will bring in tons of organic traffic and help grow your business.