Optimizing Internal Pages
Though you want to have a good ranking for your homepage, optimizing internal pages is of paramount importance. Take a look at some of the comments on this here blog. Commenters will leave different web addresses each time through. So each comment will link to a different page within the site – increasing the page rank (and traffic) for individual pages, which can help the PR overall. It’s good trick and I recommend it. One of the great advantages of blogging is it increases the likelihood for linking to internal pages, rather than just the homepage.
One of the ways to avoid problems with Google is to optimize different pages at the same time. For example, Google doesn’t like when you get a barrage of links all at once. It could be tagged as a spam site or link farm. However, if you mix it up by adding your homepage to site directories and link to internal pages via comments, forums, email marketing campaigns, and other media, this will appear as a more organic linking system.
Landing Pages and Lead Generation
On that front, you should most definitely link to internal landing pages in email marketing and newsletter campaigns. One of the reasons for creating a lead generation system is to obtain email addresses of potential customers – if not customers, then at least linking partners. This is yet another great reason for starting a blog. Every time a person comments, he or she will need to enter an email address. That’s how it works on the SEOHosting blog. This, in turn, is a lead that can be contacted later. You should also provide a sign-up form for a newsletter or possible discounts (highly recommended to reel them in).
No, that’s not going to provide thousands of leads all at once, but it’s a start. You may need to pay for a lead generation service as well. OK, back to landing pages. When you’re contacting those leads via email or a newsletter, you should link to internal pages, rather than just the main page of the site. This will increase click-throughs, as people will be more likely to click to the homepage. The more time a person spends on the site, the more likely he or she will make a purchase. In addition, this creates a potential linking opportunity if that lead is also a site owner who will then link to your internal content.
Most often, a newsletter will be housed on the site itself, with a note in an email stating, “Click here to read the rest,” or some such, which will then take people to the rest of the article – which means that your first paragraph must be pretty gripping. Rather than having that content lost to the winds of un-optimizable email, you should house that content on the site.
Branding a Landing Page
Whenever a person comes to an internal page, the surfer should understand exactly the purpose of the page. Too often, search engine optimization revolves around how to get a high listing in Google, rather than optimizing for actual human visitors. An internal landing page could run the risk of being confusing if it is not well-branded. There should be a large headline showing what the page covers. A simple and visible link to a sign-up form or shopping cart should always be present. One of the uses of email marketing campaign is testing out which landing page layout leads to the most conversions. No one should have to search for a buy-now button, or even info on the site’s core purpose. It should go without saying also that your internal landing page follows that same basic graphic framework as the homepage.
Optimizing the Homepage
Because you’re going to be housing other content within the many pages of the site, there’s no reason to over-optimize the homepage. While it’s important to include the most important keyphrases on your homepage, you don’t want to run into the territory of keyword-jamming. This could have the result of causing your many internal landing pages to rank lower. Really, though it’s called a homepage and it’s a central hub, it’s very likely that people will come to the site via an internal page. I mean, that’s the idea: to be ranking high throughout the site, not just the homepage. So don’t put all your optimization emphasis on the homepage. Of course, your homepage should be strong, because a lot of links will come here directly, but don’t concentrate on the homepage at the exclusion of improving content and branding on internal pages.
Needless to say, however, your homepage needs to be well-organized. All that content you have housed within the site needs to be easily accessible, inspiring a whole lotta click-throughs. If people do land on the index page, they need to know immediately how they can use the site. By grouping article pages together, you can then use the headings to pinpoint the most important keyphrases. So, for example, a credit card site could have a site heading called “Credit Card Deals” with a list of articles beneath about cheap credit cards. That’s something you’ll have to play around with – determining the most important keyphrases and then using those to organize and optimize your homepage.
What it comes down to is this: every page on the site is a landing page so every page should be optimized separately. Don’t optimize a homepage at the exclusion of everything else on the site.