On most websites, the homepage is more important than all others. It acts as the gateway to relevant information featured in different sections of a website, such as services provided. It’s often the page that gets the largest volume of site visitors.
Thus, given its level of importance, practices should prioritize available marketing time and attention towards their homepages before spending considerable time elsewhere.
In this post I’ll cover four different elements of a homepage that should be optimized in order to improve search engine rankings. Improving rankings often leads to higher volumes of relevant traffic from current and prospective patients.
Optimize the Title Tag
Title tags show up in the heading for search results listings and at the top of a visitor’s web page browser once the page is loaded. The title tag’s purpose is to inform search engines and website visitors about the main theme of a given page.
That’s why it’s important to have a title tag that’s relevant to your practice. Being direct, concise, and location-specific is the best course to take when devising a new one.
For example, for a fictitious orthodontic practice in San Diego named “Ortho Excellence” an applicable title tag would be:
Orthodontist in San Diego, CA | Ortho Excellence
For more information, please feel free to visit this post on title tags specifically.
Have a Relevant Page Heading
The homepage heading should provide a clear representation of what a practice can do for prospective patients. If the wording doesn’t immediately lead to recognition of available services, even in a broad sense, a website visitor unfamiliar with the practice is likely to leave the site immediately.
Let’s look at the made-up practice in the previous example. A simple, yet effective, title line for that website could be something like:
Orthodontist Serving San Diego, CA and Surrounding Areas
Being direct, rather than trying to be cute and creative, is almost always the best option.
Feature Your Most Important Content First
Search engines and website visitors want to be able to find the most important content on your homepage easily. Due to the nature of websites, scrolling to reach content further down on a given page is often necessary depending on the device type someone is using.
As a result, it’s important to list the most important content on a web page first. That allows people and search engines to find the information they’re looking for quickly.
In carrying over the orthodontic practice in San Diego example, within the first 1 – 2 body paragraphs of the homepage content, the fictitious “Ortho Excellence” practice should talk about being “an orthodontic practice that serves San Diego.” The most important elements of the practice are its specialty area and physical location. Presenting this information towards the top of the homepage will help illustrate this practice’s relevance to search engines and site visitors for both.
Create a Customized Meta Description
The meta description is the brief summary of a search results page that the search engines display for a given result.
For Sesame’s homepage, the text within the box featured in the following example is the meta description.
While the meta description has no bearing on search rankings, having an optimized meta description does heavily influence the number of people who click on a search result.
By optimizing this brief snippet of text a practice can describe itself and provide a call-to-action such as the “Learn more today” line Sesame uses.
For the previous “Ortho Excellence” example, a good meta description could be something like:
Ortho Excellence is the premier braces + Invisalign provider for the San Diego area. Learn how we can help make your smile look even better!
It’s very important to note that the search engines will truncate the description if it’s too long. That means having something that’s between 50 – 150 characters is a best practice so that the whole statement is visible in search results.
Any practice following these four homepage optimization steps will position itself well for improved visibility within relevant search engine results for its homepage.
If you have any related questions, comments, or needs please feel free to reach out to us!
—Mike Fitterer, Sr. Marketing Manager II, Sesame Communications