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SEO For The Oft-Neglected Blog Home Page

neglected 300x198 SEO For The Oft Neglected Blog Home PageThe blog home page is one of the least-optimized pages on a website. It doesn’t get nearly the same level of love as an individual post page when it comes to keyword research, SEO, and internal linking. I don’t think it’s intentional.

I think it’s just easy to forget how authoritative blog home pages can be and how much traffic they can garner on their own. So what should you be doing differently?

Keyword Research

Too many people are giving their blog something like “Company X Blog” for a title tag. In slightly more effective ways, many blogs pick an ultra-competitive title tag like “SEO Blog,” thinking that this is the key to success. It’s not easy to outrank big, bad, established SEO blogs.

Keep in mind, that your blog has other ways of being defined beyond the word blog. Get creative with a thesaurus. Among other less-competitive, more attainable words you may consider incorporating as you research:

  • news
  • reviews
  • tips
  • information
  • hacks
  • tools
  • how-tos
  • tutorials
  • posts
  • walkthroughs
  • articles

On-Page Optimization

What page attributes would you normally optimize to get a page to rank? Title tag? H1 tag? Body content? Internal links pointing to the page?

Blog home pages should be treated like ordinary pages, and this often requires some code tweaks, because most blogs I’ve seen aren’t set up to optimize the blog home page like a normal page.

You can easily incorporate keywords into your title tag and meta description. You’ll probably need to code an H1 tag above the posts. See how this has been done on the SEO.com blog, for example.

neglected 01 SEO For The Oft Neglected Blog Home Page

Normally you’d have a few hundred words of static content to work with and optimize as a best practice. Many blogs have no static content. Many choose to put their primary static content on an “About” page. The problem with this is that your posts won’t be seen on this page and most people won’t link to it when they’re referring to your blog, generally speaking, so your efforts are divided.

One way to incorporate static content is in the sidebar, like HubSpot has done.

neglected 02 SEO For The Oft Neglected Blog Home Page

While I’ve used sidebar static content in the past, I have some reservations about its effectiveness. Putting content in the sidebar ends up duplicating it across all of your pages, and often your blog home page doesn’t end up getting the authority credit for it. Once again, it tends to divide your optimization in an inefficient way.

The most efficient way to incorporate static content is to add a block of static text to either precede or follow the listing of recent blog posts. Very few bloggers are doing this (here’s an example of one that’s a bit unpolished), but it enhances the SEO in a way that an optimized title tag alone can’t. Just be sure to code the page so that the static content only appears on the blog home page, for maximum effectiveness.

Image credit: kalexanderson

 SEO For The Oft Neglected Blog Home Page
Scott Cowley is an SEO consultant by night, marketing PhD student by day. He was previously head of SEO at ZAGG and SEO manager at SEO.com. He speaks and writes frequently about social media and digital marketing.

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13 thoughts on “SEO For The Oft-Neglected Blog Home Page

  1. Great article and something you never think of…usually its the first page of the main site that we worry about.  Because my clients take their blogs into the own hands, they generally don’t concern themselves with the SEO on that…its more about fresh content.  Definitely something to be noted.  Thanks for this!  (And dig ZAGG as well…)  

  2. Great article, I have been spending so much of my time on deep linking, category and sub category link building that I took a step back to re-optimise my home page with authority links to my best converting search terms and it has increased my traffic by 18%.

  3. Hey Scott, another great post! Thanks for the reminder and tips to take care of the homepage. I like using hubspots free site grader tool to see how well our homepage and site is doing. 

  4. One of the most important parts of correctly setting up your blog for SEO, is to make sure the content is structured based off your keyword research. Have a gameplan for your URL structures, sitemap, and categories/tags, enabling the search engines to see the usefulness and relevance of your content to the targeted keywords.

  5. “The blog home page is one of the least-optimized pages on a website.”
    So true. My blog homepage actually is the least bookmarked compared to its other pages. Whew! Thanks for reminding me not to neglect every single pages of my blog especially the homepage.

  6. Informative Info i must say!! Yes Home Page is one of the most neglected page of the blog and most bloggers have done its On Page only one time.. But the content of the home page changed frequently due to new blog posts..

  7. I agree with pretty much everyone here. Gotta optimize that blog home page. It’s like the welcome mat on your front steps: if it looks good (and is well-optimized), then people will feel welcome and want to stick around (and the better ranking will ensure that more people actually make it to the landing page). Shabby blog home pages are like a dirty, ratty welcome mat – people make a negative judgment right away (if they make it to your blog page at all).

  8. Scott, you are right, I like the idea of optimized static content on the homepage, as you can see on my homepage (see. Avatar) right now. After all, the homepage usually also gets the most links.

    BUT: The Homepage is also the entry point for returning visitors, your followers and community. They want to read fresh content.

    So from a usability standpoint, it is NOT the best strategy to have static content on top of the homepage. Putting it below recent posts is probably not very effective.

    Search Engines follow people, so it’s best to implement the best user experience (quote Google). But you don’t rank good like this (yet?)?

    So what do you do? What do you say about that argument of mine?