Thursday, September 18, 2008

Setting a theme for your Homepage

Setting a theme for your Homepage

We discussed the importance of the Homepage. This section presents a recommended

layout for your homepage in order to make it as search engine friendly as possible. This

is where you set the theme of your site. Let's suppose the primary focus of your site is

about online education. You also have secondary content that is there as alternative

content for those not interested online education. There is also other content that you

would like to share with your visitors. For example, this might include book reviews,

humor, and links.

The top of your homepage, as discussed earlier is the most important. This is where you

set the keywords and theme for the most important part of your site, the thing you really

want to be found for. So you might start off the top of your index page something like


(After your logo or header graphic)

1) A heading tag that includes a keyword(s) or keyword phrases. A heading tag is bigger

and bolder text than normal body text, so a search engine places more importance on it

because you emphasize it.

Heading sizes range from h1 - h6 with h1 being the largest text. If you learn to use just a

little Cascading Style Sheet code you can control the size of your headings. You could set

an h1 sized heading to be only slightly larger than your normal text if you choose, and the

search engine will still see it as an important heading.

2) Next would be an introduction that describes your main theme. This would include

several of your top keywords and keyword phrases. Repeat your top 1 or 2 keywords

several times, include other keyword search terms too, but make it read in sentences that

makes sense to your visitors.

A second paragraph could be added that got more specific using other words related to

online education.

3) Next you could put smaller heading.

Then you'd list the links to your pages, and ideally have a brief decision of each link

using keywords and keyword phrases in the text. You also want to have several pages of

quality content to link to. Repeat that procedure for all your links that relate to your


4) Next you might include a closing, keyword laden paragraph. More is not necessarily

better when it comes to keywords, at least after a certain point. Writing "online

education" fifty times across your page would probably result in you being caught for

trying to cheat. Ideally, somewhere from 3% - 20% of your page text would be keywords.

The percentage changes often and is different at each search engine. The 3-20 rule is a

general guideline, and you can go higher if it makes sense and isn't redundant.

5) Finally, you can list your secondary content of book reviews, humor, and links. Skip

the descriptions if they aren't necessary, or they may water down your theme too much. If

you must include descriptions for these non-theme related links, keep them short and

sweet. You also might include all the other site sections as simply a link to another index

that lists them all. You could call it Entertainment, Miscellaneous, or whatever. These

can be sub-indexes that can be optimized toward their own theme, which is the ideal way

to go.

Now you've set the all important top of your page up with a strong theme. So far so good,

but this isn't the only way you can create a strong theme so don't be compelled into

following this exact formula. This was just an example to show you one way to set up a

strong site theme. Use your imagination, you many come up with an even better way.

It's important to note that you shouldn't try to optimize your home page for more than one

theme. They just end up weakening each other's strength when you do that. By using

simple links to your alternative content, a link to your humor page can get folks where

they want to go, and then you can write your humor page as a secondary index optimized

toward a humor theme. In the end, each page should be optimized for search engines for

the main topic of that page or site section.

Search engine optimization is made up of many simple techniques that work together to

create a comprehensive overall strategy. This combination of techniques is greater as a

whole than the sum of the parts. While you can skip any small technique that is a part of

the overall strategy, it will subtract from the edge you'd gain by employing all the tactics