Understanding what Google values the most is crucial for website owners. Recently, a statement by a Google representative has raised eyebrows and shifted the spotlight back to an often overlooked aspect of websites—the homepage. In this article, we’ll explore why the homepage might be regaining its importance in the eyes of Google and what that means for your website.
The Historical Significance:
Once upon a time in the early days of SEO, the home page was hailed as the crown jewel of a website. Back then, links from directories and reciprocal linking made the home page the powerhouse. However, as times changed, the focus shifted towards inner pages, where quality content could be linked and ranked effectively.
Google’s Emphasis on Homepage:
Contrary to the prevailing belief, Google seems to be emphasizing the importance of the homepage once again. Gary Illyes, a prominent figure at Google, declared in a Search Off the Record podcast that, from Google’s perspective, the homepage is the most important page on a site. This assertion may seem surprising, given the prevailing trend of prioritizing inner pages.
Understanding Google’s Perspective:
To grasp Illyes’ statement, let’s delve into the context. Illyes stressed the significance of checking if Google can crawl the site. He explained that the term “homepage” is somewhat broad, encompassing the page users land on when entering a domain or host name. Whether it’s the root domain or a redirected page, Google prioritizes indexing and crawling these homepages.
Different Facets of Homepage Importance:
Google’s representatives have echoed similar sentiments over the years. John Mueller, another Google expert, highlighted that the homepage serves as a starting point for crawling a website to discover new pages. Mueller emphasized that pages linked directly from the homepage are considered crucial, and their importance diminishes as you move further away from the homepage.
Mueller’s Consistent Stance:
Mueller’s stance on the importance of the homepage isn’t a recent revelation. As far back as 2018, he referred to the homepage as “the strongest” page on a website. This strength is attributed to the number of links pointing to it. Mueller emphasized that a well-organized website should have major category pages and other important content directly linked from the homepage.
The Homepage’s Impact on Search Results:
Google’s experts believe that the structure of a website, specifically the ease of finding content from the homepage, influences search results. If the homepage is the strongest page and links to crucial content with minimal clicks, Google acknowledges the relevance of that content. Conversely, if it takes numerous clicks to reach important pages, their significance diminishes in Google’s eyes.
While it’s not a blanket statement that the homepage is the ultimate key to Google’s heart, there’s a growing body of evidence suggesting its renewed importance. The homepage acts as a gateway, influencing how Google perceives and values the inner pages of a website. As you strive to enhance your website’s SEO, paying attention to the homepage might just be the missing piece of the puzzle. Keep it accessible, well-linked, and informative, and you may find your site gaining favor in the eyes of Google’s algorithms.