Headlines on the homepage boost crawls & clicks (& other content marketing tips)

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A good integration strategy is the foundation of content marketing because it optimizes pages for readers and search crawlers.

An integration strategy is like a treasure map for your website content. It kills two birds with one stone, telling search crawlers and users where to find valuable information on your site. While this sounds like an easy win for SEO strategies, most sites are built (and function for a long time) without proper content integration.

Why would marketers let this happen when they invest so much time and money on their website content? Here are three reasons we hear most often:

  1. Webmasters have to bring in the tech team to do back-end work to improve integration
  2. It means changing the look of the homepage, which requires executive approval
  3. Adding headlines, content categories and social sharing buttons takes up prime website real estate

Here’s why it’s worth it to put headlines on the homepage anyway:

It brings crawlers back to index fresh content

Google looks for fresh content when it’s considering what websites to rank first. In a one-two punch, the search engine launched the Caffeine algorithm in 2010 – a technology that crawls the web faster to index recently updated pages – and in 2011, it unleashed the freshness factor, which rewards sites regularly updating their sites with new information. But that’s old news.

Still at play today, Google’s crawlers visit pages when they publish new content and add the information to its index. If you feature your latest blog headlines on your homepage, you’re luring Google to that part of your site. This increases ranking signals for that page because pagerank flows to those links on your homepage. Bonus points if you can get them above the fold and include time stamps with a publication date.

Putting headlines on the homepage also brings in more readers. When blog content gets a lot of engagement, Google takes notice. Google perceives that pages with higher traffic from search, lower bounce rates and longer time-on-site are more relevant for users’ queries and might prioritize them in results. If anyone links to that content, your homepage will also receive some of the resulting link juice.

It shows visitors that you update the site frequently and builds trust

One company found that 45 percent of traffic coming to its homepage clicked through to the blog content 

What would you trust – a site that’s clearly being updated and monitored on a daily basis or one that looks like it hasn’t been touched in a while? Chances are, if you’re making a purchase, you want to invest your money with a business that will be attentive and available to resolve any issues that might arise.

Simple as it is, having headlines on your homepage might be a subtle cue that sways a prospect’s decision to buy from you rather than a competitor.

Here’s more information from our Content Marketing Strategist about How to integrate website content for SEO and conversions.

It drives results

The most compelling reason to integrate your blog content onto your homepage is that it’s a proven way to bring more traffic to your site and direct people to pages where they can learn about your products and services. One company found that 45 percent of traffic coming to its homepage clicked through to the blog content (where there was information that nurtured those new leads).

The homepage drove more traffic to the blogs, but the relationship worked in reverse – the site was getting more visitors in general because of the content and integration strategy. Traffic increased 30 percent and new visits rose 40 percent.

Check out the full case study for more details about this strategy- Poolman: Custom content & a smart integration strategy drives conversions.

Headlines on the homepage are just one part of smarter SEO integration – here are some other ways to improve your content strategy:

checkmark_smallINTEGRATION PRO-TIP: Create relevant content categories

Keyword-optimized content categories are another major asset. They organize your posts into groups that users are already searching for, and that crawlers will recognize as a ranking signal.

checkmark_smallINTEGRATION PRO-TIP: Put calls to action on your website

Imagine going to a new store and discovering the perfect item, but finding nowhere to pay. How long do you look before you leave? It’s much shorter for people on your website. Make it easy to convert with highly-visible calls to action –  demo requests, download requests and buy buttons. 

checkmark_smallINTEGRATION PRO-TIP: Point readers to related articles

Give visitors a reason to stay on the site longer – include links to related articles or relevant downloadable assets. It encourages users to delve deeper into resources and learn about products and services, but it’s also good for website metrics (longer dwell time, more engagement. 

You need to have proper integration if you’re going to generate ROI from your content strategy. It requires some work on the front-end, but the long-term results will make it well worth the initial investment.

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Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.
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