Down With Homepage Impostors!

The homepage is the most important page on your website. This is true for both search engines as well as users. Your homepage serves as the base from which all other pages, directories, and subdomains on your website spring. Lost? Not sure where you are on a site? Just go home to regain your bearings.

From a linking standpoint (and we all know how important internal linking is), the homepage is the source from where all page relevance flows. So… have you checked your site lately to make sure that all of your links to “home” are really pointing to your homepage?

You’d be surprised. Here are just a few examples of some homepage impostors that may be lurking on your site:

  • http://mywebsite.com (missing the “www”)
  • http://www.mywebsite.com/index.asp
  • http://www.mywebsite.com/default.asp
  • http://www.mywebsite.com/index.htm
  • http://www.mywebsite.com/index.php
  • http://www.mywebsite.com/home.htm
  • http://www.mywebsite.com/whats-this-obnoxious-tracking-string-doing-here
    -?#253c532
  • (okay, you get the picture)

Yes, it’s true: search engines actually do view all of the above examples as different pages. So what are they supposed to think when you link to different homepage URLs? You end up sending mixed messages, where instead of giving all that link love to your homepage, you fracture relevance between those dreaded impostors. That’s really bad for positioning potential.

Here are some common places where your website may be actively linking to various homepage impostors:

  • Your Corporate Logo
    Many companies have a corporate logo in their universal nav (most commonly in the upper right or left-hand corner) which links to the home page.
  • Header/Footer Navigation
    Links to “home” can also commonly be found in page headers and footers.
  • Breadcrumb Links
    Another common area where links to “home” can be found.
  • Your Homepage
    My personal favorite: links to “home” on the homepage, which point to a different URL.
  • Website Tracking Systems
    Some websites may append additional parameters to the end of homepage URLs. Whether they’re Session IDs or any other type of tracking mechanism: don’t do it. Remove the parameters ASAP, and use cookies instead to track user behavior.

Main idea? Get rid of homepage impostors by always consistently linking to your main domain in its purest form at http://www.mywebsite.com.

It’s a simple yet essential way to boost the positioning potential not only of your homepage, but of your website as a whole.