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Does your home page tell the whole story?

Google likes new and changing content, but does that mean a website home page which stays the same year after year is a bad thing? To get an answer to that, consider what you’d do if you were Google. The answer is fairly obviously that it’s not a bad thing – whether or not a company chooses to put news on its home page, or just keep changing its message, is not an indicator of the website’s (or company’s) importance. Google is designed to be all about what the user wants, and there are hundreds of more important indicators of a website’s (or company’s) relevance to the user than that.

However, do look at what the content of your company’s home page actually is. Too often, designers get carried away with ‘creative’ nonsense and forget the main function of the page, which is to tell the user what the company does and what the website has to offer. Here’s an exercise which is crude, but enlightening: click in a blank space on your website’s home page, then ‘select all’ (e.g. Ctrl-A). Now open a text editor, and paste in what you’ve just copied. That’s the basic text which machines see. Sure, Google has a lot more to go on (as it also understands the entire content of your site), but that’s the text you’re pushing at it as the primary content. Does it tell the whole story?