Ask the Experts: Google Won’t Show My Homepage – Why?

by Jennifer Grappone on May 18, 2008

Q: I have a brand new website that already ranks well on Google, but I have a problem. Currently, the page being returned by Google is the ‘About’ page, which is not ideal. The key landing page is the Home Page. I am now thinking that I should perhaps take the ‘About’ page out of the SEO equation altogether – perhaps with a no-index, no-follow tag. Is this a good idea?

Essentially – I’m trying to figure out how to get my Home page returned in Google in place of the current ‘About’ page. Can you help?

A: We don’t recommend removing a high ranking page from robot indexing. Assuming this page contains robot-friendly links to other pages in the site, this page is transferring authority to the other pages, including your home page.

Since your site is new, it’s probably only a matter of time until the Home page makes its debut in the search results. In fact, you could probably just wait a few weeks and let this whole problem iron itself out. However, if you are feeling impatient, here are some ways to address your problem:

  1. First, check that the Home page is indexed. Perform a “site” search on Google, following this syntax: site:www.yourdomain.com. (see our handy search shortcuts page for more on special searches such as this one).
  2. If the Home page is not shown in the site: search results, add a text link pointing to the Home page from the About page. Next time the search engine robot comes around, it is likely to follow the link and discover the Home page.
  3. You can also sign up with Google Webmaster Tools and check for indexing problems and make sure that Google isn’t having a problem with your home page.
  4. If the Home page is, indeed, indexed, but just isn’t getting ranks compared to your About page, take an honest look at the two pages and ask yourself: does the About page contain more descriptive text? Juicier, more keyword rich text? Is the home page dominated by flashy graphics and not providing content that search engines can sink their teeth into? You may need to adjust your design if you want the Home page to have a better search engine presence.

Whether you take the above steps or not, we always recommend thinking of every page on your site as a potential landing page. So, if you’re not happy with the About page as a landing page the way it is now, go ahead and add great content to make it a better destination for your search visitors. Here are some ideas for making an “about” page a good landing page:

  • Include a nice, juicy description of your company, offerings, and principals
  • Add a call to action and a link such as “learn more about our services!”
  • Make sure there’s a prominent link to the home page
  • If you have a prominent company logo in your page header, make sure that it links to the home page as well – most website users expect this.
  • Add a footer with contact information, and possibly even a short and snazzy tagline that describes what you do, who you serve, and why you do it well!

In the long run, your link-building efforts (which are great for SEO in general) are likely to improve your Home page’s ranks more than other pages on the site, since there’s a good chance you’ll get more inbound links directly to your Home page than to your About page. You could have worse problems – keep up the good work!

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