When Is It Okay to Remove Homepage Content?
A couple of weeks ago, we were trying to figure out why a client had fallen so far in their keyword rankings. They had been doing SEO with us for a long time, and we hadn’t seen any significant drops in their rankings. So this sudden decrease was puzzling. After we ruled out “the usual suspects,” we took a look at the website revision history. As it turns out, the client had removed several paragraphs of content from their previously well-performing home page. These things happen from time to time, and we were able to recover most of the content.
We want our clients to have the freedom of adding and removing content (and we encourage our clients to make edits), but let’s go over how you can safely change things without harming your site performance. How do you know what’s safe to keep and what can go?
Remove or Refresh?
Most often, the best and easiest way to update content that is by altering what’s already there. We generally advise against removing large chunks of content entirely, as it can have a severe impact on how Google views your site. This is especially true of your homepage because it usually gets the most traffic and holds the most weight with search engines.
Of course, there will always be exceptions to this. If you have a service listed that you no longer offer, or you’ve moved your practice to a new town, it doesn’t make sense to keep a paragraph on that service or locational information for your former town. In those cases, if there’s just no way to alter the content to stay relevant, we’d suggest removing it.
So, what else should you consider?
Headers & Titles
Headers are important not only for search engines, but they make it easy for people to skim your site to find the information that they need. Each page should have one header that’s called an H1 (the page title), and then you can break the rest of the sections up with subheadings, generally called H2s (though there are H3s, H4s, and so on).
If we’ve written your content (or we do SEO for you), we’ve taken the time to write appropriate, concise headers that make it easy for Google and your patients to find information. If you remove or significantly alter these headings, it may take away from the efficacy and ease of use of your site. For this reason, we don’t recommend removing headers from your homepage. If you’re wondering if something can or should be changed, contact your marketing coach, and we can go over your concerns.
Like mentioned, if you stop providing a service, it’s totally fine to remove the content related to that offering. But you will also need to search the rest of your site to check for any other references to that service. We often find related content on the “Services and Procedures” page, the financial page, home page, and patient info page.
Similarly, if you add a new service and you want to highlight it, it may be worth adding information about it to your home page. It can be as quick as a sentence with a link to the full page, so don’t feel like you have to write a whole new paragraph about it. Just make sure it fits in with the rest of the content surrounding it.
Your team may evolve and change over time, so be sure to stay on top of references to dentists and staff throughout your copy. Generally, only the practice dentists are mentioned on the home page, so it should be easy to find and edit those names quickly. Don’t forget to also add or remove references to them on the about page.
We work in locales and neighborhoods to the copy to try to attract more people, but we have to keep a balance between listings surrounding areas in a helpful way vs. a way that comes off as spammy. In general, please leave all the locations we have on the homepage where they are. If you do want to remove a location, please reach out to your marketing coach or our support team before removing anything. Oftentimes, the location is mentioned elsewhere, and we need to adjust our keyword tracking if you are doing SEO.
Alternatively, if you do not see a town, city, or even a neighborhood that you would like to target, we can talk about working them into the site and your campaign, but again, please let our team know. Location targeting is an easy way to accidentally cross the line from helpful to harmful.
Good quality images can liven up your site and make it look just the way you like. Google crawlers love to see original images just as much as your patients, so our team always encourages our clients to take photos and upload them to personalize their site as much as possible. With that said, there are some important steps to take before uploading your image to the website.
File size under 70kb should be the target you are aiming for, but if you can’t get it that small, just do your best to reduce the image as much as you can. There are a few free tools out there that you can use! Canva photo editor is a quick and easy way to reduce those files without decreasing the quality of your image, or you can go with ImageOptim if that’s more your style. Once you have your image files optimized, go ahead and place those on your homepage to give it that personalized look your want!
Let’s Sum It Up
Now that you know what content can be removed and what is hands-off, go ahead and make those edits on your homepage, but don’t get too carried away! If you have questions or want to learn more, please contact our support team at firstname.lastname@example.org.