Look Mom No Home Page LMNHP

 

Perhaps the title reminds you of that old cartoon labeled, Look Mom No Hands, where the young boy bravely rides his bicycle with both hands in the air.  In some versions there is a follow-up where he proclaims, Look Mom No Teeth.

This post may possibly represent the same kind of risky behavior. It stems from that outside-in view that we are now applying to websites.   Frequent readers of this blog may not notice any difference.  The blog Home page has always included only a single post and this post looks exactly the same.  The only way of spotting the difference is by looking at the address field at the top of your browser.  Although you may have followed a link to the domain, http://www.staygolinks.com/, you will note that the link displayed there is now the permalink for this particular single post. For quick reference, we will call this the LMNHP approach, not to be confused with the Lucknow Muzaffarpur National Highway Project.

Why a Home Page causes problems

Not having a Home Page brings a number of advantages.  If you write a particularly good blog post, it will often perform well in keyword listings.  This is helped because Google factors in the recency of new web pages by giving them a higher ranking in the search engine results page (SERP).  What you may have noticed if you did a keyword search to spot new blog posts, is that often the first entry shown by Google is the Home page of the blog rather than the specific blog post.  As further blog posts when written push that particular blog post off the Home Page, then a keyword search will some time later show the correct blog entry as the appropriate entry rather than the blog Home Page.

Part of the reason for this is that the blog Home page has many back links or inlinks pointing to it which causes it to outrank new blog posts which have very few links. This after all is the fundamental principle of the Google search algorithm.  The Home page has the highest PageRank and other web pages have lower values.  Indeed if they are very recent, they may not even have a value assigned.

The advantages of no Home page

This blog has now changed the balance by immediately redirecting visitors who visit the website to a web page which shows only the latest blog entry.  This is a permanent 301 redirection, which should ensure that any inlink to this web page are correctly assigned to it rather than to the website as a whole.

You may wonder why there should be a permanent redirection when this latest post will only be on the front page for a little while, perhaps days or even hours.  The thinking here is that for a little while the most important web page on the website is the latest blog entry.  It will be assigned back links, some of which are intended for that particular blog post, rather than for the website as a whole.  Indeed for a blog this is probably true in the majority of cases.  Once the latest post has become a previous post, then it may receive additional back links from other sources as normally happens.

Finding a No Home Page solution

Knowing what I wanted to do, i.e. not have a homepage, I decided to bounce my crazy idea off two of my fellow Cre8asite Forums moderators, Donna Fontenot and Pierre Far.  Pierre who is a wizard in these matters in a trans-Atlantic chat session, rapidly came up with a solution.  He suggested that the best way was to modify the front end of the index.php file in my blog theme.  His solution worked like a charm.  It is shown in the image below.  The new code surrounded by the yellow rectangle is inserted within the first instruction in the index.php file.

index code for LMNHP

If in your theme, you use a home.php file rather than having the index.php file produce the Home page, then the code should be inserted there.

There would seem to be no downsides on this LMNHP approach and the upside is that rather than creating a homepage with a high PageRank, you spread out those PageRank contributions over individual blog posts as they are created.

If anyone has concerns about this approach, then it would be most useful to have them mentioned in comments here.  Equally if you feel there are distinct advantages to this approach, then your contributions would be most appreciated

Update

This approach seems to be performing well in the SERPs and producing higher search engine rankings.

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Comments

Look Mom No Home Page LMNHP — 18 Comments

  1. I’ll be interested in seeing how this works out for you over time. Depending on how often a new post is published, I wonder how long it will take for the PR from the 66K or so links pointing to the domain’s default URL to be credited to one post and then jump over to the next one.

    Of course, we’ll never see even an estimate of it in the toolbar unless you go quite a while without writing anything new.

  2. Thanks for dropping by, Bob. I believe that those links will be distributed over a number of posts. Their direct effect will be greater than if each blog’s principal link juice contributor was to be the blog’s original home page.

  3. This is a fascinating article and the first time I have come across this idea. I always thought a home page was a total necessity – anyway I too will be very curious to see how this works out over time, and also to know how the balance of your link portfolio ends up – whether it will indeed end up with more PR distributed to individual pages.

  4. This is kind of interesting: if I search Google for [staygolinks] the first result is your home page, followed by an indented result for this post. I don’t believe that’s simply because this post is newer than the rest. If I run a similar search for the name of my blog, the indented result is for a post from 2007 that happens to have a lot of backlinks.

    So after about three days, Google appears to be giving this post quite a bit of credit for link juice.

  5. Interesting indeed, Bob. If you had clicked on the link for the ‘home page’ you would have ended up on the same post page too. However they still show the URL as http://www.staygolinks.com even though that is not the URL of where you end up when you click that item. That URL showing like that is a bonus I had not figured in to my thinking. I hope it stays like that. :)

  6. I’m guessing this means that the 301 hasn’t transferred all of the home page’s link authority, at least not yet. If we assume that there’s always going to be some lag, I think that future results for that search are going to return your two most recent posts rather than the home page and the latest post.

    If, however, you wait long enough for the 301 to transfer as much juice as it’s going to, the result would probably be your latest post, followed by whatever other post happens to have the most permanent backlinks.

  7. Perhaps I was not clear enough, Bob. I now have this running on four blogs and they’re all exhibiting the same behavior. None of them have home pages: trying to go to the domain redirects you to the latest post. Searches for the names of the four blogs in all cases shows the latest post as #1 even though the URL displayed would look to be the ‘home page’. The second indented post as you suggest is in every case some other post that presumably is the most backlinked.

  8. What about yahoo and bing who doesnot show the same respect to 301s as Google does?

  9. Excellent question, Mert. Bing is difficult to deciper and as yet there is no clear picture there. So far this has been spidered by Yahoo and from the caches it would appear that Yahoo is behaving similarly to Google in recognizing the 301 redirection.

    Again as with Google, it is the longer term behavior that is of interest.

  10. This is a fascinating article and the first time I have come across this idea. I always thought a home page was a total necessity – anyway I too will be very curious to see how this works out over time, and also to know how the balance of your link portfolio ends up – whether it will indeed end up with more PR distributed to individual pages.

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  15. Why don’t you directly apply noindex to home page?
    IMO, I think this fools Google in the long run, especially if you update your blog frequently.
    Here is a quote from US Patent No. 7627613

    Besides submitting the permanent redirect information to Dupserver 224, content filters 210 also call upon the Dupserver 224 to replace the URL fingerprints of permanently redirected outgoing links in downloaded pages with the URL fingerprints of the target URLs of those permanent redirects.

    I mean, once google crawl your home page and just to find out it has been permanently redirected to an inner page, google will do something to 301, for example, redirect link juice from home page to the inner page. If you update your blog frequently, em, this might be suspicious behavior in the eye of G. Of course, this is just theory.

    Maybe I don’t exactly understand LMNHP or because I’m a seo newbie, anyway, please correct me if I’m wrong.

  16. I do not believe that this process creates a long term problem of the type you describe, but rather is very much in the spirit of what you quote from the patent. Only Google could comment with knowledge, but I believe this creates less problems than the continually changing content of the default blog home page.