Several statements made by Googlers suggest that the homepage may hold significant importance to Google.
A recent statement from a Googler strongly emphasizes the significance of the homepage as the most crucial page of a website to Google. This perspective differs from the beliefs held by some in the search community regarding which page carries the most importance.
Traditionally, links have been recognized as playing a vital role in indicating to Google which pages on a website are important.
However, multiple statements from Googlers imply that the homepage may indeed be the most important part of a website.
Importance of the Homepage
In the early days of SEO, the homepage held great importance because directory links and reciprocal linking predominantly directed links to the homepage. Consequently, the homepage gained significant power.
However, in modern times, for many (though not all) websites, the most critical pages tend to be the inner pages. This is because people often link to content or actively build links to it. A prevailing trend in link-building involves directing links to important inner pages, increasing their chances of ranking for specific topics or keywords.
The Significance of the Homepage to Google
Therefore, it was somewhat surprising when Gary Illyes emphatically stated that the homepage is the most important page to Google.
This statement was made in the context of a Search Off the Record podcast (linked at the end of this article), where the discussion revolved around debugging technical SEO issues with a website. Specifically, this segment addressed how to determine if a drop in traffic is due to technical or quality-related issues.
It is worth noting that people often take a few sentences spoken by Googlers or quote two sentences from a lengthy patent (31 pages in this case) and draw unfounded conclusions based on these out-of-context statements.
To provide a clearer understanding, I am presenting the context in which the statement was made.
The Importance of the Homepage to Google
I am not claiming that the homepage is unequivocally the most important part of a website to Google, irrespective of whether it is the most linked-to page or not. It is possible that this statement is a generalization and not an absolute truth that applies to all cases.
Nevertheless, it is intriguing to consider the numerous statements made by Googlers regarding how Google utilizes links from the homepage as a starting point for assessing the importance of inner pages. Additionally, Gary Illyes’ recent statement emphasizing the importance of the homepage to Google adds another layer to this discussion.