In building my first website, I have come across something that confuses me. While I understand the important of links, pretty urls, quality content, keywords, and all of that fun stuff, I am curious as to how important my index page is when it comes to getting ranked higher in any search engine. Does the index page have the highest impact when it comes to this, or does the site get analyzed as a whole?
I am curious, as I am opening a play-by-post roleplaying site. Traditionally, the home page for these websites are the forums. However, I have heard that having forums as your index page is unhealthy for SEO. You can't control the quality of the content posted, the links can sometimes be wonky, etc etc. My site will also include a wiki, which has a home page (that leads to all of the unique content we personally wrote in the wiki, as well as the forum), so I was thinking that would be the prime home page. Or, I could simply create a Portal page that links to the forums/wiki, and just optimize the portal page as much as possible.
Or, in the end, does it even matter? I originally though the Wiki plan was the best, as we use the Wikipedia software, which gives a high amount of customization. I can set the h1 and h2, freely insert tags and focus Wiki content to mention those tags frequently, as well as make it easy for bots to crawl with various links to all pieces of content (links that are natural, not forced).
But, if it doesn't matter what the first page is, then I would likely make the actual forums the homepage. Does this make any sense?