Whether a given landing page explains demand for business’ services or acts as a search-friendly hub that lists your products and services, it’s crucial that it is optimized to its full potential – not only to show up and compete in search engine results pages but to also retain visitors and minimize your overall bounce rate.
So how do you optimize your landing pages? Some might think that satisfying Google’s technical SEO guidelines is the ultimate be-all and end-all of optimization. It’s important, but understanding who your readers are and catering to their needs is just as important as indulging Google’s spiders with proper metadata and inbound links. In fact, promoting user-friendly pages is a goal of all the leading search engines.
But let’s take an even further step back: The whole reason you want landing page visibility is because you want people to find these pages and do business with you. A page with perfect technical SEO means nothing for your bottom line if site visitors don’t get a good impression of your brand from the page.
First, we’ll take a look at why considering the user and investing in content marketing is essential to optimizing your page for maximum visibility – whether through paid or organic search – and then we’ll jump into six tips for landing page optimization that will appeal to your target audiences.
Why reader-friendly content promotes online visibility for landing pages
The good thing about the search engine’s algorithmic changes throughout the years is that it’s evolving ever closer to a point of understanding the human need when it comes to search queries.
When it comes to organic search engine optimization, marketers need to create content that caters to the user. As Google has said of its Panda updates:
“Our site quality algorithms are focused on helping people find high-quality sites by reducing the rankings of low-quality content.”
Amit Singhal in the Webmaster Central Blog
The company just recently put even MORE emphasis on content over technical SEO for organic search visibility. As Brafton reported, Matt Cutts said that Google is developing new algorithms to punish sites for being “overly SEO’d” to “level the playing field” for sites that have good content.
At the same time, businesses that are investing in PPC need to create landing pages that put the user first thanks to Quality Score updates. Brafton covered last October’s announcement that the search giant tweaked its Quality Score component of PPC ad rankings.
Investing in top content can simultaneously boost SEO and PPC. For instance, one company that invested in SEO content saw organic traffic rise 30 percent. It concentrated some of its SEO content marketing efforts on creating pages that could also be used as ad landing pages, and paid search traffic subsequently rose a whopping 360 percent.
At the end of the day, optimizing for visibility is closely connecting to optimizing for the user – and optimizing for the users is essential to winning conversions. It’s important to create a page that can provide your site visitors with the right resources to give them a great experience. Here are six tips for landing page optimization.
1. Focus on Business objectives and your calls to action
Don’t get blindsided by the many SEO technical guidelines, and remember to stick to what you know – and what you should know best is your business! You may have the most well-optimized landing page in all the land based on metadata and inbound linking strategies, but if the page doesn’t reflect or inspire the next steps you want site visitors to take, it might as well be on page 20 of a search engine results page.
Review your business goals and truly understand the purpose of the landing page that you are trying to optimize, whether you’re creating a fresh one or redeveloping an already existing page. When a person gets to your site, what is it that you want them to do? Are there clear calls to action on the page that will convert prospects to customers?
Setting discreet intentions for each landing page based on your broader business goals and ensuring that each page has a focused call to action will make it easier to optimize for desired transactions.
The transaction you want your landing pages to foster might include:
1. Buy a product
Are you online to sell? If you have an ecommerce site, you can build a landing page that features all of your products according to a theme or line. Since you want people to buy, it makes sense to display links to the related products (which means more landing pages!) for users to get pricing info and/or to include a shopping cart call to action that explicitly tells users they can buy your merchandise.
2. Signing up for a newsletter or email updates
For some, converting a potential prospect to a purchasing client can be a little bit more extensive and may require several steps before conversion. You might want visitors to sign up for email newsletters as a means of building more touch points with prospects. An appealing landing page with thoughtful content and links to lots of fresh content is needed to make users understand why they should subscribe to your content updates. Whether the call to action redirects a reader to a form that they can fill out or a form is included on the page where they can sign up for your newsletter, it’s crucial that you spell out what would happen once they click on the link or fill out the form – whether it’s an informational monthly newsletter email or updates on your newest line of products or services.
3. Request for more information or a demo
Depending on the product or service that you have, you might want site visitors to request a demo, trial or more information about your merchandise so you can talk to them one-on-one. (This might be especially true for B2B marketing efforts.) As such, you’ll want to create landing pages that showcase your various services and come up with the right CTA for each one. A landing page about the benefits of your software would be well paired with a call to action prompting users to download a free trial. A page about typical results can be accompanied by a CTA inviting users to get client examples.
Of course, you might have any number of business objectives, and there are ample forms of calls to action that you can add to your landing pages depending on your industry niche and your particular goals – subscriptions , site registrations and call-ins are just a few more that you can include to showcase the value of your services.
The key is remembering that your business objectives should be at the core of landing page creation. You must be able to delicately balance content and your calls to action, sharing information that’s compelling and thought-provoking.
2. Offer value
I’ve kind of hinted at this by talking about putting your business goals first and building content around them. Let me say it clearly: The effectiveness of your landing pages in achieving business goals will largely depend on how well you provide valuable and compelling information about your brand to readers. With every page, make sure you demonstrate that your company has something unique to offer.
You might already have some great content on your landing page with beautiful calls to action sprinkled in, but is the entire package actually offering value to your readers? Bringing in your unique brand perspective or showcasing what makes your products or services a step above the competition is essential when creating or redeveloping your landing pages. Start big: Create a list of the unique features and benefits of your company. Then go through this list and see which aspects of your one-of-a-kind offering will be most compelling on different landing pages. If you’re creating a landing page for a consultancy piece of your service, talk about your 10 years worth of experience. On a page for a top-selling product, be sure to add the item’s five-star rating from customers.
You need to be able to assess what you offer at a high level and then get granular and pinpoint which features to include in specific landing pages.
3. Aim for seamless keyword integration
This may seem obvious to some, but having the right keywords on your landing page is an SEO strategy that you can’t ignore, so do some detective work and see if the page you are trying to optimize contains the relevant terms that you would like it to rank for. You should use the Google AdWords keyword tool to make sure you’re including the right keywords (with competitive search volumes) in your campaign. The easiest way to measure the frequency with which the phrases come up on your landing pages is by using the Ctrl+F command on your web browser – a search field should appear either at the top or bottom of the page where you can input the terms that you are looking for.
So what did you find out about your landing page? Was the keyword mentioned, once, twice or not at all?
There has been an ardent debate since that advent of search optimization in terms of optimal keyword density, but in the end, we need to go back to that human factor when it comes to including the right number of key terms in your landing page – do the words sound forced within the content to the point of spammy? If your keywords look like they were shoehorned right in, then you might want to review the content in the page to better integrate your search terms to benefit your readers.
4. Perfect page design and aesthetics
With millions of potential page competition on the internet, you want to be able to differentiate yourself, but you don’t want to do so with blinking texts, auto-loading music and flashy displays. Besides satisfying the search engines’ SEO guidelines, having a well-optimized landing page also means taking into consideration your demographics and providing them a page that can engage them without overloading their senses .
Think about where you can create images or infographics to illustrate landing page points. Color visuals increase visitors’ willingness to read by up to 80 percent. By incorporating infographic marketing and visual components into your content mix, you can help ensure that people pay attention to landing pages.
There are a number of studies that offer insights on design elements that best appeal to various target audiences. Click the image below to check out Kissmetrics’ breakdown of the colors that best engage various online users:
Also, there are some simple design elements – like putting important content (including calls to action) above the fold – that can encourage transactions.
5. Remember the value of Readability
How readable is your content? Your image background might look beautiful, but can you easily decipher the text over it? The color and size of your font are also factors that could make it extremely difficult for users to read. As obvious as these may sound, there are still plenty of websites out there that forget these simple things.
Language and tone are important to readability, as well. You can achieve your business goals without being overly forceful: Balancing insightful content with relevant calls to action. Giant “SIGN UP TODAY” or “REQUEST A TRIAL TODAY!” banners can be huge turnoffs for potential clients, so keep it refined and sophisticated.
Also, don’t underestimate the value of offering clean copy. Not every business has in-house word artists, so it’s a good idea to work with experienced content writers who can create compelling reads and grammatically and stylistically correct content for landing pages.
6. Always test for Usability
Are your landing pages structured in a way that would make them as user-friendly as possible? People won’t take desired action on your pages if they can’t figure out where or how to act.
From menu options to hyperlinks and scroll-ability, a user-optimized landing page makes the experience for the reader uncomplicated and accessible. Test your pages from entry to check out to make sure everything is intuitive and working.
Your test journey might include:
- Relevancy from SERP to page: Does the page really live up to what it promises on the SERP?
- Optimal length: When you first arrive at the page, does it overwhelm you with too much info that you have to keep scrolling for? Or does it look shallow, like there isn’t enough info?
- Clear CTAs: Is it obvious what the page invites users to do and are calls to action – whether buttons or text links – clearly identifiable?
- Functioning links: When you click on EVERY link on the page (and yes – click on every single one as part of your test) does the link work? Does it bring you to a page you might expect?
- Opportunities for deep links: Are there places on the page that encouarage users to click around to learn more? Even if a visitor doesn’t immediately convert, it can be useful to give them outlets where they can learn more.
- Analytics: When you’ve spent ample time on your landing pages – from SERP to checkout – then go to your analytics and look at the interaction metrics. Where are people actually clicking? How are they landing on the page and what are common next pages? If you’re not satisfied, go back and look at your pages with a stern eye for what might be causing visitors to exit.
Your site can be beautiful with great technical search optimization, but without sending the right message to readers you won’t see conversions. (And without offering unique and valuable content, you likely won’t see positive SEO results.)
With these six tips in mind, revisit your website landing pages and look for opportunities to optimize for readers. When in doubt, Test Test Test. Play around with lots of different CTAs, value props, design elements, etc., until you find the landing pages that perform best for your brand. And don’t get complacent with your landing pages – always be adaptable to buyer behavior and the ever-changing online landscape.