If you’ve ever worked with PPC, you know how important “landing pages” can be. Google partially decides where a paid ad will appear and how much each click costs based on the quality of the landing page that ad leads to. Similarly, SEO professionals surely know all about “optimized pages” and how Google analyzes them for the SERPs. However, Stoney deGeyter from Search Engine Land says we should stop thinking of landing pages and optimized landing pages as different things. Now is the time for an optimized landing page.
SEO and PPC have always worked very closely, and in this case they overlap to the point where keeping them separate is doing a disservice to you and your site. Landing pages need to be optimized and optimized pages need to be respectable landing pages. Merging the two concepts into one idea simply makes sense.
So what does an optimized landing page look like? They simply change the intent of the optimization towards conversions. While SEO optimized pages are intended to rank highly, they can and should be performing the additional purpose of getting users to perform whatever action you desire such as purchasing a good or service or signing up for an e-mail mailing list. To do this, you just need a few things.
- Compelling, Keyword Focused Title Tag – The title tag is probably the most 8-10 words you will write when optimizing your page. Not only does it need to be keyword focused, but it also needs to be interesting enough for searchers to choose your link over the others in the search results. Anyone could do one or the other, but achieving both at the same time is tricky.
- Well-Written Description – Meta descriptions may not be important for rankings, but that shouldn’t diminish their importance for SEO. It displays in the search results and gets people to click to your page, so it is automatically essential for proper search engine optimization. It is also a great place for a strong call-to-action for the searcher.
- Keyword Focused Headline – Headlines are the first thing users see when hitting your landing page from a search engine, so it is important for the keyword to be relevant if not similar to what was listed on the results page. It should also be wrapped in an H1 tag for proper optimization. Proper heading and sub-heading use helps search engines and browsers alike to determine what type of content you are offering and decide if they will stay on the page. Make yours compelling.
- Topically Focused Content Concentrating on Benefits – For anyone to stay on your page, you need to keep your content on topic and interesting. Wandering off on tangents or not getting to the point will lose your visitors. Your content can be long, but it must also be trimmed of all excess. Not only that, but the value of your content should be readily available. Customers want to know what they will be getting from the content. Being positive and focusing on real tangible benefits will keep readers and consumers interested.
- Keep Your Content Scannable – Even long content needs to be scannable so users can find what they want without hassle. Even interested visitors might not care about everything on your page. Keep your pages cleanly laid out, and clearly divide your content with sub-headlines that show the users where they want to look. White space and line spacing can be especially important to overall readability.
- Call-to-Action – Without a call-to-action, there isn’t even a reason to have a landing page. Each page should have a goal that comes with a desired action or results that you want each visitor to take. The landing page should be a first step, not the only one. The only way to accomplish this is by clearly showing users what you want them to do. Whether you want them to share your content, sign up, or purchase, make it obvious.
There are some other small aspects deGeyter says these pages need, but the ones listed are by far the most essential. Optimized landing pages combine the best of both worlds when it comes to SEO and PPC. They accomplish two missions while saving stress and effort. SEO and PPC have their unique focuses and functions, but sometimes they work best when working together.