I am a big believer in the value of well-crafted landing pages and I make them for every new project I launch or each new special offer my clients come up with. I always recommend using landing pages as primary sources for email marketing and social media advertising... it works!
One thing I have noticed is that building organic rankings and traffic to a landing page can be difficult. It doesn't have the organic link acquisition capabilities of, say, a blog. In many cases, you also have to put less content not to distract users from the main call-to-action. Then there are featured snippets, which may or may not be targetable via a landing page, depending on how much (and the kind) of content you provide on it.
The problem with commercial landing pages is that you have to kill a lot of birds with one stone: You need to make it useful and appealing enough for website owners link to it organically, and you need to make it minimal and clear enough for lurkers to turn into buyers.
It's not always easy to achieve all those goals but you cannot really sacrifice on any of them because they are all essential parts of a landing page success.
Regardless, the stats on landing pages and ROI in general are clear:
- CRO tools have an average ROI of 223%.
- Businesses that have 40 landing pages or more had twelve times as many leads as those with 1 - 5 landing pages.
What do these stats tell us? For one thing, landing pages count as a CRO tool and that is a major concern when talking about conversions, whether that is clickthroughs or sales.
Businesses with landing pages do better than those without (I could have told you this from my projects that have had highly-targeted landing pages versus those without them).
Now that we have a better picture of what landing pages look like in 2018, how do be optimize them? We want to get as much organic traffic as possible, increase our average conversion rate and get them into a top Google's positions so they can do their work.
Here are the five steps for doing that.
Step 1: Really Research That Content
First of all, you need research and a lot of it. I feel like keyword research is both the most important step that everyone agrees you have to do in content creation and also the most likely to be done poorly. Perhaps because they only see it as a means to SEO and not the first step in the overall process of making something worth viewing.
Having the right tool is helpful in making that process easier. Most experts point towards Google Keyword Planner, but I find it is a little too complicated and difficult to use for beginners. It's also mostly about PPC optimization rather than organic rankings.
Serpstat is a multi-feature user-friendly SEO platform that has a few powerful keyword research features:
- Keyword suggestions based on Google's popular queries
- Question analyzer, a helpful feature suggesting you popular questions based on Google Suggest results
- Keyword clustering groping your keywords based on how related they are.
Step 2: Match Content to What Your Audience Is Looking For
This next step is also often ignored or not really utilized. When you are researching your keywords you are seeing what it is your audience is looking for. That gives you direct insight into what they want to know and what interests them. So why are you just keyword stuffing when you could be creating content that directly related to that and answers that need?
One of the best ways to get your landing page ranking is to match your content to your keyword research, not just find ways of using keywords in what you were going to create in the first place.
Use Google Search to give you clues as to what intent there is behind each query:
Then match your landing page design and content based on what Google thinks their users want. Do you see product search blended in your important search results? This must mean Google's users have been found to want to buy stuff when typing this query. So give them your product pages! Or product bundles / collections if there are more than one product involved.
Step 3: Optimize As Usual
The truth is that SEO on a landing page is pretty much the same as what it is on a regular page. You're targeting keywords, putting in structured data (see schema.org) if any applies, using descriptive and helpful image alt text and titles, using related concepts and synonyms - all the things you would normally do will be done on a landing page.
I have a handy checklist you can use to make sure you are wringing out every bit of potential before you publish.
Think about other forms of content that can both help your on-page SEO efforts and engage your visitors getting them down your conversion funnel:
- Videos are much needed content in a world that is becoming more digital by the year, with audiences that expect videos over written content. It has been found that conversion rates on landing pages with videos can increase by as much as 86%. Videos can also give your brand visibility a serious boost, especially if you optimize your videos well
- Tables and charts can get your (landing) page featured in Google: Think how you can summarize the data in tables, charts and graphs to get ranked on top of position 1 in Google
- Images can help your page appear in Google's image search which is often blended into organic listings. Use distinctive watermarks to make your brand easily recognizable from blended search results (even before the click):
Step 4: Monitor Your Results
You're going to end up tweaking your landing pages and learning from them in order to do better next time. That is how it is with all online ventures... you learn as you go. But analyzing your results and monitoring how things perform is a huge part of that.
Analytics, search metrics and on page performance are critical. Google Analytics is nice free tool to start using at this point to monitor your progress. You can create a custom report for each of your key landing pages to monitor them closely:
I also like using heatmaps, which help me see what my audience is focusing on. There's a variety of heatmap generators: Here's a good comparison of some of the most popular ones:
You may also want to add at least one solid rank tracking solution to your tool set. I know there are a few very local anti-rank tracking experts but to my mind it's a great way to spot algorithm updates and timely identify competitive advantage.
The aforementioned Serpstat includes a solid rank tracking solution. If you prefer a desktop solution, take a look at Link Assistant. It connects to Google Analytics and shows exactly how many clicks you are receiving to each of your identified landing pages from Google's SERPs. It's a great way to identify most effective queries to focus on:
With landing pages, you only have so much space to learn so it is best to take advantage of every tool at your disposal.
- 5 A/B Tests You Should Be Running on Your Landing Page Opt-In Forms via @peeplaja
- How to Effectively A/B Test Your Landing Pages by @ryanmalone
Step 5: Share, Share, Share
Finally, share it. Yes, you want organic rankings which means organic traffic. But as mentioned before, that is harder to come by when dealing with landing pages.
"Build it and they will come" doesn't quite work unless you are dealing with captivating content with a lot of viral potential. Landing pages have limited organic spread potential, so going an extra mile putting it in front of key influencers and customers is essential. Some examples of things you can do:
- Use social media advertising to engage your followers with your landing pages
- Use lead generation forms to collect emails from people who may be interested in your offer later and then send them special offers just in time for holidays and special occasions when they feel most inclined to buy
- Reaching out to niche influencers offering them all kinds of partnerships.
Give yourself an additional boost by linking internally, socially and having plenty of CTA's leading back to the landing page.
Do you have a tip or tool for making a landing page as optimized as possible? Let us know in the comments.