Landing Pages: Not just for PPC
When we talk about how important content is to SEO, we usually recommend blogging as a way to produce great content that will help your site rank well in search engines. But another highly effective way to target keywords, especially slightly less common or long tail keywords, is the SEO landing page.
We’ve written before about the importance of landing pages to PPC ad campaigns, but that’s not the only use of a landing page. In the broadest definition, a landing page is simply the page that a visitor first arrives on when they come to your website – whether that’s from clicking on an ad or from organic search results.
If you want your website to rank for specific keywords, especially lower search volume, long tail keywords, one of the most effective tools at your disposal is the landing page. This can be extra useful if you offer a service that’s out of the ordinary for your type of business – you can attract customers for that service without confusing people looking for more ordinary services.
So how do you create a successful landing page that will rank well and earn you new customers? Read on.
1. Focus on a single topic
To be really effective, your landing pages should be extremely focused. The key is to anticipate your ideal customer’s search intent and create pages that are designed to answer this intent. To have the biggest impact, landing pages should focus on an interesting or niche aspect of your industry, so choose something your competitors don't usually offer or focus on your company’s unique specialty. But whatever the topic, make sure your landing page is devoted to only talking about that topic.
This means that if you’ve created a landing page for tree pruning, ALL of the content of that page should be about tree pruning. You don’t need to talk about your company history, you don’t need to talk about all the other great services you provide, and you don’t need to include a link to your blog.
Instead, write about tree pruning. Write about how you have years of experience in tree pruning, and have had great results all over your city. Write about how you provide a better value of tree pruning than your local competitors.
The intense focus helps Google recognize that this page will be a great resource for people in your city who are searching for tree pruning.
2. Get the technical stuff right
So, you might have heard of this thing called Google?
You want to do everything possible to make sure that your landing page ranks highly, so in addition to having highly focused content, you also need to make sure all the technical aspects of your website are correct and optimized for search engines.
- URL: Have a descriptive URL featuring your keywords, like http://bobslawncare.com/Montreal-Tree-Pruning/
- Title Tag: Make sure the title of the page is short and focuses on your topic, not on your company or something else. You want the search result to say “Tree Pruning in Montreal,” not “Bob’s Lawn Care | Your Number One Source for Tr…” when it gets shortened in the search results.
- Proper formatting: Make sure your content is properly formatted, with headers using <h1> and <h2> tags. Headers are basically subtitles within your content, and Google puts extra emphasis on text with header tags when it’s trying to determine what a page is about.
- Variant keywords: Unlike in the bad old days of SEO, you don’t need to exactly match searcher’s keywords. Google knows which words are related to each other, so if possible you should include examples of other ways to say your target keyword.
3. Make it easy to take the next step
Just like with landing pages designed for PPC ad campaigns, you want there to be as few barriers between landing on your page and making a purchase.
From a design standpoint, the landing page should be clean and organized. The page should be designed around getting visitors to do what you want them to do. Do you want them to make an online reservation? Put your reservation form right there at the top. Do you want them to call you? Feature your phone number prominently.
This is just good design practice, but it’s also good for your SEO. The last thing you want is for someone to come to your landing page, not immediately see what they’re looking for, and then click back to the search results to try another link. Putting these important take-the-next-step elements right at the top of the page will reduce your bounce rate and increase users’ dwell time on your site, which tells Google they made the right choice when they recommended your site.
SEO that pays
The best part about using SEO landing pages to help your site rank is that, unlike blog posts, landing pages are also optimized for sales. If you can get these pages to rank for important keywords, they double as an immediate sales pitch. As such, they’re a great way to boost the domain authority of your website AND can be a big help in boosting your sales.
If you’ve had experience getting sites to rank with landing pages, have you noticed an uptick in sales? Let us know in the comments, or drop us a line on Twitter.