Effective Landing Pages

Posted by Robert Cerff in Search on 13 June 2014

Tags: online marketing, seo

When somebody mentions something about a “landing page” or even a “doorway page” you may immediately dismiss that as an archaic practice.  But today with the search engines indexing almost every page (and document) of a website, “Every page of a site indexed by search engines is a potential landing page.”

In years past it was sometimes a tactic to create a single keyword-stuffed page for each search engine in the hope of winning top spot for a particular search phrase. This now heavily penalised practice of creating “gateway pages” was one of the earlier ways webmasters gamed the system.

But by landing page I’m not referring to a page that has been optimised for one specific keyword which would then lead you onto another webpage or even website, but rather a page that could possibly generate quality traffic to your website or even generate direct leads. With so many pages including dynamically generated pages now ranking for search terms, each page is now a possible entry point for a visitor.

An important point to always remember is that each page is indexed by the search engines (or at least you hope it is if you’ve done your homework correctly).  This would mean that each listing on your website has been indexed.  While some websites simply lists all of their listings on a single page, each listing should have its own dedicated page highlighting features and other relevant information.  Similarly each service or division should have its own page. Each and every page has now become a focused entry point that can be marketed appropriately.

While someone searching for “property” may find the home page of a multitude of agencies, how many of those same sites would rank for the search “residential rentals”? This is where the optimisation of each page would come in handy. After all if your pages were optimised for their specific listing type they would be easier to find (and longer tail keywords do convert better). By the time the visitor reaches your website they are not only keenly looking for your listing type but are able to instantly find it at the page they find themselves on.

While this may seem logical to many webmasters you may be amazed at how few put this into practice.  It would appear that many webmasters have overlooked the value of turning a simple search into an instant lead.

In this case a simple page optimised for exactly what an agency offers (residential rentals) would draw a visitor, confirm that it is exactly what the visitor is looking for and hopefully make the enquiry. In doing so this may have bypassed the homepage as well as other pages that may not meet the visitor’s needs or intention improving their overall experience.

Unlike gateway pages of the past where the page was rarely valuable to the visitor (or simply spam), to make a landing page effective, these pages need to provide the visitor with a reason as to why they are there while at the same time reassuring them that not only is the page legit but that the whole website is reputable.

Make sure that on these pages you:

• Carry your banding through consistently as you have with the rest of your website.
• State clearly what the page is about or offering.
• Link to privacy and security policies
• Link to the about us/contact us pages. The visitor will be able to either contact you directly with any questions or will get a better feel for your company.

Possibly the most powerful use of a targeted landing page is for competitions or other special offers.  This is a single page, often not even linked into the rest of the website that serves a single purpose – to capture info or otherwise instantly generate a lead.  This page is usually linked to from a specific source such as an email or a preferred partner.

These are an online marketers dream. While having a specific audience already targeted it is often easy to style and word a page for optimum conversions.  The conversion rate from new visitor to active lead should be relatively high on these pages.  Similarly those pages designed to draw specific search traffic should also show a better conversion rate than those who might be reaching a more generic homepage initially.

While “gateway pages” are a thing of the past the value and benefits of a well-structured landing page are immense. While these pages will be better optimised for specific terms, it is important that these pages should still benefit the visitor.  If you landing page is serving only to rank highly in the search engine results with little value to an actual visitor, your number one ranking would be for nothing.