November 13, 2012 By Don Kreski
The quality of your “landing pages” - that is, the pages visitors first see when they land on your website - can make or break your marketing efforts.
Strictly speaking, web developers create landing pages for pay-per-click advertising programs, and in many sites, they may be seen only by those who click on an ad in Google or Bing.
That said, these kinds of pages are similar to those you optimize for natural search. For example, if acoustical consulting is an important source of revenue, you’ll want to create a page describing your acoustical consulting services, and you’ll want to advertise those services in Google AdWords as well. Can you use the same page for both purposes?
Yes and no. While I wouldn’t use just any page as a landing page, the principles behind good landing pages can help you build stronger pages throughout your site.
Characteristics of Good Landing Pages
Whether a visitor comes to your site from natural or paid search, you must make it obvious that he landed on the right page. “People can jump from site to site so easily,” says Tim Grant, director of search and social media strategy at Gamma Partners in Chicago. “It’s not like driving to a store where you might as well look around once you’re there. On the web, if you don’t see what you need immediately, you’ll go somewhere else.” For that reason:
- Building the page starts with the proper keyword or key phrase
- In pay-per-click campaigns, the ad
you write should use that same word or phrase in its headline
- Most often, the headline on the landing page should use the same keyword again
- Photos or illustrations must also
show that concept clearly
- Body copy must stay on topic, explaining the product, the process, or the concept that the page (and the key phrase) is about
- Always to move readers one step further along the road to a purchase, so include a strong call to action.
Develop Calls to Action
As you create your pages, think about what the next step for the reader should be. Set a clear goal for each landing page and make it easy for your readers to act in a way that moves them toward your goal.
Amazon is a master at this process. Whatever page you land on, you’ll always find a summary of what the product is and why you should buy it, plus more detailed information. The e-tail giant always includes good illustrations, pricing, availability, buyer reviews and even suggestions for related products. Each link is a call to action. Do you need to learn more? Click here. Ready to buy? ‘Add to cart’ here.
Most service firms, however, are trying to prompt a contact, not a direct sale. How to do so is a little less obvious, but you still want to lead people through the information gathering process and always include a call to action.
“One obvious goal is to prompt people to fill out a ‘contact us’ form,” Grant explains. “But you don’t want to stop there. Be sure your address, phone and an email link are on every page, positioned in a consistent, obvious place. Make it very easy for them to communicate with you.”