In this article, search engine optimization expert Matt Diggity shares 4 crucial tips with us on how to design an SEO-friendly landing page.
A good landing page typically offers just one path to its visitors, based around a call-to-action. This means you should not add anything to the page to distract them. On the other hand, doing SEO on a page usually means adding more content and links - in other words, more ways for a customer to leave the page.
However, it is entirely possible to make a landing page rank in search engine results. It takes a bit of work and patience, so you might not want to rely on it for landing pages that are only relevant for a short time. But for long-term or seasonal promotions, doing SEO on your landing page is well worth the effort.
Read on to learn how.
Why is an SEO-Friendly Landing Page Important?
Businesses try to make their landing pages SEO-friendly to get them to rank higher in search results for relevant keywords. A higher ranking leads to more organic traffic, which means more potential customers.
Here are two other reasons you should focus on building SEO-friendly landing pages:
Improved user experience
If you want site visitors to take action and return, you need to give them a satisfactory user experience. Their experience begins with a Google search, continues when the user finds your landing page and clicks through to it, and ends when they either close the page or click the CTA button.
Optimizing your landing page makes it easier for your potential customers to find the products or services they need. A great user experience will help improve conversions and could even result in recommendations or referrals.
Higher page quality rating
Page quality is one metric that is often overlooked when we discuss SEO. While many ranking criteria are calculated automatically, page quality depends on the human experience. Google hires people to evaluate how well pages perform. These “quality raters” perform searches based on real Google searches and then evaluate the quality of the search results, according to Search Engine Land.
Google’s human testers look at various factors to determine page quality:
Page purpose. Does the page do what it set out or promised to do?
Expertise, authority, trustworthiness: These factors, collectively known as EAT, indicate the credibility of a page. For example, a peer-reviewed article by a Harvard professor is likely to rank more highly than an article published on a website known for clickbait.
Main content quality. Google testers look at spelling and grammar, content clarity and length (long-form content ranks more highly), and the quality of presentation.
Website owner information. Websites that feature owner information, such as a contact telephone number or email address, typically rank higher than pages that don’t.
Website reputation. Customer reviews, online content published about the business, and awards given by reputable bodies are all factors in establishing website reputation.
Since PQ is given by real people, you can’t easily use shady tactics to boost it. Optimizing your landing page for human users, instead of algorithms, will help your SEO and get your landing page into those coveted top search results spots.
Important Elements of a Landing Page
Doing SEO on your landing pages is similar to doing it elsewhere, with a few minor adjustments.. Here are some SEO elements to be mindful of as you build your landing page:
Optimized heading tags & metadata
When a user searches for a specific keyword, Google looks at the heading tags and metadata first, before crawling the body text. Since your landing page is likely to be light on body text, you must ensure that your main keywords appear in headers, metadata, and image alt text. Let’s look at each one in turn.
When you look at the HTML code for your landing page, a heading tag will be shown as <H1>. This is followed by <H2>, <H3>, and so forth. The main H1 headline should describe your landing page’s purpose clearly and contain the most important keywords. The subheaders, if you're using them, should contain keywords that are directly related to the body text below them.
Website visitors do not see metadata when they visit a page, but you’ll find it right away in the HTML code for your landing page. Metadata tags will be marked as <meta>, and include elements such as meta title, URL, and meta description. These tell Google what a page is about. Therefore, each of these elements should include your main keyword. Using the same text in the URL and meta title will help improve your landing page’s search ranking.
Since search engines cannot read images, you should add a text description (also known as an alt text) to your images. This short passage of text describes what the image contains, allowing Google to understand the image and factor it into search results. Remember that your alt tags must include your chosen keywords.
Keyword Optimized Content
Any written content on your landing page must contain your keywords if you want the page to rank. You can use a tool like Google Search Console to check what keywords your landing page is ranking for. You can then make sure that your landing page copy includes those keywords.
Avoid keyword-stuffing (cramming in the keywords too many times unnaturally), as this will give Google a reason to penalize your site. Secondly, use a grammar checker to avoid typos and silly mistakes.
If your landing page is going to be up for some time, remember to update the content when necessary. Outdated content will result in a high bounce rate, which will have a negative impact on your search rankings. For example, if prices, dates, or contact details change, amend them on your landing page immediately.
Site structure & interlinking
If you have a fairly simple site with just a few pages, managing your site structure is fairly easy. However, as you add more pages and files to your site, it can get messy. This makes it hard for Google to crawl your site and find relevant pages.
This issue can also affect your landing pages, even if there are no links leading from your landing pages back to your home page or other parts of your site. If you structure your site so that there are links to your landing pages wherever relevant, this will help Google to find your landing pages. While external link building is a proven SEO metric, internal linking also helps direct your website visitors to your landing pages. This improves site navigability for human users and for Google’s crawlers.
Organizing your landing pages will also help Google find them. Organize your landing pages according to product or under categories through your menu or footer.
Page load speed
Page speed is one of the most critical factors in determining whether a visitor stays on your website or bounces. Studies have shown that a page loading time of just three seconds results in a bounce rate of 30%. As a rule of thumb, try to aim for a loading time below 200ms. The faster the better!
Take the following steps to make your landing page load faster:
Resize your images. Instead of uploading a 2000 x 2000 image and letting the browser do the cropping, upload a 600 x 600 pixel image instead. You will immediately see a reduction in loading time. You can use a plugin like WP-Smush to optimize your images automatically.
Use a CDN. A content delivery network, or CDN, is a network of servers that deliver content to site visitors from the nearest server to their physical location. Using one can dramatically improve page speed.
Eliminate unneeded plugins: If your page doesn’t need a plugin or extension, remove it. Extraneous plugins can slow your page down enormously.
Google has confirmed that it uses page loading speed as a metric in determining a site’s search ranking. Therefore, you need to take it very seriously, or your landing page and website performance will suffer.
Just like all forms of SEO, landing page optimization is an ongoing and never-ending process. Google is constantly tweaking its algorithm, coming up with new ways of serving up the most relevant results to its users. Therefore, you’ll need to update and optimize your landing pages continually if they are to stay at the top of the rankings.
As you do SEO on your landing page, don’t forget to maintain the aspects that make it an effective conversion tool, such as the CTA and lack of external links.
To recap, here are my top landing page SEO tips:
Optimize your H1 tags, metadata, and alt text
Optimize your content without keyword-stuffing
Ensure your site is well-structured and contains internal links to your landing page.
Take steps to reduce your page load speed.
By following these steps, you’ll soon have an SEO-friendly landing page that will both attract organic search traffic, and convert visitors into customers.
If you haven’t created your landing page yet, try creating one with Ucraft. Choose from a variety of eye-catching templates, make the most out of our website-specific features and create a landing page that converts.