Why Most Landing Pages Fail

The saying you can lead a horse to water, but can’t make them drink is the equivalent of bringing a visitor to a landing page through paid search, banners, contextual advertising or SEO and then wondering why (if the website lacks trust, conviction or a call to action) that visitors fail to convert.

Puzzled About Landing Page Performance?

While having an SEO friendly website or specific landing page is important (to get organic traffic). Neglecting a visitors original intent after they arrive is like inviting them in and then turning your back on them without offering to take their coat, offer them a drink or engage them in a conversation or distinctive dialog.

While this is unacceptable under normal social settings or circumstances in the physical setting; online, if a prospect is not greeted properly and made comfortable enough to relax, settle-in and feel cozy all chances of conversion dissipates within 10 seconds.

Conversion is based on emotion, not logic. So, unless you are speaking to the emotional body of a prospect (benefit vs. feature) or cultivated properly through a careful sequence of neurological events, then how can you expect them to warm-up to your landing pages and take the desired action?

Are your Landing Pages Converting?

If not, then sitting idle as people churn through your website in search of something only to be disappointed and bounce back to the web in search of another product or service undoubtedly leaves a trail.

That trail (action/reaction/ engagement time and or lack of it) is packed with indicators which you can use to refine the user experience and turn lackluster content into blockbuster landing pages to reap the rewards of potentially otherwise lost revenue.

Keep in mind that aside from SEO or SEM, there are metrics that are equally as important as traffic, traffic sources, keywords or segmentation to consider for building a successful online business model.

Considerations such as:

  • Landing page congruence
  • Topical Relevance
  • Usability & information architecture
  • Call to action
  • Image/Color or Font Selection
  • Trust signals
  • Rewards for the action / reward modality

Ignore any one of these variables and a high bounce or exit rate is guaranteed. Without adding analytics capable of measuring interest levels from the end user, your are making educated best guesses which may or may not benefit ROI.

Split testing landing pages and eliminating the weaker variations is a mandatory exercise until you cultivate the right message for the right segment and traffic source. In addition to split-testing your conversion funnel or landing page sequence, you should have the long-term goal of integrating SEO into the mix to ensure long-term free traffic (once you have mastered the offer and conversion funnel).

You should not sacrifice one for the other (conversion for SEO or relevance for continuity), but rather observe the synthesis of elements as a larger concentric focus that needs to be shaped, balanced and preserved, once that subtle nuance is achieved.

It’s not always about generating more traffic or tweaking your on page optimization to get higher conversions – the real problem for many websites is not connecting with their audience that can lead to sabotaged conversions.

So, the takeaway is simple, test, test and retest unique combinations, value propositions and if conversion rates are slouching, try changing the creative, simplifying the message or finding a new keyword or traffic segment to refine the relevance and conversion signal to determine which variable is the Achilles heel that is obscuring the instantaneous validation and engagement threshold to get the head-nod from unique visitors.

Now for the FIX

Transforming landing page duds into profitable conversion funnels means that you need to determine if the result of a poor landing page is the effect of a variable that you have complete control over or if it was spawned by a relevance mismatch or inappropriate traffic source.

Reeling in relevance and simplifying your page so that the purpose is evident and the page is replete with cues that resolve around action is a critical.

Some considerations for lackluster landing pages:

  • Too much information (too many options)
  • Unclear Focus, lack of purpose (or call to action)
  • Improper information architecture (wrong page, wrong  prospect, wrong time)
  • Questionably quality (lack or trust or professionalism)

So, now that you know there is a pink elephant in the room, which in this case is a poor landing page experience, what can you do about it? Here are a few suggestions that only take minutes to map out which pages need a conversion optimization make over or refinements through split testing.

Use Google Analytics to assess landing pages and bounce rate:

1.       Access Google Analytics

2.       Select Top Landing Pages.

3.       Export Data to CSV (so you can sort by different variables such as bounce rate, time on page, etc).

4.       Look at Top Keywords Driving Traffic.

5.       Optional: Expand View to 1 Year (to see historical data).

6.       Look at any page with a bounce rate above 50%.

7.      Check Keywords Driving Traffic to Those Pages.

8.       Assess Above the Fold Impression (is the primary keyword present?)

9.       Revise Meta Data and Description.

10.   Look for Affiliate Opportunities (based on stemmed keywords).

11.   Use Keyword Research or related search to see what others are searching for (to augment the page with supporting modifiers).

12.   Retool page for higher conversions or implement split testing to choose a wining variation.

13.   Rinse and Repeat.

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One Comment

  1. Crete Discover
    Posted November 7, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Great and excellent SEO solutions.

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  1. By Why Landing Pages Fail - Webmaster Forum on November 6, 2010 at 12:20 am

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