Sometimes one post is not enough and since we opened the can of worms on the topic of how to create optimized landing pages in our first post Creating Landing Pages that Appeal to Motivated Searchers which was more of a general post, now we can discuss tactics and techniques for those more familiar with this practice.
Now we may not use the industry specific jargon such as (CTR) click-through rate, (CPS) cost per sale, (ROI) return on investment or return of investment, (CR) conversion rate, etc., but what will will do is break it down to basics such as (a) if it works? or (b) if it does not or (c) how to make ordinary pages into landing pages that work for your 24/7 naturally using organic search. What it boils down to is, are your landing pages converting?
Tracking your progress is crucial to determine if your theme is prevalent in the index of search engines as much as you think it is subjectively. This requires a clearly defined flow of links combined with contextual information. I often use Wikipedia as an example, since they essentially have compiled an ideal structure including topical diversity yet managed to consolidate information and theme data as a result of the way they employ links.
There is a reason they are at the helm of Google for even the most competitive phrases and regardless of our opinion about it, the content does (1) provide value and (2) satisfies the need of the searcher for pertinent referenced data. At this time, this is a prerequisite for the modus operandi of search engine algorithms (or at least Google) which is what most are primarily concerned with for optimization purposes.
What we can learn from Wikipedia:
1) Constructing your content as topical islands of information that are interdependent reinforces the value/authority for your content and your site.
2) Links are a major contributing factor (outbound as well as inbound).
3) Site structure and content development must coincide to anchor relevance (more on this as we progress).
4) and last but not least, have as much related information as possible to quantify your position.
If they manage to structurally integrate the format above and offer the selling points (outlined below) then you are well on your way to a highly trafficked and successful site.
Your landing pages should:
1) Have a clear informative layout and funnel the reader to a conclusive action. One example is to start with the end result in mind and then support the pitch with examples such as this…
Increase Reader Response and sales Conversion by 144% using These 3 Effective Tips!
2) Introducing a problem / solution: For example – Use statistics to reinforce your proposition such as… It is a know fact that only 17% or visitors actually read your content, most topically skim. Armed with this information, what defense do you have from lowering bounce rates and increasing user engagement?
3) Use Catchy Headlines ,catchy titles are a plus, using contextual links to reinforce the message are o.k, as long as the target pages also share the same common goal and visually represent the primary call to action. However, if you can keep the user on that page, make your offer and wrap it up, the less you leave to chance and the more you sculpt the outcome.
4) Using contextual internal links – using contextual links such as the two examples above (for the phrase user engagement and catchy headlines) is great to put those pages on the map for search engine spiders. If search engines see you linking to your own content using keyword rich link text (a.k.a. anchor text), then they will place more emphasis on those pages and the content they have within them for those terms. After those pages enter the popularity contest in your niche, how you nurture them over time determines their staying power and hang-time in the SERPs.
Each landing page you specify in your site should have 5-10 links such as the ones illustrated above to reinforce that keywords you are attempting to rank for pointing at them from your most prominent and trafficked pages.
If you want to increase visibility for a variety of search terms organically, then using this type of logical progression between pages using deep links (link to pages other than the home page using keyword-rich text) is an ideal format for having those pages rank on their own. When you do the math, having 20 pages that can secure 3-5 choice keywords for moderately competitive to competitive key phrases per page vs. 2 or 3 pages that have a call to action increases the intrinsic value of your site.
One way to consolidate is (a) use the masthead to hone your advertisement or (b) use the sidebar with a special offer that users can click or (c) make the target landing page so simple 500-750 words with a prominent title and recurring theme that is serves as it’s own focal point vs. just being a hub page or turnstile if you will.
Tips to Optimize your Landing Pages:
Make sure at least 5 links from your most powerful pages to your preferred landing page using the keywords that you want to rank for from the dominant pages. This sends a distinct signal to search engines that the target / landing page is important. By using this powerful internal linking strategy you can eliminate 50% of the external links required to elevate your content into the top 10. Most content that is buried in your site is not even indexed, let alone leveraged. So assessing the overall strategy of your site, promoting or demoting pages that either have sufficient content or tweaking them to create the right balance is your right as a site owner.
Make sure to optimize your image alt attributes, if you don’t want to load up other pages with text an image on each of the dominant pages to the target pages can be accomplished through using tactful images (or icons) with alternative descriptions to augment the link which serve to create authority to the target page.
Keep it simple, keep it informative, but also realize there should be a call to action on every page in your site if it is a commercial enterprise. Branding is one thing, but staying in business is another, so leverage your true online potential by starting with an internal audit of all of your pages to determine if they are appropriate or in need of an upgrade.
In closing, your pages you elect as landing pages should:
a) have a focused theme
b) employ cutting-edge analytics to track user engagement
c) offer incentives or encourage a deeper involvement in the sales cycle
The requirements are simple, a content management system that allows you to easily make changes on the fly (WordPress is a blessing in disguise) and a marketing manager or SEO copywriter who understands your need to stand out with your value proposition, brand or offer who can create content specifically for each of your main areas of interest.
Search engines are impartial, if Site A has 300 pages of content that is indexed and has proven topical information about a subject and Site B has 30 pages of content that are sparsely hinged together with rag tag navigation, the conclusion is obvious regarding which one gets the endorsement of the top 10.
Although organic search may not offer instant gratification, what it does offer is topical authority for your website which can be leveraged by introducing content on a regular basis using keywords you wish to rank for in the copy and titles. Whereby in the past, it may have taken a month to acquire an organic ranking by creating one page, building links and crossing your fingers vs. merely mentioning it and having the page rise straight to the top 10 with minimal effort.
This effect may require 9 months of consistent work, however the payoff is immense as your pages continually appear with greater frequency in “broad-match search results” and delivery quality traffic right to your door. Having covered the basics, I hope this helps to transform pages with high bounce rates into hubs that funnel your traffic to the most engaging portion of your site. You only have one chance to make the right first impression online, flub it and you may never see that prospect again. So, the time you spend either investing in a new site or optimizing your existing content is well worth the fee in the long-run.