What is a landing page?
When a visitor or a crawler first access your URL, the first page/file that is seen/served to the visitor/crawler is called the landing page. (No, we are not going to talk SEM here at all. In SEM landing page is one where the visitor is first “brought” to.)
Generally, the landing page is often an HTML or a static page in used websites. Earlier when there was no definition of what a landing page was, there were many versions of landing pages. Some websites used animations, some used funnel marketing techniques, some greeted people with funny and interesting welcome messages, some people used disclaimers and some even used redirection pages.
So all of that was used in the olden days. Come web 2.0, Google and the search engine optimization gurus, landing page optimization has gained importance as never before and it has helped the user in one way because many of the landing pages are now standardized.
These days web designers are aware of the importance a landing page and know how it would help them in beating competition on the serps.
Now, there are two types of landing pages. They’re based on your purpose. A marketeer who wants to market his product in a one page funnel system, is talking about a landing page that will help him convert a potential interested person to a client/customer. You might have seen such pages for E-books and other product marketing pages.
In such pages, the intention of the ,marketeer is to make you convince to buy the product asap, driving you to take an action (often that target) through a carefully drafted copy. Well, for this kind of landing pages, you’d need a good copyrighter and some cash. You don’t really need SEO the way other sites do.
So please make clear that we are not talking about one page, funnel system marketing page that gives you the “Ultimate secret what every SEO hides from you” strategy here, but purely SE optimizing your normal landing pages.
How important is a landing page and it’s optimization?
OK, so we have all sorts of CMS’s today. So a landing page optimization would make sense for a static page guy who is trying to market an ebook but how does it help a wordpress or Joomla guy?
Let’s talk about static webpages first.
A landing page is “supposed” to contain more vital information about what the site is/what the product is than any other page on the website.
Scanning a landing page will be the surest way to find out what product you are selling and who you are. Hence, search engines, give a decent weightage to them.
How to design an effective landing page?
Designing a layout that will help the crawler to pick up only the vital information we need it to, is the key in landing page optimization. In static webpages (HTML or other), it is easy to design a layout as we want it since you have all the flexibilities. So what are the things that you should keep in mind.
- First things first.
As a thumbrule, place the most vital information about the product/service in a very recognizeable format in an evident manner on the landing page. This applies for both search engines and humans.
Place them before any thing else in the BODY tag. Let the most important one appear first and others follow.
- Give the most importance to the most important.
Use H1 tags to highlight the main content on the page. Also use STRONG tag to highlight the cream of your content.
- Follow a SEO friendly layout. Place the content to be crawled in the first block and not in the last one.
- Use the space wisely, instead of large image headings you might want to use a much crawlable textual content that describes the product/service.
- Keep a clean and thin code. Use standardized code structure to minimize the erros and invalid entries. Follow a strict code that validates to ensure that the page collects the value factor.
- Use a spider simulator to test simulate the page and make sure that the content is ready for the crawlers in a palatable format.
- Get maximum incoming links to the first landing page with it’s file name (like www.yourname.com/index.html) with the appropriate anchor text you need.
- Maintain a healthy keyword ratio on the landing page.
- Use a nice footer text to make sure you’ve lost nothing.
Having said all this, it is easy for anyone to just overdo things and get the whole thing screwed. So here are somethings that you should take care of.
Things to keep in mind.
Flash / Ajax
Use no flash/ajax on the landing page please. It is only good for the user and not the search engines. If at all you are keen on using such content, make sure you leave room for textual content and let it appear first with more importance than the flash. It can be pushed to a side.
No frames please. Frames are so old stuff, people have many numerous ways to get over frames but produce the same effect of calling different frames to a single page. So never use frames because they simply dissolve your SEO quotient. If you are keen on frames use a two frame model where the frames are split into two and you should select one over the other for SEO and deply the tactis there. It wouldn’t give you the same result as of using a single page, but yes, it is not very far.
Many might already know this, as AdSense doesn’t allow it. It has less effect on SEo but yes, on the whole if you look at the quality factor there is a grey shade for using the popup. So keep away from them on the landing apge.
Don’t dump links
OK so you have your homepage, so why don’t I dump all the category pages and other links that I have on the landing page. After all, it can’t escape the users eyes. true – but more than the UA side, too many links on the homepage dissolves your SEO quotient. Keep them toa minimum. Use only the link that will take you to the most important pages on the site. And use the proper anchor text there, let it be keywords combined with categories so that you hit two birds in one shot.
How about in WordPress/ Joomla?
In wordpress, you should do pretty much all the basic SEO that you do, and also take special attention to ward off duplicate content. Ex:- Archives, Featured post etc
Tips and tricks
- Use a map or street address in the homepage. It will help you to get featured on the SERPS with your location. This is not a guarantee and mostly works only for US clients. But if you have decent traffic and the map/address placed well on the landing page, you’ll get some extra space on the SERPs with your location etc.
- Use all the H1..H2..H3 tags to categorize your text content into most important(H1)..less important (H2)..etc.
- Use a three column layout. Enough said.
- Avoid content duplication.