November 1, 2017
When you speak of landing page optimization, you generally refer to getting more conversions through it. And that’s perfectly understandable. After all, this is what a landing page should do – convert readers into paying customers. Plus, since most landing pages are part of sales funnels that usually start with PPC ads, why bother with SEO?
Well, does more targeted traffic mean anything to you?
If so, keep reading.
At the digital marketing agency I run, a lot of the copywriting we do is for clients who want a high conversion rate for their landing pages. But we also ask them about SEO before getting to work. Most of them are surprised at first, but it doesn’t take them long to realize the benefits of the “double” optimization.
However, they all have the same concern: “can you do both?” In other words, won’t SEO hurt the flow of the landing page?
My answer is always the same: Not if you do it right.
Here are a few of our tricks.
Optimizing a landing page for conversions
Of course, a high CRO is always the top priority when it comes to landing pages. SEO takes a back seat. I won’t insist too much on the technical or graphical elements here (strong, contrasting colors, VERY visible CTA buttons and non-cluttered pages), as this is not my specialty.
I’ll speak about what I know best – the words that actually sell.
1. A landing page should be about a single thing
It’s tempting to save some money and cram all your products or services on a single page that you create ads for. But it’s never a winning strategy.
Instead of confusing the reader with multiple products and services, stick to a single one. Explain it thoroughly. Toward the end of the landing page you can also refer them to complementary products. Still, use no more than a phrase for this and don’t create a separate CTA.
2. Focus on the benefits
It’s tempting to brag about the awesomeness of what you have to offer. Sadly, it’s also a deterrent for your readers. The era of pushy salesmen is over. You need to speak about your customers and put them in the spotlight instead of yourself.
Instead of saying “our solutions are the best for reducing PPC costs,” try “you can reduce your PPC costs by up to 50 percent with our solution.” Instead of “the most beautiful custom-made red shoes,” try “be the queen of every party in these red shoes made especially for you.”
I could go on forever, but I’m sure you get the point: always replace “I/we” with “you.”
3. Use powerful headlines
I always advise our writers to focus 20 percent of their time on the copy and 80 percent on the headline. Rewrite it 10 times if you have to. Do whatever it takes to make sure you’ve got the attention of the reader from the get-go.
Because from the time they clicked on your link, you’ve only got about five seconds to convince them to stay. If your headline doesn’t do the trick, nothing will.
Mentioning discounts, limited offers or benefits in the headline is always a good idea. Tell people what they stand to gain and you’ve got their attention (maybe even their money).
4. Start with the important things
A rule we always respect is writing the most important issues at the very beginning. The key benefit(s), price, discounts, duration of the promotional offer, first CTA button, how to get the offer and so on – all these go above the fold.
Above the fold means that the reader doesn’t have to scroll at all to get all this information. Lower on the page, we can always go into more detail about the benefits and rules of the campaign. But we want to make sure that the reader can get the gist at a glance.
This is very important because some readers may be convinced even before clicking the link. If your ads are compelling enough, they just need to find the “buy” button quickly and easily. Why not offer them that amazing experience.
There is one exception: if your product/service solves a lot of pain points for your customers, you can go into more details about this in the beginning of your page. Speaking about your customers’ problems and showing you understand them is also a great way to get their attention.
5. Use bullet points
Don’t make your reader squint to read your copy. You must already know that mobile Internet usage is taking over with more people surfing the Web from a mobile gadget than from a desktop.
Make life easy for them. Use bullet points, bold your headlines and allow for white space. All this makes for easy retrieval of the information that the reader is interested in.
Optimizing a landing page for search engines
Let’s take a look at how we can make sure that a landing page is SEO-friendly, but without harming its conversion rate.
1. Get technical
Be very careful with the meta description, alt tags and title/headline tags you use. The same goes for the URL. Make sure all of these contain your primary keyword.
Since these aren’t as visible as the copy on the page, you can focus on getting them right from a SEO perspective. It is, perhaps, the only time when you get to focus more on SEO than on conversion optimization.
2. Choose keywords with user intent in mind
Usually, this means going for long-tail keywords. The best thing about them is that you can also integrate them naturally in your copy (with a bit of skill, of course).
For instance, let’s say you want to address people who are looking for ways to reduce their PPC costs. The ideal keyword for this is something along these lines: “how to reduce PPC costs.” Inserting the phrase “reduce PPC costs” is fairly easy. The “how to” part can be trickier.
But you can always use phrasings like: “If you’ve been wondering how to reduce PPC costs, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s your solution” or “No more guessing on how to reduce PPC costs. Check out the bulletproof solution.”
3. Go long form
We know that search engines favor long form content over short form. But this has less to do with your actual word count and more to do with how you present the information.
Long form content typically performs best in SERPs because it is well-researched and it provides a wealth of information. And that’s great for blog posts.
But when it comes to landing pages, you can’t bore your readers with tons of information or an at-length history of the topic. However, there is a little trick you can use to have the best of both worlds.
There are little bits of code that you can use to hide more content under a headline that readers can collapse or expand at will. Yes, it’s that easy.
This way, you can have both the long form content that search engines want and the brevity that gets you conversions.
4. Write human-centric content
I’ve said it a thousand times before: search engines have started to love the same content humans do. So, instead of fluffing it up with keywords, write with your human readers in mind. Google bots will also go nuts about it.
When you insert keywords, think of those that aren’t just SEO-friendly, but also conversion-friendly. Associate power words like ‘profit,’ ‘revenue,’ ‘boost,’ ‘engage,’ ‘win’ and so on with your primary keyword.
5. LSI keywords are your best friends
Not only will they help you avoid repeating the same keywords over and over again, but they will also make it easier for Google to understand what your page is about and rank it accordingly. I wrote more about LSI keywords and why they matter for your SEO so much here.
Last, but not least, make sure that the professional copywriters you work with know that both SEO and conversion optimization are important. Some of them tend to forget about SEO and focus on CRO.
Even if ranking organically for the said landing page doesn’t matter too much for you, think about it this way: you can save money on PPC ads, especially AdWords. For every ad, Google calculates the quality index of the page. The better the optimization, the higher your ranking and the lower your costs.
Adriana Tica is an expert marketer and copywriter, with 10 years in the field, most of which were spent marketing tech companies. She is the CEO of Idunn, a digital marketing agency that helps clients all over the world with copywriting, social media marketing and marketing strategy. Follow her blog here: http://idunn.pro/blog.