Let’s face it. Landing pages are usually never designed to rank, but only to convert your visitors into customers. And most marketers find that designing a landing page for conversions and designing a landing page to rank in search engines are two very different things. But are they?
Sure, you can’t expect to have the same approach with SEO-focused landing pages that you want to rank in Google and other search engines as with traditional landing pages. You will likely have to make some compromise to find the right balance.
But once you find the right balance between the conversion appeal and SEO-friendliness of your landing page, you’re in for the best of both worlds.
However, as with anything in the online marketing world, it’s easier said than done. So let us explain to you all the nitty-gritty of designing an SEO-friendly landing page that both ranks well in Google and converts well.
Understanding Why Landing Pages Don’t Typically Rank
Many readers might wonder what exactly stops landing pages from ranking in the search engines, the way they are typically designed. Well, the thing is, anything that you want to rank in Google needs a very specific approach considering the ranking factors of Google.
A landing page designed to convert visitors into sales rarely focuses on these factors, which is why it has very low chances of ranking by itself. This is especially in niches and markets that at least have some competition, as these niches will have many competitors that are doing much better than you at focusing on these SEO factors and ranking above your landing page in Google.
Let us take a look at the key differences between conversion-focused landing pages and SEO-focused landing pages to understand this better.
Conversion-Focused Landing Pages
A conversion-focused landing page is only concerned about how to convert a visitor into a customer as quickly and efficiently as possible. And to achieve this, it has as few distractions as possible, including very little content and sub-headings.
No matter the type of landing page or the industry or niche, this is the foundation marketers use to drive up the conversion rate. Most landing pages designed for paid traffic campaigns like from sources like Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, and more, follow this approach strictly so that they get the most out of their ad spend. We are talking something like what you see below.
Image source: Unbounce
However, this type of landing page is far from SEO-friendly. So what would you call an SEO-friendly landing page? Let’s find out below.
SEO-Focused Landing Pages
An SEO-focused landing page is simply the one that’s designed to rank in Google and other search engines by implementing the SEO best practices. The most significant difference here is that SEO-focused landing pages need to have lengthy content, while conversion-focused pages have as little content as possible.
Lengthy, detailed, and SEO-optimized content is one of the most important ranking factors to rank in Google. You need to include relevant keywords being searched by your target audience in your content so that it can rank for those keywords in Google.
Similarly, a page that wants to rank really well in Google also needs to keep its bounce rate low, which requires a visitor to visit more than one page on your website.
So, in other words, your landing page needs to link to other pages on your website, which are basically known as internal links. This is in contrast to traditional landing page practices, but important if you want to rank in Google.
There are some other important factors too, including the loading time or speed of your site, higher session duration and internal links to your landing page from other pages on your site.
Getting the Best of Both Worlds: Conversions and SEO!
Now that you have a clear understanding of both conversion-focused and SEO-focused landing pages, let us walk you through the process of creating a landing page that helps you both rank in Google while also being fairly conversion-driven.
Let us consider the different important elements of an SEO-focused landing page.
Optimizing for the right keywords is one of the most important elements of a page that wants to rank well in Google. So doing keyword research is going to be the first step to building an SEO-focused landing page.
Once you have the relevant keywords your target audience is searching for in Google, you need to include them in the right places. These include:
- Page title
- Sub-headings (or H2s)
- Page URL – Your page’s URL needs to have the main keyword in it
- Ideally somewhere in the first few paragraphs
Now, many marketers use either a different domain or a sub-domain for their landing pages. However, when you’re trying to rank a landing page in Google, it’s better to use your existing domain linked to your website.
If your website has been around for a long time and is well-established with a good backlink profile, it would go a long way in helping rank your landing page than going with a sub-domain or, worse, a completely different domain.
As we mentioned above, you would need to have much more content on your landing page than you otherwise would if you want to rank in Google. However, the content needs to be detailed and genuinely useful, and not a long sales pitch or generic content on the topic.
This is because the content alone may not be able to do much, but if it’s useful and detailed, it would attract relevant backlinks. You will need to put in some effort into implementing SEO techniques though, depending on the competition in your niche.
The combination of detailed, keyword-rich content and powerful, relevant backlinks is what helps pages rank in Google.
But as we don’t want the conversions to take a big hit, you should only have as little content as you need to convert your visitors at the top, with a clear call to action. The rest of the content should be later down the page so that Google can read it but without having to distract your potential customers.
To further reduce the distracting impact of long content, you can sprinkle your call to actions between the content. This will ensure that even if your visitors choose to scroll down the page, they can still convert through any of these calls to actions.
You need to have internal links on your landing page linking to other pages on your site as internal links are an important SEO factor too. However, you can turn it into a little opportunity by pleasing both Google and getting the most out of your visitors.
You can put these internal links in the form of an additional call to actions, that not just link to any pages but pages that will help you capture some information about your visitors that you can use to later turn them into your customers. For instance, if they don’t buy your product or sign up for your service through the main call to actions, you can ask them to visit a page where they are asked to enter their email for a free guide or ebook, a discount code, email newsletter or something else.
You can then use a tool like MailOptin to easily convert a large number of these email subscribers into customers. The other advantage of taking this email marketing approach is that you can keep promoting your products and services to this email subscriber base every time you have something relevant for them, which basically means a great long-term value of these subscribers for you.
It may be difficult to convert organic visitors into customers right away, but you can get a great email subscription rate with an effective WordPress plugin like MailOptin.
Performing External SEO for Your Landing Page
Please note that when we say “external” SEO here, we just mean the SEO practices you implement outside of building your SEO-focused landing page the way we explained above.
So the first thing to do after your SEO-focused landing page is live is to start linking to it from other pages on your site, preferably including those with a fair few backlinks pointing towards them. It may be a blog post, or a case study, or even something like your testimonials page.
The more internal links pointing to your landing page, the easier it would get to rank it in Google. Furthermore, internal links may also help readers and visitors landing on other pages to visit your landing page and convert into sales or customers.
Then do the usual stuff you do for something like your blog posts, such as sharing on all your social media handles and reaching out to influencers or bloggers in your niche informing them about it and asking for a backlink.
You can – and likely will – need to perform off-page SEO to rank your landing page, especially if you’re in a fairly competitive niche.
Conversion vs. SEO
Once your landing page is ranked well and is getting some targeted traffic, it’s time to track the conversions. Are they in line with what you expected or get with conversion-focused landing pages? It would be a good achievement even if the conversion rate is around 20 to 30 percent lower than your conversion-focused landing pages.
However, anything lower than that and you would want to start making tweaks to your landing page to improve the conversion appeal, even if that comes at the cost of some SEO advantage. If your landing page is converting terribly due to being too SEO-heavy, then it would be wise to shift the focus a bit on the conversion side of the page has already ranked well in Google.
Similarly, you can also keep a track of the keywords that people landing on your page are searching for, so that you can optimize your landing page better SEO-wise as well, helping you get more targeted traffic.
Summing It Up
It’s not impossible to build a landing page that ranks well in Google while also getting a decent conversion rate. All it needs is a well-balanced approach to create a landing page that manages to be both SEO-friendly while keeping its conversion elements intact.