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Coming in For a Landing (Page)

Oct 23, 2009 / by David Malmborg

runway_lightingThere are many different types of online marketing strategies available. Two of the highest-impact options in the Marketing Manager’s arsenal are SEO and PPC (Pay-Per-Click). These two channels share many similarities. Ultimately, you are trying to obtain a link to your site in the search results for increased click-through.

Unfortunately, many companies are so concerned with whether or not they are ranking, that little thought is placed into what happens when the visitor lands on the site. For this reason, I wanted to discuss how to setup a landing page, or the entry point of the visitor, be it from Google organic or PPC.

Let me start out with a simple question. If you had both a SEO campaign and a PPC campaign based around the same keyword, do you want the landing page to be the same for both campaigns? Generally speaking, you would not have your PPC ad point to your SEO optimized page. This is because the visitors coming from PPC are visiting for different reasons than those coming from organic search.

The Reason for the Difference

SEO optimized pages should be informative, supplying the visitor the answer to the question which spurred the search. PPC optimized pages should be “salesy.” You have interrupted their search with your awesome ad, it is your chance to sell them your product. Landing pages, both SEO and PPC, should be optimized to meet the needs of the visitor. SEO pages are content-based, while PPC pages are all about bells and whistles, flashy gadgets and images to stir that “emotional response” you hear so much about from a sales manager. All the while you need to keep it simple with easy usability.

How to Optimize a PPC Landing Page

Continue the flow from ad to landing page. This is the first thing that needs to happen when structuring a PPC landing page. A good example of this would be if you shouted out 15% off on your ad, be sure that 15% off is easily found on the landing page. If you are focusing on a keyword, make sure the keyword stands out.

Statistics say that you’ll have 6.263548 seconds, or some minimalistic amount of time to catch the eye of the visitor, and ensure them that they are on the right page. With this in mind, you need to make sure that the major topic of your landing page is clear cut.

A large "element of familiarity" is a great way to ensure the visitor that they found what they are looking for. This could be a familiar logo or icon on the site that relates to the major keyword. For example, if the visitor found your ad when searching for "paper clips," a “familiar” image that could stand out would be a nice looking paper clip near the top.

You will also want to have a clear call-to-action (C2A) above the fold of the landing page. Once the visitor is certain if found the right page, we need a goal or path we want the visitor to follow. You have a goal with your landing page; make it easy for your visitor to accomplish the what you want.

Note: C2As work more effectively with an incentive; feel free to offer free shipping, discounts or freebies when the visitor fulfills your C2A.

Finally, it is important to give visitors easy access to more information about the company, the service or the product. You don’t need your complete website navigation on your landing page, but you want to link to the most important pages. You definitely need to link to the privacy policy, about us page, contact us page, and the SEO optimized “informative” page that will have relevant content. This way your visitor can easily find any additional information they may want before committing.

For good measure I’ll throw this out for people, because 1) it is important and 2) someone will forget, make sure your PPC landing page is “crawl-able” for search spiders, and that the content found on the landing page is unique. You still want these pages to be SEO friendly even though they are not your SEO optimized landing page.

Here is a great example of a well optimized PPC Landing page.
(website: ezonlinefiling.com)

Optimized Landing Page

These Elements Can Work on Your SEO Optimized Page

Even though you need these elements on your PPC landing page to be effective, they are not needed for SEO pages to succeed in ranking. However, what is the harm of having these elements there? PPC ads are designed for high conversion rates. There have been many studies to understand visitor behavior so that PPC is more effective.

When setting up your SEO pages, add the element of familiarity. Make the flow from the search results to the landing page easy by being obviously relevant. You want to have that call to action at the top and maybe a second on at the bottom of the page. All of these elements around solid, unique content make for a perfect SEO Landing page.

Even though the respective landing pages need to be unique, combining certain elements to the different landing pages can be beneficial. Study out trends that are having a good impact on your visitors and try to incorporate that into other types of landing pages. It may not always work, but consider the options.

Follow Up Post: Don't Send Them Home

Topics: Marketing

David Malmborg

Written by David Malmborg

David has always been involved with consumer electronics and shiny geeky toys. After finishing his degree at the University of Utah in communication and business, he decided that the new age of online marketing was a great fit for him. David has five years of computer electronic sales experience which include retail and B2B. He also worked with a premier design agency focusing his efforts on sales and marketing, where he became familiar with SEO and other forms of online marketing strategies. In April of 2009, David joined SEO.com as an SEO Specialist.

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