Creating effective landing pages relies on skills you may already have. Check out these tips to boost conversion using both sides of the optimization coin. PPC and SEO powers, activate!
Rule #1: Write for humans
Writing content strictly for search engines and their elusive algorithms is the easiest way to hurt your Adwords quality score and confuse visitors. Resist the temptation to take a run at tricking Google — you can’t.
Write content for visitors (real people) focusing on the benefits and strengths of your products or services.
Explain your products strengths in a way that shows visitors what they get out of it instead of what it does.
GOOD — use a feature. Made from the softest premium Pima cotton.
BETTER — use a benefit: Pima cotton is soft on your skin and resists pilling.
BEST — put them in the benefit description: You’ll want to wear that softness every day, and since Pima cotton stands up to repeated washings, you can.
How can your business deliver what your potential customers want or need? What do they get when they buy? Use this checklist when you sit down to write your landing page copy:
- Keep a Tight Focus: Highlight three or four key benefits visitors get from your product or service when they convert. This tactic helps your content stay on topic and gives you a natural way of incorporating relevant keywords without stuffing.
- Use Descriptive Language: That doesn’t mean load up with adjectives. Adjectives like “great” and “best” are so overused and subjective that readers skim right over them. They are almost pointless. Use verbs to help people imagine your product or service impacting their lives and producing a positive emotional response.
- Always be Brief: Keep to the page’s topical focus, cutting anything that doesn’t support your main three or four points.
Rule #2: Put your H1 and H2 formatting to work
You are on borrowed time. Visitors will give you a bit of time that you have to keep earning as you build value. They have neither the patience nor the desire to comb through a landing page to find the main points.
Confronted with a wall of text without formatting, they’ll bounce away for better-organized pastures. Create a compelling headline (H1) that features the keyword used in your PPC ad, so visitors know they’ve arrived at the right page. Use H2s to break up content into subheadings for easy scanning. Incorporate bulleted or numbered lists so visitors can pick out the page’s focal points without much effort. These organizational techniques improve engagement by giving visitors an easy path to finding what they want.
Rule #3: Master the Meta Description
While a meta description isn’t going to improve ranking in terms of SEO, it’s still a vital element in landing page creation. Your page’s meta description is the Internet’s 150-ish character version of the elevator pitch. This is your chance to make a gripping statement about your product that convinces visitors to click.
- Grammar Counts: Use proper sentence structure and entice visitors by giving them an action to complete: learn, find out, get started, get.
- Be Consistent: Make sure the meta description matches your landing page content for searcher intent.
- Keep Your Promises: If the meta description promises a product discount, landing page copy must show the discount and tell visitors how to take advantage.
Rule #4: Guide the Visitor’s Eyes
Visual clutter triggers an uneasiness. It makes your eyes dart around and never escape distractions. If you start reading a sentence, a strong paragraph next to it might distract you. These kinds of pages spike bounce rates because visitors don’t know how to complete desired actions. They give up.
PPC managers know that this is the kiss of death. You have already paid for the click, so you might as well help visitors stay on the page for as long as possible. Keep your landing page layout just as clean and visually appealing as your organized content.
- Place the action (button, contact form, etc.) above the fold so visitors can find it without needing to scroll.
- Use white space to break up distractions and put the spotlight on the most important ideas.
- Treat anything above the fold as prime real estate. Limit this to one main idea, a supporting statement, and a call to action.
- Don’t go overboard with large images because this can increase page load times, which creates a poor user experience. Bad UX can also harm search rankings.
There are thousands of articles and tutorials explaining the importance of the following items in a good landing page:
- Buttons or links
- How to handle offers
- How many links to include
- Trust signals like “as seen in” icons or badges
Your landing page should start with an answer to what your visitor searched. If they searched something specific like SEO writing services, don’t serve up a broad page on SEO that makes them search for writing. If you have to make multiple landing pages to fit your different searches and ads, it will only pay off in conversions.
Rule #5: Get to the point. Be brief.
Think of how an AdWords ad gives you just a few lines to get your message across. You have more flexibility with a landing page. But write as though you don’t.
Challenge yourself to limit your headlines to 7 words or less. Use 3 supporting sentences of 12 words each (or fewer). Fill up a block of text that is no bigger than 60 words.
None of these are hard rules. They’re just ideas to have guidelines in place. If you limit your words, you’re more likely to get to the point using the clearest language possible.
Rule #6: Deliver a Convincing Call to Action
A call to action (CTA) is a crucial landing page element for both organic SEO and pay-per-click visitors. Compel visitors to complete the desired action — buy, call, sign up — with a clear line of copy positioned above the fold.
If your on-page content has done its job of informing visitors and building positive emotions, a strong CTA should tip the scales toward conversion. Go for a simple command, three to four words at most. No need for excessive punctuation or wacky fonts. You know what you want. Tell them.
- Sign up now
- Join our team
- Schedule a demo
If you are taking them through a series of steps (in a wizard), the first step is an easy, low-friction CTA. Give it a try.
- Set your location
- Search for appointments
- Choose a color
There should be one main action that you want them to do. Repeat your CTA (if necessary) down the page, but keep them on the page — until they’re ready to act. It’s tempting to offer them more information on other pages, but you risk losing them to a rabbit hole.
Rule #7: Test away
Good AdWords managers love the benefits of ongoing tests. Pull that into your landing pages. Test offers against each other. Test copy, layout and images. You are bound to be surprised by a win that you didn’t expect.