A landing page is the same thing as your home page, right? I remember the first time a potential client asked me this question. Their goal was to increase pay-per-click conversions for their hoagie shop (subs and heroes my North Jersey brethren). They couldn’t figure out why they had an abnormally high bounce rate and they wanted to fix this. I should also note that they have been doing their own internal SEM management – a topic for another post perhaps. Their goal was simple enough – get the most money out of their ads. Thankfully, after bringing them on as a client, we were able to do just that. By introducing landing pages, their paid campaigns improved within just a few short months. So that brings me to the topic of today: what exactly are landing pages and are you using them right.
We should mention, landing pages are not your home page and they’re not blog posts either (at least not in most situations). Moreover, understanding the difference between your website’s home page, content page, and a landing page will save you a lot of money. Using the appropriate page type is a must for any successful SEM campaign that is built around lead generation. That is why we are going over the three types of pages and how to optimize each.
The Three Types of Pages:
Home pages serve different purposes than content and landing pages. Almost every page on your website needs to have a strategy and goal – even ones you may look over; like an about page. Your about page acts as a preliminary introduction between you and a potential client. If this page is written poorly or lacks depth, you can be certain some customers will leave. So if that much effort needs to go into an about page, imagine what should go into home, content, and landing pages.
Another way of thinking about it is that every page on your website needs to have a role in the buyer’s journey (even if what they are buying isn’t tangible). You want them to be aware of the product, consider the product, and you want to help in their decision-making. Your three types of pages should be efficient at answering any question your visitor may have and even some they might not have thought of.
Your home page is generally the first point of contact for many people. This contact needs to be a positive one. Think about all of the websites you’ve been to. You can certainly tell the good ones from the bad. What do you do when you arrive on a home page? Chances are you look around, rather quickly, see if there is anything related to what you are looking for and this is the basis of your next move. If you like what you see, you continue on the page. If you don’t, you leave.
First impressions are key in most aspects of life and your webpage isn’t any different.
According to TIME, the average visitor spends 15 seconds on a page before they hit the back button or click somewhere else on the website. This is part of the reason why infographics have become so popular. We have grown accustomed to ingesting information in bite sized morsels.
Like the about page, your home page should give the visitor insight into what you do and how you can help them. Not only should you offer a solution to their problem, but you have to do it better than your competitors. This means that your homepage should be about your customer – not about you. When developing a meaningful homepage, keep in mind that many potential customers are in the awareness stage. Make them aware of what you offer, why it is right for them, and then guide them in the right direction.
Content pages generally pick up where your homepage left off. These pages are to help those in the consideration and decision making process. For example, you are on a homepage and see the title of a blog post that interests you (perhaps that is why you are reading this). When you click on that link, hopefully what the reader finds is the story behind the title they just clicked on. It provides them with content. This process is driving the customer towards an interest and if the content is good – perhaps towards a conversion.
These pages also play another role for the website owner, they’re often the pages you optimize for keywords, phrases, and contextual search terms. On this very page we are attempting to rank for “three types of pages,” “homepage,” “landing pages,” and “content pages.”
If homepages are the first step in the process, content pages, therefore, are the second, and landing pages are the third. Your website needs all three and, if I am doing my job correctly, you now have a better understanding of the first two.
All of your landing pages are there for one large reason – to turn site visitors into leads. It is the third and final step in the visitor’s journey. By this point, the visitor has been to your site and liked what they saw, found something of interest, continued their journey, and now the landing page is here to help finalize it.
Since the landing page is so important, it has to be highly efficient at converting visitors into leads. Their journey must remain as smooth as possible before they accept what you are offering. The page, therefore, must be designed with this goal in mind. The copy needs to be compelling, images should show what they are getting, and the overall content should be straight to the point.
Depending on your market, conversion rates vary widely across industries. Search Engine Land found that the average landing page conversion rate was 2.35%. What people forget though, is that landing pages should be part of an ongoing optimization effort to continually improve this rate.
Like the content page, landing pages are also an excellent source of on-site search engine optimization. The better they are optimized; the more organic search hits you are going to receive. Not only that, but a well optimized page gives your site the ability to convert a visitor to a lead within a single page. It is perhaps the most coveted portion of inbound marketing, but because of this it is also the hardest to achieve. This is where search engine marketing becomes a large factor.
Landing pages, more than any other page, works best with a paid marketing campaign. Realistically, you will not rank on the first page organically if your site is new or offering something new. However, with a strong SEM presence you are able to bypass this and appear on the first page. It should be used as a supplement to your organic search campaign and is an excellent tool for converting.
One last thing to keep in mind is that due to the way search engines rank pages, the more people converting on your page the higher it will rank. All three types of pages need to be optimized fully for you to take advantage of rankings. Do not underestimate search engine optimization, because your competitors won’t.
Generating leads is important to you and The Content Group will help you get there. Even if you have made the same mistakes mentioned above, we can correct the problem and start building strong SEM and SEO campaigns for your business. Let us know how we can be of help.