When a reader clicks on a link and is taken to your website, or when they search for your URL, what they see is a landing page. Landing pages create your audience’s first impression of your website, so you want it to be a good one.
A well-designed landing page will help you convert tentative prospects into loyal customers but only if you have a fully optimized design, which requires many elements to come into play.
Here are 10 things you need to consider when designing landing pages.
- Title Tag. Nowadays search engines can interpret the topic of a page without even having exact keywords being used in the HTML title tag. However, it is still important that you have keywords because they help create high visibility of the page in web browser tabs, search engine results pages (SERPs), and social media channels when audiences share the page.
When creating a landing page, look at the length of the title. Keep it no more than 60 characters, and don’t use all caps, though you can use character savers such as “/” and “&”.
In the titles, avoid using too many keywords—two at most—but place the keywords within the first section of your title tag. Using a brand within the title helps endorse your content. Also, avoid using duplicate titles because it could indicate copied content, something that hurts your ranking in search engines.
- Meta Description. Meta descriptions are comparable to title tags because they show up in SERPs and social media channels. The descriptions allow users to get more details from the content and help determine whether that content is relevant to the queries they have placed. When creating meta descriptions, ensure you keep the length to about 155 characters.
To help with conversion, you can create an ad out of the description. Since search engines are going to highlight the query keywords of the users in bold within SERP snippets, it helps to draw the attention of the users. Again, don’t use duplicate descriptions or it could hurt the ranking of the page.
- Internal Search. If your website has more than 25 pages—and maybe even if it has fewer—you may want to add a search box. Google Analytics integrates with the search box so you can see the queries by visitors entering your website. The data you derive from a search box that is integrated with Google Analytics helps you understand what audiences are searching for and see if you have it in place, as well as reducing “bounce” rates. It also can give you an idea of the best keywords with which you can target your audience.
- Header Tags. HTML header tags help structure content and display its hierarchy on a page, and make it easier for search engines to understand your content. Visitors can then quickly discern the relevant points of your content.
Optimize your headings for keywords because search engines will read the meta tags and the visitors will read the text. Ensure you have different font sizes, styles, and formatting to allow the headings to grab the attention of the users.
When placing the headings, ensure they are in a hierarchal order: the H1 header tag only one time, at the top, then use the other subsequent header tags—H2, H3, etc.—for better structuring.
- Content. When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), content rules. If you want the engines to find the content, you need to give them some cue and the best way to do it is to use keywords within the first 100 to 150 words of your landing page. That way, both engines, and users will be able to find them quickly.
You don’t need to use the same exact keywords or phrases each time. Search engines such as Google allow for semantic search, meaning you can use synonyms and other related terms.
Longer content makes your page rank higher, too, although it can vary depending on the niche of your website. To get a clue as to what content length is suitable for your niche, look at some of the pages that are ranking high for the same targeted keywords you intend to use.
- Open Graph. Using Open Graph (OG) tags allows you to have snippets created out of the links you have when the page is shared on social media channels. It helps you control the way the content you have on your landing page is represented when you’re sharing on social media channels like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. When you optimize Open Graph tags, it helps with clicks and conversions. You can use OG images to make shareable links to appear more attractive. You can also place some text on those images to help recap the main points highlighting your content.
- Schema Markup. You can use schema markup to help your “rich snippets” or microdata stand out in search engine ranking positions. For instance, you can have schema markup to allow snippets to have additional elements such as images, star ratings, and many reviews. There are two tools in Google that can help add schema markup to the landing page and they include a Testing Tool and Markup Helper used to preview your snippets and implement a markup within a website, respectively.
- Multimedia. The use of infographics, diagrams, video tutorials, and images can make the content be engaging allowing audiences to spend more time on your website. This helps to improve the user experience. You can have multimedia elements optimized for keywords.
For example, you can optimize the “alt attribute” within the images. You can pick the image you want to use or an infographic, then add alt text to it. The description of the image will augment the context of the content, particularly by having target keywords used in them. A video transcript added to the site helps strengthen the content when audiences, for whatever reason, are unable to watch the video you have embedded on the site or when they don’t understand some parts of the video.
- Above-the-Fold Content. Some time ago, when Google brought out a page layout update, the concept of above-the-fold content came into being. Google wanted to penalize websites that add too many ads to the top of the imagery fold (the part of the page visible when you land on the site without scrolling down). Although having ads displayed on your site can net you substantial revenue, too many ads can negatively affect your search rankings. Make sure that you have sufficient content placed above the fold.
- Page Speed, Mobile Friendliness, and Link. Your page speed influences the experience of the user, SEO results, and revenue. Previously, page speed was used to provide a ranking signal for PCs, but today, it has become a ranking factor for mobile devices. Google offers you tools to help improve your page speed. For example, you can measure the optimization score of the site using PageSpeed Insights and use performance best practices provided by Google developers.
- Mobile-friendliness. Use responsive design to ensure your site is mobile friendly. Google is now migrating websites to mobile-first indexing, meaning that the search engine will first look at your site’s mobile-friendliness when it crawls, indexes, and ranks the website.
- Backlinks provide a strong signal to search engine rankings. At times, one of your less important landing pages might be ranking higher than your main page on SERPs. This occurs when you have higher authority backlinks on that page. When this happens, you need to liaise with the external sites and request them to direct the link to the main page.
- Another reason your wrong pages may rank higher on SERPs is when you have several pages targeting the same keyword or topic. Your internal links will have less value because the search engines may not be able to determine which page is most relevant for a particular keyword or topic. You also can redirect audiences from pages that are less important (even if that’s the URL they selected) to the main page with 301 redirects.
- You can emphasize your expertise on a topic by interlinking content. Use the anchor text that is optimized for the keywords you target.
- Outbound links to related external pages offer relevancy by signaling search engines to determine the topic of your page.
These elements are some of the essential elements you must consider when designing and creating your landing pages. Make sure you put more focus on clarity, relevancy, and empathy.