October 2, 2023
How to Optimize a Landing Page for SEO
A landing page is a standalone web page specifically designed for marketing or advertising purposes. It's where a visitor "lands" after clicking on a link from search engine results, an email, a social media post, or an online advertisement.
In the digital age, the importance of search engine optimization for landing pages cannot be overstated. Landing pages serve as the gateway to your products or services, and optimizing them for search engines ensures that they reach the right audience. A well-optimized landing page can also significantly increase conversions and make your sales process more efficient.
This article will provide all the steps involved in creating landing pages from scratch and then fully optimizing them.
1. Learn your customer's pain points
Pain points are simply your customer's persistent problems waiting to be solved. It can either be unmet material, emotional, or physical needs that the customer may or may not be aware of. A well-thought of SEO landing page can convince them they have a problem and that your website has the solution for it.
There are many ways to identify customer pain points. The easiest and most direct way is to reach out to them via surveys or interviews. You may also ask your sales and customer service team as to what are the most common concerns they get from customers.
Probably the most honest information you will get is from customer reviews or social media posts about your product or service. Keep a close watch on social media and review websites, like TrustPilot, as you will definitely hear invaluable insights from the most disgruntled and vocal customers.
Let's say you're a cannabis payment processor, your customers' common pain points could be the lack of financial support from banks and that cannabis businesses are forced to do cash-only transactions.
The common complaints of casino customers are usually related to privacy and payments or withdrawals. Crypto casino operators can leverage this by featuring their no KYC policy and instant transactions.
While it's not directly related to search engine algorithms, understanding your customers' pain points will help shape your landing page design and content.
2. Plan your content
Now that you've understood your customer's pain points, you'll have a pretty good idea of the design and content of the SEO landing page.
The general rule is to make your landing page benefit-driven. Assign sections of the landing page to address each pain point and turn them into powerful selling points for your business. Emphasize the benefits of your product or service in the page copy and consider using emotional triggers to make your landing page much more persuasive.
For complex products or services, such as insurance or cryptocurrencies, consider educating your audience first with your landing page content rather than trying to convert them right away. Avoid buzzwords and phrase your content so that even grandmas or five-year-olds will understand.
E-commerce businesses, such as online apparel or food delivery, utilize images heavily but should be complemented by the page copy. Supporting text such as shipping options and product information (materials used, color, and sizing, etc) will help turn landing page visitors into paying customers.
3. Conduct a keyword research
Keyword research is the process of identifying the words and phrases that potential customers use to search for products or services similar to yours. It's the backbone of digital marketing campaigns, not just search engine optimization.
Understanding the relevant keywords your audience uses will help guide you in the content creation process and ensure that your SEO landing page meets the customer's search intent, needs, and expectations.
There are several tools available, like Ahrefs and SemRush, that can help you identify the main keyword as well as long tail keywords in your niche. These tools provide insights into keyword difficulty, search volumes, discover other keyword ideas, and more.
Once you've identified your target keywords, place them strategically on your landing page. Make sure that the page title, meta description, headers, alt text, and body of content are sprinkled with targeted keywords.
Remember, it's not just about quantity but also the quality and relevance of keyword placement. Avoid overusing target keywords (also known as keyword stuffing). Treat keywords like a condiment; just as you don't put too much ketchup in your meal.
4. Create a mobile-friendly design
A mobile-friendly design allows users using smartphones and tablets to view and interact with a page quickly and without the need for excessive zooming, panning, or scrolling.
The secret to a mobile-responsive landing page is to create a design for mobile first then make adjustments to make it fit desktop devices. Doing things the other way around will make it difficult for you to translate your design to fit small screens.
Speaking of small screens, it's quite common for mobile users to accidentally tap a wrong link or button due to the screen size. That said, allow sufficient white spaces or margins between page elements to minimize unwanted taps.
The most important part of your landing page is the top fold, also called the above-the-fold (ATF). It is the first thing the user sees when they land on the page so don't waste the ATF space with a header image or unimportant page elements. Your ATF content should be direct to the point and should immediately tell the user what they can get from the page. It's like putting your best foot forward, so to speak. This is one of the best practices followed by high-converting landing pages.
Your landing page will need supporting content to turn visitors into leads and into sales. Reserve space for blocks of text below the first fold and place your keyword-rich and compelling content in there. Don't forget that mobile devices have small screens so split the content into short paragraphs. Use accordions or “Read more” buttons to hide large pieces of content.
5. Avoid poorly coded plugins, themes, and page builders
The larger the DOM, the bigger the landing page file size, and the slower the load times.
Some plugins and themes have bloated codes that will increase your landing page's DOM size. Do your due diligence about the themes and plugins you use or plan to use.
Page builders make it easier to create landing pages but unfortunately, some of them produce bloated codes with excessive DOM. If you are to use one, try Elementor 3.0 and other page builders that have DOM optimization to minimize code bloat.
Avoid complicated declarations and make sure that all JS and CSS files are minified to make it faster and easier for the user's web browser to render the landing page. There are several tools, like Microsoft Ajax Modifier, that can make the code as lightweight as possible.
Browsers, like Chrome and Firefox, have built-in touch and wheel event listeners to track user interactions but can delay page scrolling. Adding a passive attribute to JS listeners will allow the user to interact with your landing page immediately without waiting for JS.
Don't forget to utilize async, defer, preload, or preconnect attributes accordingly when linking to JS and CSS files. Using these attributes whenever possible can help your landing page load faster because a web browser doesn't have to process all JS and CSS to fully render the page.
7. Optimize your images
Images bring life to a landing page but they are often the common culprit behind a slow website. Images, especially ones with over 1,000 pixels in dimension, have large file sizes and will negatively affect the load speed.
Convert old image formats like PNG, JPG, or GIF into WebP to optimize images. WebP retains the image quality but has better compression resulting in a smaller file size. WordPress has several plugins, such as ShortPixel and Imagify, that can help automate the conversion to WebP. Other CMS, like Webflow, has a built-in tool for that.
To shrink the file size even lower, make sure that each image has dimensions that exactly fit the block where it will be placed. Avoid placing an 800-pixel wide image on a block with 200-pixel dimensions.
Images on the desktop version of your landing page will obviously be bigger than when on the mobile version. To make images mobile-responsive, make sure to retain the image aspect ratio when scaling images according to the viewport using CSS. For example, an image that is 600 pixels wide and 400 pixels tall on desktop should be 300 pixels by 200 pixels on mobile.
Avoid using percentages when setting image dimensions in CSS. Height:auto or width:50%, for example, will tell the user's browser to adjust the image dimensions proportional to the size of the container. This process takes time and will badly affect the landing page load speed. Using percentages will also contribute to cumulative layout shift (CLS) since the block that houses the image will also change to fit the dynamic dimensions.
Don't forget to add image alt text that describes the image. Image alt text will help customers who use screen readers understand what the image is.
Finally, lazy load all images below the first fold of the landing page. Lazy loading means that the images will only be loaded when the user scrolls down the fold where the image is as opposed to loading all images at once. It can reduce page size and conserve bandwidth by delivering resources to users only when it’s requested.
8. Split your page with headings
Header tags, or headings, are important to both search engines and to your target audience. Headings give human users and search engines a preview of what they’re about to read and give the landing page a structure.
To optimize headings, include a relevant keyword with a matching search intent in each header. This will provide search engines and actual humans with a general idea about each section of the landing page.
Use H1 only once per landing page and reserve it for the page's parent topic. There's no limit to the number of H2 tags but one of the best SEO practices is to use H2s for sub-topics. Reserve H3, H4, H5, and H6 to split sections of the sub-topics. Think of a landing page as the tree, H1 as the trunk, H2s as large branches, and subsequent headings as smaller branches.
Headings are larger than normal text so make sure that they only take up to 2 lines maximum on mobile devices. Use them sequentially (H1, H2, H3, and so on). Avoid H1, H3, H2, H4, H2 for example.
We've seen some poorly designed landing pages tend to use headings to enlarge font-size text. Don't do that. Use font formatting when enlarging font sizes rather than making them headings.
9. Make sure fonts are accessible and readable
If images bring life to a landing page, fonts are the one that brings flair. Font style, color, and size are important page elements that can persuade your target audience to buy your product or service. Fonts can also enhance the readability of your content making it easier for users to understand the information within the landing page.
However, fonts are often large files that can slow down the landing page's load time. Web browsers will even hide text while the font loads. To prevent this, include a font-display:swap attribute in the @font-face style of local fonts and &display=swap parameter to the end of Google font URLs.
To reduce the negative impact of fonts on your landing page, make sure that your design utilizes only as few font styles as possible. Host the font within the website rather than using a web font. If self-hosting is not feasible, utilize the preload attribute when linking to external fonts to improve page speed.
For maximum readability, ensure that the font size is small enough to fit small screens but big enough to read. The font color should be dark enough to contrast with the landing page's background color.
10. Optimize buttons and forms
A successful landing page needs persuasive buttons and a form to get a user to do some kind of page engagement. A button must include a call-to-action (CTA) to entice a user to click on something while forms will be the main way to gather user information.
Buttons and forms should be designed so that they stand out from the landing page background. They also should have aria-label attribute to help screen readers describe these objects to visually impaired users. Simply put, aria-label functions the same way as alt text in images.
11. Link to relevant pages
Linking to other relevant pages on your website can boost SEO by spreading the equity of high-quality backlinks and guiding visitors to more content. An internal link also helps search engines discover other pages on your own domain.
The link color should contrast with the background color to make it easier for users to see the link. Never use nofollow attribute as it prevents search engine bots from going to other pages.
There's a decent chunk of the population that uses screen readers so it's best to utilize aria-label attribute in links to help the visually-impaired know what the link is and its purpose.
Linking to other pages is a must under normal conditions but internal linking shouldn't be done when the landing page is used for paid ads. This is because the purpose of landing pages for ads is to generate leads. Adding internal links in conversion-focused landing pages can distract the user from clicking a button, submitting a form, or completing a purchase.
12. Social and trust signals
While the direct impact of reviews and social signals (likes, shares, tweets, etc.) on SEO is still a topic of debate, there's no denying that they can enhance your landing page's engagement and conversion rate.
Even though technology has made it possible to buy things online with a snap of a finger, most of our transactions are still based on trust. Before making a purchase, we often watch videos from trusted sources analyze products, and read product reviews from peers. We want the best value for our hard-earned money.
One way for SEO landing pages to build trust is to display page elements that can help users feel secure. If your company offers same-day shipping, add a badge displaying a same-day shipping guarantee.
Another way to build trust is to feature logos of well-known brands or organizations that are associated with you. The logic behind this is that if your company partnered with a popular client, then you must have a solid reputation. Badges, like "As seen on Shark Tank", are very effective in persuading users to make a purchase.
Probably the most effective trust signal is to publish reviews from actual people who bought your product or subscribed to your service. Nothing is more persuasive than seeing real people rave about your product that's why great landing pages have them.
13. Add a compelling page title and meta description
The page title (also called meta titles or title tags) and meta description are the first things users notice when they find your landing page in search results or when shared on social media, so make it count!
The title tag should be concise (less than 55 characters) and include the target keyword. Meta description should summarize the landing page content in under 155 characters and include a keyword with decent search volume. Anything longer than that and search engines will truncate the meta title and meta description.
Page titles have a direct effect on search engine rankings. It's one of main the page elements being looked at when search engines match search queries with SEO landing pages.
Meta descriptions, on the other hand, are not directly taken into account when deciding Google rankings. But meta descriptions are still important for SEO landing pages as they describe what the page is about, help distinguish your page from competitors, and entice users to go to your page. Direct or indirect, having a good meta description is still a solid SEO strategy.
14. Customize the URL
A custom landing page URL can boost your SEO ranking and enhance your brand's credibility. It's also one of the first things users see in search results aside from the page title and meta description.
Keep your URL as concise as possible to make it easier for users to remember your landing page address.
Remember to utilize your main keyword in the URL to immediately provide search engines and potential customers with more information even before they click the link to the landing page.
Note that search engines treat lowercase and uppercase URLs as separate pages. Make sure that your landing page URLs are standardized in lowercase to prevent website errors and preserve the SEO value whenever someone links to your landing page.
One last thing, use dashes instead of underscores to separate words in the URL. Search engine bots recognize dashes while underscores aren't.
15. Add security headers
Website security headers are a set of HTTP response headers that, when properly configured, can help secure website security by enforcing certain browser behaviors. They are not visible to the end-users of the website but are critical in reducing the risk of certain web-based attacks.
Here are the most important security headers that must be in your landing page.
This header helps prevent cross-site scripting (XSS) and other code-injection attacks by specifying which sources of content are valid. Using CSP, you can restrict the sources from which resources like scripts, styles, and images can be loaded, reducing the risk of malicious content execution.
This header ensures that a website can only be accessed over HTTPS, preventing downgrade attacks and ensuring encrypted connections.
This header is used to prevent MIME type sniffing. By setting it to "nosniff", browsers won't attempt to guess the MIME type, reducing the risk of drive-by downloads.
This header can be used to specify who can embed a webpage within an iframe. It helps in preventing clickjacking attacks. Common values are 'DENY' (no embedding) or 'SAMEORIGIN' (only embedding from the same site).
Determines how much information should be included in the Referer header when a user navigates from one page to another. This can be used to enhance user privacy.
This header allows you to enable or disable certain browser features and APIs in the interest of user privacy and security. For example, you can disallow the use of the camera or microphone for a site.
An older header that was used to control the built-in reflective XSS protection in some browsers. While it's becoming obsolete because of CSP and browser changes, some sites still include it for backward compatibility.
This header used to provide pinning of cryptographic keys to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks using rogue X.509 certificates. However, due to the risks of misuse and the potential for self-inflicted denial-of-service, it's no longer recommended and has been deprecated.
16. Extend cache expiry of your landing pages
When a browser requests a resource, the server providing the resource can tell the browser how long it should temporarily store or cache the resource. For any subsequent request for that resource, the browser uses its local copy rather than getting it from the network.
Setting the cache expiry of CSS, JS, images, and videos to 365 days will benefit returning visitors since their browsers don’t have to load the SEO landing page resource from a server. The browser can just load the resources locally from the browser cache.
While it doesn't affect organic traffic, extending cache expiry improves user experience nonetheless.
17. Add an FAQ structured data
If your SEO landing page has an FAQ section, mark up your page so that it can be eligible and get organic traffic from Google rich results and Actions in Google Assistant.
The process is pretty simple. You just copy the content of your FAQs and paste them into the suggested JSON or Microdata format. Refer to the Google structured data documentation to see examples in JSON and Microdata.
18. Link to your landing page
Backlinks (also called inbound links) are links from other web pages that point to your landing page while internal links are links from pages within your website. Both play a pivotal role in SEO, serving as endorsements of your content.
Quality backlinks can significantly boost your landing page's authority and search rankings. They indicate that other websites find your content valuable and worth linking to. Think of backlinks as Yelp reviews; the more good reviews you have, the more trustworthy you are. The same logic applies to backlinks and SEO.
The first step to earn backlinks is to create a landing page so good that other websites have no choice but to link to you. We've already covered that with this guide. The other means of acquiring backlinks is to reach out to influencers and other website managers in your niche and ask them to cite your landing page as a reference.
Of course, there are other ways to get quality backlinks but we'll discuss them in a separate guide.
Need help with landing page SEO?
If you've made it to this part, thank you for joining us on this comprehensive journey to optimize landing pages for SEO. Download and read our guide about website audit template to test just how optimized your website is. Remember, properly implementation of these strategies can significantly improve your landing page's visibility in search results, get more organic traffic, enhance conversion rates, and pass the Google Core Web Vitals test.
If you need professional help in creating SEO-friendly landing pages, we're here to help! Our team is composed of seasoned professionals with years of experience turning unoptimized pages into SEO-friendly landing pages. Send us an email today!