A Quick Guide to SEO Optimized Landing Pages
When it comes to SEO, many naturally tend to focus on optimization for websites. Merchants want to increase the organic traffic reaching their store, and search engine optimization is an excellent method of doing so. But did you know that you can apply a similar approach to landing pages? In previous articles we’ve looked at what you can do to improve optimization on your Frequently Asked Questions page, gift guides, and more, and today we’re going to dive into landing pages.
What is a Landing Page?
Landing pages are a great resource available to every Shopify merchant’s marketing toolbox. They act as standalone web pages focussed on a topic targeted toward a specific audience. That’s a fairly broad description, so let’s dig a little deeper.
Unlike the rest of your store, a landing page has a very clear goal in mind which hinges on a Call-to-Action. The topics of these pages can be about new products, seasonal sales, promotions, etc. The goals can usually be filed under two categories - lead generation, and conversion-focussed.
Lead Generation landing pages typically seek to gather information for the brand to follow up on e.g. gathering email addresses, filling in a form with contact details, etc. For merchants this is typically done to build mailing lists in order to retarget at a later date.
Conversion-Focussed or click-through landing pages are exactly what they sound like; the goal is to have the user make a purchase. This is done using a Call-to-Action that will enter the user into the checkout flow either by directing them to a product page, or direct to checkout e.g. a subscription service.
Why are landing pages useful?
Whether you’re promoting a product, looking to bring more attention to a sale, or building your mailing list, landing pages are great tools to attract focussed traffic to that topic. You can link to a catalog or homepage on your store, but landing pages actually improve the user experience. You can create landing pages that target a user’s intent before they know what they want to purchase - you’re essentially saving them digging through your entire site and showing them the information they want with a direct Call-to-Action. They’re also great for marketing campaigns, as you can better track the behaviours of your potential customers and can keep them focused on the topic you want to promote e.g. a new product. And finally, they can help boost your store’s SEO. You may be wondering how this can be if they are standalone pages rather than included in your store’s main navigation and that’s a fair question. There’s a good chance your store covers a wide range of products and page topics, which can be tricky for a new customer to navigate at first. Using a landing page, you can distil your site down to specific topics targeted towards different audiences with their own unique search intent by including keyword sets for that topic. Basically, you can capture more intent driven users through search engines using landing pages that have been built with SEO as a key component.
How to build an SEO minded landing page
Step 1: Keywords
As with many SEO related tasks, you need to start with keyword research. Focus on the topic area for the landing page, and find the keywords related to that. As the page is looking at a specific niche, you can develop better content around that. Create a list of keywords that you want that page to rank for as well as some combinations of relevant terms - i.e. long-tail keywords - that a user might actually search for. Look at your competitors - if they have content on their site related to the topic your landing page is about, see if you can find some common phrases and terms that may be their target keywords. Incorporate these strategically in the page content, which brings us onto our next step.
Step 2: SEO Basics
You’ve got your topic, your target audience, and your keywords, now it’s time to take care of the basics. Here’s where you need to incorporate keywords:
Metadata: URL, title tag and meta description
Headers (H1, H2, etc)
- Body text
Make sure you focus on valuable keywords that are relevant to the landing page and the user’s search intent, rather than trying to stuff as many keywords in as possible. Keep the content compelling, easy to understand and interesting - this will serve you better in the long run with SEO as the page gains more trust. Landing pages for the most part should be concise and to-the-point so as to capture and maintain the interest of the user and encourage whatever Call-to-Action you have featured, so don’t worry about the length of the content on the page.
Step 3: Backlinks
Keywords? Check. Basics? Check. Time to talk about backlinks. Backlinks are when someone links to your webpage through another site, and they’re one of the most important factors in boosting organic search engine rankings. They basically show Google and other search engines that your page is trustworthy and valuable if it’s showing up on other relevant and authoritative sites. It can be tricky to build backlinks, as it isn’t something you can just do yourself and are relying on other people linking to your content. The best you can do is to set yourself up for success with the following:
Create engaging and interesting content on your landing page.
This is your first step in securing backlinks. The better the content is, the more likely someone will link to it.
Reach out to influencers
Influencer outreach has been a growing niche of the marketing industry for a while now. Identify influencers relevant to the content on your landing page, your store, and your audiences and look into how you could secure some backlinks there. The best, of course, are influencers with their own personal blog sites.
Research your competitors
Where are they securing backlinks, and would you be able to secure the same sources?
Identify and engage with relevant sites
Every industry has niche websites and blogs that write about that industry. For example if you sell cookware, there are many sites about food and cooking that write articles about cookware.
Promote your content on social media
Whilst social media won’t contribute much to boosting your landing page’s SEO, it will help drive attention to it. It will give the landing page some additional awareness to relevant audiences, and boost traffic.
Keep seasonal landing pages live year-round
It’s understandable to assume that because seasonal events like Black Friday/Cyber Monday are limited time campaigns that you should take down landing pages once those events are over. However, if these are events you run every year, then you should absolutely keep the landing page live along with some content specifying that the event is now over but that users should stay tuned for next time. These seasonal landing pages will continue to build authority with search engines throughout the year giving them a better chance of ranking each year they remain online.
Long Term Campaigns vs Short Term Campaigns
Whilst we’re discussing the value of optimizing landing pages, you don’t need to do this for every single campaign especially if it’s a short term marketing campaign. If the topic you’re promoting is a one-off e.g. a flash sale or competition, then you likely won’t need it to be optimized. However you should carefully consider if a campaign really is short-term. For example, you might have a new product that has limited availability; once that product is sold out, you can then utilize that landing page to direct the user elsewhere on your site to look at similar products.
Track Your Results
After all the work of building a landing page, developing the content, optimizing it for SEO, and promoting it to your customers, you’re going to want to see some results. Tracking the results of your landing pages helps you to see how they’re performing and if you need to make any changes to the page to ensure it captures the right audience. For example, you might see traffic coming from a search term you hadn’t thought to include as part of your keywords; you can then go and make small tweaks to better attract more of that traffic.
Landing pages might be great conversion tools, but only if the right audience can actually find it. By producing high quality content that’s targeted, goal-oriented, and SEO optimized, you can create landing pages that drive traffic and conversions.