Cheat Sheet

Landing Page Optimization For Dummies

From Landing Page Optimization For Dummies by Martin Harwood, Michael Harwood

Landing page optimization means that you strategically craft your landing page — with images, layout, language, and links. By optimizing landing pages and the consumer experience, you can turn good search engine placement into sales conversions and real money.

Common Landing Page Optimization Terms

Landing page optimization terms such as conversion and SEO may look familiar but remain a mystery to you. Before trying to optimize your landing page, get to know some common landing page optimization terms:

  • Benefit statements: Benefit statements show how your product or service solves an immediate problem. Benefit statements often address base motivators like saving time, making money, increasing business, or improving looks.

  • Bounce rates: Measured in percentages, the bounce rate represents the number of visitors who leave your page within a specified period of time or pages viewed.

  • Call to action: Directions within an ad or landing page prompting a user to take a specific action.

  • Conversion: A desirable action taken by an online visitor, such as buying a product, signing up for a newsletter, joining a mailing list, and so on.

  • Cost per click (CPC): CPC represents the amount you (as an advertiser) pay each time a user clicks on your ad.

  • Click through rate (CTR): The CTR is a method of gauging success for online advertising campaigns. The CTR represents the number of clicks your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown.

  • Demographic profile: Demographics refer to the statistical characteristics of a segment of the population. Customer demographics identify the specific characteristics of your customers, allowing you to segment your visitors.

  • Fold: The fold refers to the viewable area on the computer screen that visitors don't have to scroll to see more content. It is known by several names, including the fold, above the fold, or viewable area.

  • Landing page: A landing page is the Web page your visitors arrive at after clicking an online ad, e-mail link, following a search engine result, or any form of offline advertising campaign such as radio ads.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Increasing visitors to your Web site or landing page by improving positioning within browser search results.

  • Split test: A test that randomly divides traffic between two or more landing page designs to identify the one which generates the most conversions.

Essential Landing Page Optimization Tips

Follow these optimization tips to keep visitors who land on your Web page from moving to other sites. Optimize your landing page as part of your Web design and conversion strategy, and you'll be well on your way to online marketing success:

  • Choose keywords carefully. Your conversions will ultimately suffer if your keywords aren't researched and tested. Keywords provide the framework from which your advertising campaign is built.

  • Keep key information in the fold. The fold area is where you capture your reader's attention. Put key content and enticing elements here, starting with your heading.

  • Use trust elements. To increase conversions, gain visitors' trust with trust elements. If they don't trust you, they won't buy from you.

  • Know your demographic inside and out. Your landing page is designed around your demographic. The language, navigation, and pictures are all done with the demographic in mind; if not, your conversions will suffer.

  • Be upfront. Fees should never be hidden. Don't spring any unpleasant surprises on your customers. For those that really want your product, they'll gladly pay that little extra in shipping — if they know about it in advance.

  • Write persuasively. Write to appeal to your audience; this includes an ethical appeal, a rational appeal, and an emotional appeal.

  • Use contact information. Don't hide yourself away. Visitors gain confidence when they know how to get a hold of you.

Web Resources for Landing Page Optimization

Want to find out more about landing page optimization? Use this list of Web resources to increase your understanding of landing page optimization:

  • SEO Chat: Use this site to check out the keyword density used on your site and the competitor’s site.

  • Google Keyword Tool: Google AdWords Keyword Tool is the landing page developer’s best friend.

  • Google Webmaster Tools: Get all your Google Webmaster tools right here.

  • Yahoo! Site Explorer: Google is the Big Cheese in the search engine field, but Yahoo! has some great tools as well. Follow this link for some quality Yahoo! tools.

  • Bing Webmaster Tools: MSN Web tools? Oh yeah they’re out there. Follow this link to find out what MSN has to offer.

Optimize a Landing Page by Troubleshooting the Fold

A key landing page optimization strategy is to keep critical content above the fold. In landing page optimization lingo, above the fold means that important content appears on the first screen so viewers see it immediately. Otherwise, they'll have to go below the fold by scrolling down to the next screen. Stay above the fold with these strategies:

  • Match fold content and advertising: To reduce bounce rates, tie in your advertising with the content in the fold. Not matching the customer’s expectations will create high bounce rates and low returns.

  • Match fold content and keyword search: Visitors will often use specific words in their search engine to find what they’re looking for. Focus your keywords in the fold to match the keywords used by a visitor’s search.

  • Put key content in the fold: Don’t save the best for last; many visitors won’t scroll past the fold, so get their interest quickly.

  • Avoid oversized images: When trying to impress your visitor, it’s common to put too large of an image on a page. This presents a problem for a couple of reasons: One is if the customer has to scroll to see the image, it loses much of its effect, and two, if it takes too long for the image to load, a visitor may just give up and leave.

  • Craft the best heading possible: The heading in the fold has to be engaging and catch the reader’s attention fast. Test, re-test, write, and rewrite your heading.

  • Don’t get too fancy: Fancy elements, such as Flash and heavy graphics, can delay load times and draw visitors away from the content they’re looking for.

  • Watch your header size: A header that’s too large may distract or leave little room for important fold content. This will force the visitor to scroll just to get the basic information.

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