A few months ago I attended a landing page optimization conference. It pretty much taught how simplifying your landing pages can increase conversions. Simpler landing pages equates to less clicking around, less confusion and higher conversion rates. In theory that sounds great, but if your landing page consists pretty much of a headline, hero area, form and call to action, that’s not going to rank very well in the search engines for the keywords you’re targeting.
I asked the conference leader how to optimize a landing page for search engines when there is virtually no content on the page. The answer was that on page SEO doesn’t play much of a factor anymore in SEO. This answer didn’t really fly with me. Google is really locking down the link activities that it allows, so that makes creating backlinks even more difficult. Just this past week they added using anchor links in press release to its naughty list. To me, on page SEO has become more important than ever.
Instead of mish-mashing your landing pages to make sure that they work for both your SEO and PPC campaigns, try testing two different versions. Make an SEO version AND a PPC version for the keywords you’re targeting. For the SEO version, make sure that it is content rich. Now that doesn’t mean just to splatter a bunch of content on the page to make it attractive to search engines. Make sure it is attractive to your visitors as well. Follow guidelines of successful landing pages including having a captivating headline, clear call to action, display your USPs etc.
For the PPC version, focus on creating a more simple landing page that moves users quickly into your sales or lead funnel. Now the important thing to remember is not to internally link this page anywhere on your site and to not include it in your sitemap. Make sure it doesn’t get indexed. You don’t want to get docked for duplicate content, especially because your PPC landing pages will likely look very similar across the keywords you use.
I know it sounds like a lot of work to create dual content pages for each of your keywords, but remember the 80/20 rule (80% of your traffic is coming to 20% of your pages). I would venture to say that many sites see more of a 95/5 breakdown even. To not get overwhelmed and make it more reasonable, start by testing out your top 5 landing pages. This way you will see results (or lack of results) faster when splitting out your landing pages.