Although pretty much every digital marketer understands how important thorough search engine optimization is for blog content and standalone web pages, landing pages tend to fall by the wayside when it comes to SEO.
This is because most individual marketing pushes are relatively short-lived, meaning the marketers behind them assume it’s unnecessary to optimize any associated landing pages.
However, while they’re right in that good SEO means playing the long game — something you likely won’t be doing with your average landing page — there’s one huge mistake the landing page SEO naysayers keep making.
They frequently fail to differentiate between landing pages meant to generate leads via a one-time promotion with landing pages built around recurring annual or seasonal promotions.
So while a landing page (also sometimes called a squeeze page or lead capture page) has the primary purpose of generating leads through a time-sensitive promotion, optimizing it can help you take advantage of valuable traffic you’d miss out on otherwise.
This is especially the case if your promotion will eventually recur.
SEO for landing pages works a bit differently than the standard SEO you’re used to, so it’s crucial to understand the differences. Here’s a look at how to get it right.
1. Start with keyword research and analysis
As with any other type of search engine optimization, good SEO for landing pages starts with a round of keyword research.
You may already have a list of primary keywords you’re targeting for SEO, and that’s a great place to start. But you don’t want to stop there.
You’ll also want to analyze what’s going on in your industry, what your competitors are up to, and what you already know about your existing customers — especially those who’ll be most interested in your upcoming promotion.
Strategically choose long-tail keywords that support accurate search intent, and make sure they appear naturally throughout your content.
Then make your copy even stronger by using well-chosen secondary keywords that add additional context.
2. Publish your pages to your own domain
When you’re creating landing pages with the best SEO practices in mind, your choice of URLs matters.
Remember, search engines like Google want to see your actual root domain within that URL instead of something random and auto-generated, so always publish your landing pages to your own domain.
Doing this also supports better brand consistency and lets your visitors know that they’re legitimately dealing directly with your company.
It allows your landing page to take advantage of any search engine authority you’ve likely already built for your domain, as well.
3. Create an SEO-friendly title
Your title is the most important detail to keep in mind when it comes to SEO for landing pages. Make sure yours accurately describes the content on the page, but without being too long.
Search engines typically only display 60 characters of the title within SERP listings, so make them count.
And, of course, you’ll want to include keywords with the highest-quality examples used first. Search engines focus harder on keywords closest to the left-hand portion of your title.
If using multiple key terms in your title, use vertical bars to clarify which words and phrases go together.
4. Optimize your URL for results
After your title, the actual URL is the most important element in SEO for landing pages. Publishing your page to your private domain is a start in the right direction, but it’s not the entire picture.
Further optimizing your URL helps search engines better understand where your landing page fits into the larger structure of your site.
For that reason, you can follow a similar optimization approach to landing pages that you’d use with other web pages.
Keep things short, as search engines usually truncate URLs longer than 65 characters in SERP results.
And as with titles, put your most important keywords as far to the left as possible, using slashes to separate concepts.
5. Craft a concise meta description
Your landing page’s meta description doesn’t directly affect your SERP rankings the way your title or URL will.
However, it does help search engine users determine whether they should click through to your site or not, so it’s an important part of SEO for landing pages.
The key to great meta descriptions for landing pages is to make them informative but concise, so get to the point quickly.
And use them to tell people exactly what they’ll find behind the link if they do click. Otherwise, most people will leave the minute they hit your page, hurting your SEO in the process.
6. Plan your content carefully
Since landing pages are designed to generate leads and prime visitors to convert, your on-page copy should be crafted with this in mind.
And, of course, holding your visitors’ attention so they stick around instead of bounce is key with SEO for landing pages.
One trick to doing this successfully is to focus on the benefits attached to your product or service.
Show your audience how awesome their life could become if they give it a try. Keep your actual text simple, snappy, and easy to understand, as that’s what works best on landing pages.
And be sure to structure your page for success, too. Most people don’t read landing page copy in meticulous detail, so adding a catchy headline can help them grasp the most important details.
Leads are also likely to pay attention to any subheadings you might include, as well as check out your images, CTA buttons, and other visual elements, so pay special attention to these details.
7. Don’t forget to optimize images
It may be more difficult for Google and the rest of the search engines to process, understand, and categorize the visual elements on a landing page.
However, you can help simplify the process considerably by optimizing a few details attached to your visuals.
You’ll also want to keep in mind that people do browse the image tab attached to their search results, so optimizing images can help SEO considerably.
Choose your image’s file name carefully, taking care to make it short but descriptive. Use dashes to separate words.
Spend a little time choosing the right alt text, too, as that’s what will appear in the image’s place if it fails to load for any reason. (Screen-reading software also uses alt text.)
Great alt text clearly but concisely describes your image.
8. Implement a link building plan
Link building is just as important in SEO for landing pages as it is any other time you want to raise your SERP rankings, so make sure you don’t leave it out of your strategy.
Search engines always look at whether other people around the web consider a page relevant and valuable, and a backlink is one of the strongest possible signals.
It’s a sign others have not only read and enjoyed the content but are willing to vouch for it and recommend it to others.
So create your landing pages with shareability in mind to maximize backlinking.
And encourage people to share your content across social media by adding social media sharing buttons or even incentivizing shares by offering options like a “tweet to download” function.
9. Keep forms simple and user-friendly
Since landing pages are meant to drive lead generation, most will include one or more forms for visitors to fill out.
The company behind the page gets a lead’s personal information, and the page visitor typically receives a digital asset of some kind in exchange — an ebook, a sweepstakes entry, or access to a special deal.
However, landing page visitors tend to be impatient, and no one actually likes filling out forms.
Resist the urge to harvest as much information as possible from your leads, and keep the number of fields on your form to a minimum instead. (Four or five is a good maximum to shoot for.)
Remember, all you really need to start nurturing a lead in the beginning is their name and a way to contact them.
And be sure to keep an eye on your bounce rate, too. If your landing page forms are on the longer side and your bounce rate seems unusually high, try reducing the number of entry fields to see if that helps.
10. Don’t stress over page length
Naturally, one of the big rules of thumb a savvy marketer knows to keep in mind with SEO these days is that search engines strongly favor longer content over shorter.
But does that rule still apply when you’re talking about SEO for landing pages? Aren’t landing pages meant to be concise and to-the-point instead?
Although most high-ranking content is long, there’s actually no conclusive evidence that it ranks well because of its length.
It’s more likely to be the fact that it’s informative, well-researched, and packed with details that are truly useful to its visitors.
Those things, in turn, lead to more shares, higher engagement rates, and more backlinks.
On the other hand, landing pages are less effective when they’re too long.
So don’t obsess over the length of yours and err on the side of conciseness instead. If your content is well-optimized, helpful, and efficient, it stands an excellent chance of scoring a high SERP ranking.
Whether you’re creating killer standalone pages, filling your blog with great ongoing content, or creating landing pages that get results, a solid SEO strategy is always the answer to smashing your goals.
But no SEO strategy should stay the same forever. Market trends, algorithm updates, and changing consumer expectations make it crucial to revisit your strategy once in a while to ensure it’s still effective.
Check out our comprehensive maturity assessment to determine where your current strategy stands.
You’ll learn what’s working, zero in on what’s not, and find out what you need to know to take things to the next level!