Most people are clear on the definition of a landing page. A landing page is just a page on your website where you are driving traffic to, typically from an ad campaign. The whole point of the page is to get new visitors to complete some specific action on the page, such as begin a free trial or even buy a product. The more you test and improve on the page, the more likely visitors to the page are to complete the desired action. So what is the confusion?
Many people don’t realize it, but there are two completely different strategies for using landing pages for a paid online ad campaign versus organic search. Now, please don’t confuse what I am saying here. Some shady SEO guys out there use the term landing page when they dynamically create thousands of pages to target a slew of different search terms. This is not what I am referring to at all. Let me explain…
Landing Pages for PPC (Pay Per Click) Campaigns
Let’s assume you are running a Google AdWords campaign and are sending the traffic you generate to your website. Assuming you are a good advertiser and not sending people to your homepage, you will create at least a few landing pages that are relevant to the ads that you display. Because these pages are relevant to the ads that visitors are clicking on, they are more likely to perform the desired action on the page.
Since you will be creating a lot of landing pages to match up with all the different ads you are running, it is important to block the search engines. The landing pages you create will be very similar to each other and have a lot of the same content. If you don’t block the search engines from these pages, you will have duplicate content issues and will dilute your SEO efforts. Many people don’t realize the importance of this… or just don’t use landing pages!
Landing Pages for Organic Search
When you optimize the content on your site for organic search, it is important that you don’t target more than a couple of keywords for any given page. If you want to create a landing page in this setting, you should really only create one landing page for a given call to action. You should create different versions of the landing page and test to see what works best, but you don’t want to have more than one URL targeting similar pages. The reasoning here is that, because you are trying to rank this landing page for a particular keyword, any other page you create with similar content or targeting similar keywords will weaken your chances of ranking well.
Also, it is important to keep the user in mind and not go overboard with keywords on landing pages when you are after organic search. If your page does not have a natural flow to it, users will leave and the point of the landing page will be defeated.
The key difference between a landing page for PPC versus organic search is that the organic landing page is not isolated from the rest of the site. Typically, an organic landing page is well linked to across the site and can be readily found by any visitors.
So what about campaigns that are not PPC or Organic in nature?
Landing Pages for Offline Ad Campaigns, Social Media & E-mail
Now that you have a better understanding of the two ways that landing pages can be implemented, lets take a look at some other use cases. Typically, with an offline ad campaign, it would be best to use a landing page that is optimized for organic search. This way, users who don’t remember the exact URL presented in your ad, will be able to easily find the offer by using a search engine or just visiting the site’s root domain. Most likely, you would want to run a social media campaign the same way.
E-mail campaigns, on the other hand, you may want to implement landing pages like you would with PPC. Since a lot of marketers use automated e-mail campaigns, it would be beneficial to have several different landing pages for the same offer. For example, if you send out an offer to new subscribers, they would be sent to a simple landing page. If users haven’t bought and are presented with the same offer, you may want to send them to a landing page that offers more incentive that the original. Since these pages are bound to be similar, you don’t want to have the search engines finding them.