Landing Page Basics: What are Landing Pages and What Makes Them So Important to Online Marketing?

paper airplane: SEO Advantage Landing Page Optimization article

Landing pages are everywhere on the Internet. In fact, you are probably visiting landing pages every day without realizing it. A landing page can be defined as any page of a website that a searcher “lands” on upon entering a website.

Internet users may be drawn into a landing page organically, for example by clicking on Google search results or a link shared via social media. Marketers can also intentionally direct users to landing pages via elements of marketing campaigns such as paid search ads, display advertisements or promotional emails. Print ads can also direct readers to visit a specific landing page online.

No matter how people arrive at a landing page, one thing is for sure: That first impression is your big opportunity.

Microsoft was the first organization to formally recognize the opportunity inherent in that first impression, creating landing pages to support lagging sales for its Office suite of products in 2003. Now, carefully crafted landing pages are a standard component of many websites.

Landing pages are strategically created to appeal to the needs and wants of users at a specific point in their search for a solution. There are two main types of landing pages: click through and lead capture (also known as lead generation or “lead gen”). Learn a little more about each below to see which may be more applicable for your business.

Click Through Landing Pages

Click through landing pages (also referred to as “jump pages”) are the most common type of landing page. Their ultimate goal is to bring in relevant traffic by targeting certain relevant keywords and then encouraging those who land on it to “click through” to the main pages. Click through pages are used to discuss a product (or service) in sufficient detail in order to move browsers towards a purchase decision to take the next step. These pages are also used to target strong keywords and phrases that relate to the business.

When traffic is immediately funneled to shopping cart or registration pages, businesses often miss out on conversions (or have poor conversion rates) because customers typically don't have enough information about their product or service to warrant making a purchase. By sending searchers to an appropriate landing page first, potential customers can continue reading about the product or service they're interested in and gain enough information to formulate an informed decision.

The other use of click through landing pages is to explain more about a select aspect of your business's products or services by targeting high-value keywords and keyphrases relating to your industry. If your entire business is like a pie, these pages may focus on just one slice – but the slice is chock-full of important, strong performing keywords.

The example page above is taken from our website and is an example of a successful click through landing page targeting searches related to “web site optimization company”, “search engine optimization company” and “search engine optimization firm.” After explaining more about the terms and our services, we give readers a “Contact Us” button to click if they want to learn more.

Lead Capture Landing Pages

Unlike click through landing pages that aim to lead you to a decision about a purchase or target strong keywords, lead capture landing pages “capture” data (typically name and/or email address) from visitors. Lead capture pages exist to collect information from searchers so that marketing representatives can contact them at a later time. Most lead capture pages contain a form for submitting user information, along with a paragraph (or so) detailing what benefits you'll receive for giving out your personal information.

Lead capture landing pages can be beneficial to your business's marketing strategy in the following ways:

  1. Collecting leads for the sales team
  2. Follow-up email campaigns
  3. Database marketing
  4. Customer research

Companies often employ several techniques for collecting the desired data from lead gen pages. For example, you can offer a free e-book to users who sign up for your newsletter or give away a free trial in exchange for their information. This information, in turn, can be used by businesses to collect leads which can be sent to sales teams, develop email campaigns, research marketing trends, database marketing, etc. The goal is to establish an interaction between company and consumer so that a customer-business relationship can begin.

The length of lead capture landing pages varies depending on the amount of data you need/want to collect from your visitors. However, you should remember that the more information you request, the higher chance that your visitors will click off the page without entering any personal information. For best results, only ask for the minimum amount of info you need (i.e. name and email address)—you can gather additional info after you've contacted them.

For instance, take the example page above. Our goal here was to convince visitors who land on our website to request a free SEO audit. To accomplish this, we designed this page to present visitors with a question, followed by a one-box form they could fill out by submitting their website URL. We aimed to make this lead capture page as simple and straightforward as possible with a clear action. Below the form, we list the main services we provide with links to separate pages for more detail information as well as customer reviews for social proof.

Landing Page Best Practices

A click through or lead capture landing page is often the first impression that visitors have of your company; therefore, it's vital that you present the right image of yourself and your company.

Here are 20 beginner's tips that we've found work for creating for a successful landing page:

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Conclusion – Why It All Matters

Landing pages can be a vital addition to your business's online marketing strategy. The differences between different types of landing pages ultimately boils down to what its purpose is – to funnel site visitors into making a desired action (click through) or capture data (lead gen). Knowing the goal of your landing page is a vital consideration to keep in mind when writing, designing and optimizing it.

You can find more information about landing pages and various other aspects of SEO in our SEO Knowledge Center and blog.

About SEO Advantage®

Led by Stone Reuning, SEO Advantage®, Inc. is an online marketing and search engine optimization firm that helps businesses turn their web presence into a powerful revenue generation medium. Our clients enjoy dominance on Google, Yahoo and Bing through a suite of unique pay-for-performance search engine optimization and online marketing services implemented by a multidisciplinary team of SEO engineers, copywriters and web designers. You'll find us referenced in books such as "Writing Web-Based Advertising Copy to Get the Sale" and the BusinessWeek bestseller "The New Rules of Marketing & PR," as well as the popular ebook "The Small Business Blogging Blueprint." Find out more today by calling us at 1-800-366-1639 or email us here.

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