Editor’s note: This post was originally written in 2016 and, while the best practices remain as relevant as ever, the article has been updated to include even more insight into landing page SEO and how it can be used to drive more traffic to your pages. Dig in!
When marketers build landing pages they usually do so with paid traffic (PPC and social media ads) in mind. However, depending on the campaign and your goals, landing page SEO should also be an important part of your traffic generation strategy.
But when exactly is search engine optimization important for your landing pages and how do you implement it?
We’ll go over everything you need to know about landing page SEO and how it can impact your traffic. We’ll also cover 13 tactics you can use to rank your pages and start enjoying the many benefits that organic traffic has to offer.
Let’s get started.
What is landing page SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to a series of best practices you can follow to give your websites and landing pages a better chance of appearing in search results. By optimizing your landing pages for search engines you can start receiving organic traffic, rather than always relying on paid traffic.
Generally speaking, there are two types of SEO:
- On-page SEO: Actions taken on your landing page (both the content and source code) to optimize it for search engines.
- Off-page SEO: Actions taken outside of your landing page to help improve your search rankings.
For the best results, both types of SEO should be utilized.
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When should you use landing page SEO?
While SEO is a valuable traffic generation method, it doesn’t make sense for every landing page. This is because SEO is a long-term strategy.
Even if you perfectly optimize your page and follow all the best practices you might not see any results for six months, or even a year. If your landing page is promoting a time-sensitive offer SEO probably isn’t the right tactic for you.
However, if you’re building a landing page for an evergreen offer that you plan to promote for a very long time then you should definitely optimize your landing page for SEO. Here’s why organic search traffic is so valuable:
- It’s very cost-effective: While you will likely have to invest some time and money into SEO initially, it’s still far less expensive than paid traffic. And once your page is ranking you’ll enjoy a steady stream of free traffic.
- It converts well: Search traffic comes with a lot of intent. For example, if someone searches for “best digital marketing courses” they’re likely very close to making a buying decision for that product.
So, if SEO makes sense for your landing page it’s worth incorporating it into your landing page optimization strategy.
How to optimize a landing page for SEO
Okay, so you have an evergreen landing page that’s suited for an SEO-based strategy. Where do you start?
Here are 13 steps you can take to optimize your landing page for SEO.
1. Do keyword research
There are a lot of factors that Google considers when it decides what pages to display for a given search. But arguably the most important is keywords.
Using the right keywords or phrases on your landing page helps search engines determine what your page is about, which in turn informs them what searches you should be included in. So, if you want to show up in searches for “how to write an ebook” you better include that phrase in your copy.
However, before you start choosing which keywords you want to try and rank for you’ll want to do some research. Here’s what to look for in a keyword:
- It gets a good amount of traffic. Ideally 100 searches per month or more. Basically, before you target a keyword you want to make sure people are actually searching for it.
- It’s not too competitive. Consider targeting lower competition keywords, since the more sites that are trying to rank for a keyword the harder it will be to get on the first page. This isn’t to say you can’t go after more competitive terms, just keep in mind that you might have to invest more time and money to rank for them.
- It’s specific. If you sell 14” black laptops, it’s better to rank for the term “14” black laptop” than “computer.” While more specific keywords get less traffic they’re much more targeted, so the traffic you get will generate a higher conversion rate.
There are a number of tools you can use to research and analyze keywords. Semrush and Ahrefs are the most popular paid tools and will give you some pretty powerful insights. If you’re not ready to spend money on keyword research Google Keyword Planner is a free tool and will provide enough information to get you started.
Once you have your keyword, make sure to include it in your title, subheadings, and throughout your copy.
2. Edit your metadata
If you really want to get noticed by search engines there are a few other places you need to include your keywords. One of those is your metadata. This refers to the title and description that appears on search results pages.
Most website and landing page builders make it easy to edit your metadata. For example, within the Leadpages Drag & Drop Builder you can access it by clicking on “Settings” and then selecting the “SEO” tab.
Make sure to use your primary keyword in both your meta title and description.
3. Use the right URL
Another place to include your primary keyword is your URL. Depending on the settings of your website or landing page builder, your default URL might end up being a random mix of numbers and letters.
While most users won’t notice what the URL for your page is, search engines will. This is why you want to make sure it’s optimized for your primary keyword. For example, if your landing page is all about “how to grow your email list” your URL should be something like yoursite.com/how-to-grow-your-email-list.
4. Add your keywords to your image alt text
One more place you should add your keywords is in your image alt text. This is a short written description of your image that’s displayed when the photo can’t be viewed. It’s also used by search engines to further identify what a page is about.
Like your metadata, most website and landing page builders give you access to this text so you can edit it. In the Leadpages Drag & Drop Builder, simply click on an image and then click on the photo icon to open the image manager. You can edit your image title and alt text there.
5. Create content for humans, not search engines
As you’re writing your copy it might be tempting to simply focus on including the right keywords with the right frequency. In essence, writing for search engines. However, search engines have gotten a lot more sophisticated, and if your content doesn’t actually provide value or answer your visitors' questions it’s unlikely you’ll receive a lot of search traffic.
This is why one of the best things you can do for SEO is to write high-quality content that’s targeted to humans. But how do you do this?
First and foremost, you need to consider the needs of your audience. What questions do they have and what problems are they looking to solve? If your copy addresses these issues and offers a viable solution, chances are your page will be seen as valuable by both readers and search engines.
Plus, the better your content is the more engagement it will generate. Evidence continues to mount that Google uses metrics like bounce rate, dwell time, and social shares as part of their algorithm, which is even more motivation to create the most valuable and helpful content possible.
Finally, don’t try to force keywords into your copy just to hit a quota. If your keywords are relevant to the content on your landing page you’ll find yourself naturally using them without having to think too much about it.
6. Avoid publishing duplicative content
This is a tricky one when it comes to landing pages. If you have certain copy or headlines that have worked well in the past you might be tempted to use them again for future landing pages. Unfortunately, this isn’t very good for landing page SEO.
Google rewards unique and original content. They don’t want you plagiarizing other creators, so if they find your content is too similar to another page (including your own) you probably won’t be ranked for any keywords.
If you’re planning on using SEO to drive traffic to a landing page your best bet is to create completely new copy from scratch. Even so, you might unintentionally copy another page without even knowing it. That’s why it’s always a good idea to run your copy through a duplicate page finder tool like Copyscape just to be safe.
7. Optimize your content for featured snippets
Featured snippets are the content snippets that appear at the top of Google search results. They’re a relatively new feature the search engine has added to answer queries quickly and efficiently.
Google looks through the top results for a given search and finds a short snippet that more or less answers the question. They also provide a link to the full article if users want more information.
If part of your landing page is chosen for a featured snippet you’ll be one of the first results people see when they search for your keyword, so it’s worth trying to optimize your content for this feature.
Here are a few tips:
- Pose questions with your subheaders (for example “what is SEO?) and then give a brief and concise answer in the following one or two sentences.
- Google often likes to include lists in their featured snippets, so answering questions with bullet points is also a good strategy.
- Snippets are sometimes displayed in tables, so including some important information in a table may also help your content get featured.
8. Add video to your landing pages
Video is quickly becoming the most popular way to consume content on the internet. Google has picked up on this, which is why pages with videos generally see an increase in traffic anywhere from 10 - 250%.
And videos aren’t just good for SEO. As we recently discussed in another blog, adding videos to your landing pages can also increase your conversions. Because of this, it’s a good idea to incorporate videos into your landing pages whenever possible.
One way to do this is to include a video at the top of your page that summarizes your offer and includes a call to action. This can greatly improve engagement, as a two to three-minute video is usually more accessible than a long text-heavy landing page.
For some visitors, the video will be all that’s needed to convince them to take your desired action. Others might need more information, in which case they can read the accompanying copy.
9. Make your landing pages mobile-friendly
More than half of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices. Google is well aware of this, which is why they’ll penalize your landing page if it’s not optimized for mobile devices. Not only that, but if mobile users don’t have a good experience on your page they’ll leave without a second thought.
The easiest way to address this is to use a landing page builder with mobile-friendly templates. For example, all of Leadpages’ 200+ landing page templates are designed to properly display on both tablets and smartphones.
Leadpages also lets you preview how your page will look on different devices and create mobile-specific versions of your page that only display on certain devices. This gives you complete control over how your page looks on every device and ensures visitors will have a great experience no matter what they’re using to view your content.
10. Pay attention to page load times
If there’s one thing that internet users hate, it’s pages that take too long to load. Google wants its users to have the best experience possible, which is why they reward pages with faster load times with better rankings.
Page load speed is also a determining factor when it comes to bounce rate. Research by Google suggests that bounce rates increase by 32% when load times increase from one to three seconds. Since bounce rates are also a factor in Google’s algorithm this is yet another reason to make sure your landing page loads as fast as possible.
Your page load speed is largely determined by the platform you build your page on and your hosting, so do your research before choosing a provider. Leadpages’ page load speeds are 2.4 seconds faster than average, making it a great choice for anyone looking for a fast-loading page.
11. Publish your page as part of your website
If you’re running a short-term campaign that will only utilize paid traffic then there’s no need to concern yourself with where you publish your landing page. Publish it wherever is most convenient, be it a subdomain on your main site or your free Leadpages subdomain.
However, if your traffic strategy includes SEO then you’ll want to publish your landing page as part of your main site (yoursite.com/yourlandingpage). This is especially true if your website is well established and has a high domain authority, which is a score that predicts how likely your website is to rank in search engine results.
When your landing page is part of your website some of the authority that your site has built up will be transferred to your landing page, giving it a better chance of showing up in search results.
12. Build links to your landing pages
Everything we’ve talked about so far has been part of on-page SEO. But to maximize your chances of ranking for your keywords you’ll also need to focus on off-page SEO. And a big part of that is link building.
In the early days of Google, backlinks (links from other websites to your site) were the primary factor that determined whether or not your pages appeared in search results. Naturally, marketers began to exploit this and came up with a number of shady ways to build links to their sites.
As a result, Google doesn’t place as much weight on backlinks as it used to, but it’s still an important ranking factor to consider. Luckily, there are a few strategies you can use to gain backlinks that are completely within Google’s guidelines.
The first is the Skyscraper Technique. The idea here is pretty simple: create a piece of content that is far superior to anything else available on a given subject. Then, use a tool like Semrush to see which sites are linking to articles that currently rank for your primary keyword and contact them to see if they’ll link to your page instead.
Another method is guest posting. Lots of sites need content but don’t have time to create it. Look for other sites in your industry and approach them to see if they’d be open to a guest post. In return for writing an article for their site, they’ll let you link back to your landing page within your article. This is a win-win for both sides.
Finally, you can try broken link building. Is there a particular page you want a link from? Use a tool like Check My Links to see if any of the URLs the page links to are broken. If you find a link that’s broken contact the site owner and offer your page as a replacement.
13. Keep your content up to date
Google generally ranks newer content ahead of older content, since they don’t want to be providing information that’s out of date. So, don’t let your landing pages become too stale. Update them regularly with the most current info in order to maintain your rankings.
This doesn’t mean you need to rewrite the entire page. Instead, update any information that’s dated, refresh some design elements, and try out some new pictures.
When you republish your page Google will notice the new publish date when it crawls your site, which should help your search rankings.
Ready to rank your landing pages on Google?
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Easily create your website and landing pages with the only platform engineered by marketing nerds.