Everyone in digital marketing has heard about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for websites. But, did you know that you can optimize your landing pages for search as well?
The reason people optimize their website is to increase their organic search traffic (unpaid traffic), which is one of the cheapest ways to attract your target audience. The same approach can be applied to your landing pages.
When someone uses a search engine like Google to ask a specific question, you want to be there with the answer.
If your landing page answers their question, they will reward you by becoming a subscriber or customer.
In this article, we’ll share the best SEO practices for landing page optimization that are quick to implement and will make a big impact on your organic traffic and lead generation.
SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization, is a process to make your website and landing pages more visible (rank higher) in the organic results of search engines.
Landing pages that are optimized according to SEO best practices will send more traffic to people who need your services. How?
Search engines will better understand the purpose of your page and rank it higher in search results. A higher ranking leads to more traffic.
Visitors will easily find your page when they need it the most. This improves their experience, which brings more conversions.
Optimized landing pages will increase your Page Quality Rating, which brings other benefits like cheaper and more effective AdWords campaigns.
SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s important to know when it is worth implementing SEO for your landing page and when it’s not.
Optimizing your web page does not reap results overnight. The improvements you make to your site will take time for the search engines to recognize. Results often take months to realize.
If you are running a short-term campaign, don’t waste your efforts on SEO.
You have to set your expectations for the long term. Focus your time and effort on the landing pages that you plan to keep for long periods of time (over 6 months or expect it to be seasonal).
SEO doesn’t need to be complicated. Making a few tweaks can have a big impact on your results.
The 5 main steps to optimize your landing pages for SEO:
Landing page optimization
Link building (earning backlinks)
Page speed and mobile friendliness
Result analysis and adaptation
The first step of SEO is keyword analysis. A keyword analysis starts with researching your industry, competitors, potential customers, and existing customers.
The purpose of keyword analysis is to understand potential visitors and behavior, the possible volume of traffic and competition. Ask yourself the following questions when analyzing keywords:
How are potential visitors searching for your product or service?
How do you rank against your competition for targeted keywords?
How much potential does your landing page or website have for organic traffic?
Can your landing page compete with the current competition?
Step 1: Create a list of keywords based on how people search for your product or service.
If it’s a very unique product or service, you can ask people what phrases they would use to search for it.
Check Google for suggested and related searches to your main keywords.
For additional keyword ideas, you can use a free tool like Ubersuggest or KeywordShitter. Just enter your main keyword and get a big list of related keywords. You can also check out this Ahref’s article for even more free tools to analyze how your competitors rank for each keyword compared to your pages.
Step 2: If your website has several pages, group the keywords by your website categories. This makes it easier to analyze. For landing pages, you should focus on 1 offer and one group of semantically related keywords.
Step 3: Once you have your keyword list, analyze how your competitors are ranking for each keyword versus how your landing pages perform.
Does your landing page match the searcher's intent (this is extremely important)?
For example keyword “Nike running shoes”. The majority of the results are categories of Nike running shoes (with multiple selections) and reviews of the best shoes (multiple selections as well). Ranking landing page which focuses on specific pair of Nike running shoes will be nearly impossible for query “Nike running shoes” because searcher expects to see a big list of available options.
What additional information does your landing page need or what do you need to delete to increase relevance?
Prioritize your keywords based on their search volumes and competition.
A very important thing to take into consideration is long-tail keywords. Some niches can be very competitive with big players completely taking over search results, making it nearly impossible to rank for small players. In that case, you should consider shifting your web page optimization focus from keywords that have a lot of searches and are highly competitive to keywords that are highly targeted to a very specific topic, have less search volume, are a little less competitive but can have very good conversion rates.
For example instead of focusing on the topic of "landing page optimization" you may want to narrow it down to "landing page optimization for search engines". By performing keyword analysis you will understand what long-tail keywords are being searched and which of them can be incorporated in your optimization.
When you understand how visitors search for your product or service, the next step is to incorporate your keywords throughout your landing page. This is called page optimization.
The main keywords should be included in your:
Headings (H1, H2 and so on)
Image alt text
Metadata (page title, description, URL)
This is easy to do with MailerLite’s landing page builder.
You no longer need to be an HTML expert to build and optimize landing pages.
The main headline should clearly describe the content of your landing page and always include the most important keywords (try to insert the most important keywords close to the beginning of the heading). It should always be marked as <H1> in the code. It is also recommended to use subheadings to break up the text. These headings should contain keywords that directly relate to the text below it.
Body text should explain what you are offering in more detail. Instead of mindlessly adding the keyword multiple times, try using synonyms of your main keywords. Google’s algorithm shifted from word base to semantic search, in order to better match search intent. So don’t try to stuff as many keywords as possible just for the sake of it. To maintain high quality content, the text has to be natural, easy to understand, and provides value to the reader.
If your landing page is longer and more complex, add anchor links to help improve the user experience. Instead of endless scrolling, the user can jump right to the section they care about. Also, similar to sitelinks, search engines often create direct links to the anchored locations.
Search engines don't understand images, that’s why it’s important to add a text description (alt-text) to images, which makes them readable for search engines. It can be done in two ways:
A better option - think of a unique name for each image that would contain keywords from your analysis and description of the image
A faster option - name the image with the title of your landing page. If you have more than one image, use the same description with numeration, e.g. “how to optimize landing page to get more subscribers #1”, “how to optimize landing page to get more subscribers #2”.
It is also considered good practice to name your image files including your focus keywords. The image file name can be the same as image alt text.
To quickly check if an image has alt text, you can do the following in Chrome browser:
Right-click on the image > Click “Inspect” > Check if the image has “alt” attribute
SEO metadata is the text that appears on the search engine result pages (also called SERP.) The metadata includes the title of the page, URL and meta description. These 3 elements have a direct impact on whether someone clicks on your result or moves on to another.
Meta title should be descriptive and explain the key benefits of your page and what people should expect from it.
Meta title length should be 50-60 symbols
Place the most important keyword closer to the beginning of the meta title
When possible, use numbered lists (e.g. 5 tips for SEO) as they tend to increase CTR (click through rate).
It's important to note that the meta title not only impacts the likelihood of a click but it also directly affects how Google ranks your landing page.
URL (your landing page address) should include your main keyword. It’s a good practice to use similar text in both your URL and meta title.
A meta description is a more detailed explanation of your landing page. This is your opportunity to entice people to click by describing the value you provide, why you are better than your competitors, and why they should go to your page.
Meta description length should be up to 160 symbols
Test the description as Google sometimes cuts the text
Include a CTA (call to action) at the end of the meta description
Your meta description has a huge impact on helping searchers decide to click on your landing page. By clearly describing the value proposition, you will drive relevant traffic of people who really need your product or service.
MailerLite’s landing page editor allows you to easily input your metadata descriptions.
Enter landing page URL - it’s recommended to host the landing page under your domain. Your landing page will gain some of the SEO value collected on your domain.
Optional: Add a favicon (it's an icon visible on open tabs in your browser, usually your logo)
Enter page title.
Optional: Enter a few page keywords (meta keywords) that describe your landing page (has no impact for Google).
Enter page description (meta description).
Check the mark box so Google can crawl, index and rank your landing page.
Positive reviews on your landing pages can fast-track the process of building trust with new customers.
Although it’s unlikely that your customers will use the keywords you are trying to rank for, testimonials that are semantically related to your business can boost your overall landing page SEO. Semantically related keywords are words or phrases that are related to each other conceptually.
Semantic keywords for “How to make the best pancakes” include:
How to make pancake mixture
Moreover, testimonials will add to the length of your copy which will further improve the landing page authority.
Your website content has to be up to date and provide relevant information. It is one of the most important factors which keeps your visitors engaged. If your content is outdated, searchers may leave your page for the competition. Such behavior can also negatively impact your rankings.
How often should the content be updated?
There is no fixed answer to the question. It depends.
If you are covering a topic that is always changing and evolving, for example, the smartphone industry - your article about the best smartphones for 2021 should be updated very often.
The best way to check is to simply enter your focus keyword and look at the timestamps on the search results you get. Based on that you can decide how often you should come back to your page and make the content updates.
Backlinks (links to your web page from other websites) is one of the most important off-site ranking factors search engines use. Backlinks are like votes for your website - the more high quality and relevant websites link to your landing page the better results you can expect.
Rule "quality over quantity" is very true when talking about backlinks. One link from the authoritative and relevant website will have way more weight than a few links from a low-quality website (on the contrary - links from a very low-quality website may even hurt your results).
If you have a chance to earn a few easy backlinks for your landing page - use it, they may give you the boost you need. Few easy ways you can earn backlinks:
Use contacts you have (maybe you participated in an event where a link to your page would be very useful, or maybe you gave an interview to a blogger and he didn't add your contact info) - just ask for the link where appropriate.
Use brand mentions tools - Brand mention tools such as Brand24 shows you everywhere your brand is mentioned online. If you find that a website mentioned your brand but didn’t link to your landing page, you can reach out and request that they add it. You can also use Brand24 to get notifications when your competitors are mentioned and try to win the link from the same source too.
Niche websites or blogs that may find your content useful.
Share your content in engaged forums or blog posts in relevant discussions that add value.
Check where your competitors have backlinks and use the same sources they use (previously mentioned tools like SEMrush and ahrefs can help you with competitor backlink analysis).
Amplify your content using social media (even though links from social media will not give you a direct boost it will give your page additional awareness). Also, make your content easily shareable on social media for your visitors - add relevant social media icons for sharing.
There are so many different tactics depending on your content and business. For more detailed link building ideas you can use this excellent resource.
Page speed and mobile-friendliness are a couple of ranking factors that were really important throughout the years and the importance is only increasing.
The lower the load time, the better. Try to aim for load speed under 3 seconds. Every additional second may badly hurt your bounce rates and overall user experience. Some of the issues that may cause slower loading speed:
Poorly optimized images
Bad coding practices
Hosting service or issues with servers
Too many plugins (especially for WordPress users)
Every page may have different issues for poor loading speed, so before going live with your website or landing page it is recommended to test it with a few different tools and see what can be improved.
It is best to run a few tests as the results can vary depending on location, time and the tool itself.
Make sure your page is responsive to different smartphones and tablets. Check different devices and different resolutions. A visitor should have an easy time navigating through the page, reading text and CTAs, clicking on links and menu items.
If you are using MailerLite's landing pages - all of that is already taken care of.
For testing, if the website or webpage is responsive on mobile devices, use the official Google tool. Google Search Console also provides additional information regarding websites responsiveness. It can also be tested using your own smartphone and tablet.
The last step of landing page optimization for search engines is to track your results. If you don’t measure performance, you’ll never know if it is properly optimized.
The most important things to track are your organic traffic and click-through rates. You can track these metrics using free tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
To track your organic traffic and conversions using Google Analytics:
1. Navigate to Acquisition
2. In the sidebar click All Traffic
3. Select Channels
4. Choose Organic and select the date range
5. Filter the specific landing pages that you want to analyze
To track your keyword position and click-through rate using Google Search Console, go to Performance and filter your results by date range, pages, queries or other filters.
Depending on how your page is performing, you can make minor tweaks to improve organic traffic.
For example, if you see that the click-through rate on Google is dropping drastically, make some changes to the metadata, such as a copy of your meta description. Or, if you have a high bounce rate on your landing page, change the headings or body text to better describe the premise of the page.
Remember, there is no set formula for success. A lot depends on your messaging and the behavior of your potential visitors. As you track results and optimize, you will learn more about your audience and improve results over time.
Several customers have taken advantage of our landing page editor to optimize their pages. Here are a couple of examples to inspire you.
Good usage of keywords
Text formatting (listings)
Good page title and URL
Better optimization of headings (H1 is missing)
Only 1 image
Although Google is good at pulling out information from your page, the meta description should still be added.
Good use of keywords
Good use of headings
Optimized page title and URL
Image alt text is missing
Meta description could be longer with a more detailed description
For more examples, you can visit Hubspot’s blog.
Beyond SEO, there are lots of other ways to optimize your landing pages for better conversions. Here are some ideas to get you started: 11 tips for an effective landing page.
Please share your experiences with landing page optimization or ask us questions below in the comments.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in June, 2018 but has updated with fresh content and ideas