Don’t be deceptive.
In the world of online marketing you hear so called SEO’s talking about how you should create landing pages in order to do x, y, or z. Yes, this has merit but, the problem is that every page should be a landing page, and by default, it should exist for a specific reason. All pages should serve your reader or target audience. If a page does not serve a purpose or return value to the reader, it is spam and it must be eliminated from your site or Google will penalize you for poor quality content.
Most traditional Landing Pages are written to lure readers to a site and serves the site owner’s needs ahead of the reader. This is deceptive and Google knows it and they subsequently dole out punishment for this behavior. These poor quality landing pages will have a high bounce rate (one of Google’s key signals). As with any page with a high bounce rate, something is wrong and must be fixed. This is part of Google’s Democracy of Search.
So what is a landing page anyway? Poorly informed SEO’s define it as a page specially designed to “blah, blah, blah”. In this model, the landing page is specifically engineered attempt to game Google and other search engines in order to direct traffic to that page rather than present useful information to your readers. Tricks don’t win customers, offering what your customer wants and doing whatever it is that you do better than your competitors is what wins customers.
The right way.
Our definition is any page that a visitor reaches through a search based on a specific search query, or a page created specifically to greet a targeted reader from a specific promotion elsewhere on the web or linked form another media channel, is a Landing Page. That’s right, not everyone enters your site through the homepage! In this model, every page on your site is important and serves a useful purpose. Building sites according to this concept takes a bit more planning and forethought but it pays off.
When working with our clients we look at their entire business: its structure, its products and services, and their customer support systems in order to best define the goal of the website, as well as how to design the architecture of the site. Once this analysis is complete, we begin mapping out what each individual page will contain, how it fits together with the other pages, what key information your reader wants to know, what action from that page is expected, and so forth.
What about specific landing pages for targeted promotions? Our philosophy fully supports these if they are well designed. Inbound marketing can be very productive if done correctly and a properly designed landing page is indeed critical to the success of the campaign.
“Focus on the user and all else will follow” – Google
Remember that Google values web sites that serve the reader. Stop writing pages that serve primarily yourself or your company but rather write content that your customers want and need. Google is very clear that this is important!
If you write useful content, every page is a landing page. Reward your customers with what they want, and then they (and Google) will reward you!