A landing page is a critical element of a website.
What is a Landing Page?
A landing page is an entry page on your website. It usually covers a specific topic and gives visitors an overview, features, benefits and a desired conversion action they can take. Because it acts as a complete page from entry point to conversion on a given topic, it is the ideal target page for ad traffic and organic search traffic.
In simple terms, a landing page is designed to turn a visitor into a customer for a given service.
Why is Google Interested in Landing Pages?
On their ads platform, Google has something called landing page experience. This is a metric which measure how good the experience of a landing page is for a given keyword.
The better the landing page experience, the better the quality score, which means cheaper costs per click and a more effective ad campaign.
Google wants to make sure that the people who click on a Google Ad get a good experience on the website landing page. This is their way of protecting their reputation and ensuring that people continue to use their ads as a reliable way to find the products and services they need.
Four Simple Points of a Good Landing Page for a Given Topic
As an ads management provider, Google recently sent us an email outlining four simple things that makes a good landing page.
While simple, it gave us some good insight into the mysterious landing page experience metric seen in Google ads and also some hints for what their organic algorithm is looking for.
A landing page should be relevant. According to Google, we should send traffic to the home page of a website for general search terms, while if we have an ad about a specific service, that traffic should be sent to a page focused on that service.
For example, a general search term could be “Plumbers Near Me”. This type of search, according to Google would be good to send to the homepage. We agree, provided the homepage has strong landing page elements in place. This is precisely why we endeavour to include landing page elements on the homepage in our Perth Web Design service.
An example of a specific search term could be “Burst Pipe Repair”. According to Google, it would be good to send someone to a page on the website which is focused on burst pipes.
Again, we agree provided the service page has landing page elements in place. And again, this is why we aim to include landing page elements in the service pages of the websites we build.
The second directive given to us by Google is to establish trust on our landing pages. In one of their resources on this topic, they highlight a range of techniques to establish trust including:
- Being upfront about pricing and fees (This makes me wonder if adding pricing to pages helps in organic rankings. In our testing this seems to be the case.)
- Include prominent contact information
- Ensure copy is grammatically correct
- Display reviews and testimonials from customers
- Provide a safety net (I found this interesting. Google is saying to have a back up plan if your customer is not ready to convert such as a free download)
- Don’t use pop ups (They’re annoying and will affect your rankings)
- Back up your claims. (Again, very interesting. If you say you’re the best, link to your awards for proof. If you say you’re qualified, link to qualifications.)
- Provide a link to your terms and conditions or privacy statement.
- Use a clean and concise design.
This list makes sense not only for a human user to convert through ads traffic, but also to help with organic rankings. I think it would be very easy for an indiscriminate algorithm to verify that these items exist on a page, especially given the recent ranking trends we have seen.
Make It Easy
I love this one. What Google is saying here is get to the point. Make it easy with bullet points, lists, clear calls to action and big buttons. Don’t hide content further down your page. Put your important information near the top of the page where visitors can instantly see it.
By nature I love summaries and keeping things succinct. I don’t have a great attention span. Especially when someone seems to be talking around a topic rather than directly to it.
I think this is how many people are online.
Most people want to find what they are looking for fast. So give them the best stuff quickly, clearly and succinctly. Don’t make them wade through waffle or you will ultimately loose them.
Finally, Google says to be reliable. They explain that the website should provide a reliable experience across all platforms. In other words, the page should look good on a mobile, tablet or desktop computer.
Given the majority of your traffic will probably be on a mobile device, this is an important point. So important that Google is really starting to crack down on websites that don’t provide a good mobile experience.
I’m not just talking about tiny buttons that you cant click, and images you cant see properly. Most importantly, the mobile version of your website needs to load fast. It doesn’t need 1920px wide images on there.
Small images should load for small screens. It means the page renders faster which is a big part of Google’s push for page experience. Really for mobile, the design should be kept simple. A good font size, appropriately sized images and large buttons all help make for a good reliable experience.
Building an effective landing page that actually converts and that Google loves isn’t rocket science. Yet so often there are bad examples out there of landing pages.
People spend good money buying traffic or optimising their site, so it only makes sense that experience we are driving these people to is a good one that is going to get maximum results for your investment.