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[How To] Create Landing Pages that Convert & Rank Well in Search

Create Landing Pages that Convert And Rank Well in Search Engines
Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? (Image source)

You want a landing page with through-the-roof conversion rates. You also want that landing page to possess top-ranked search results. Can you have both?

The answer is yes. This post will show you how to develop a landing page that gets conversions, while ranking well at the same time. The result of a finely tuned landing page and improved search rankings is straight up awesome — more conversions than you ever thought was possible.

How to Get Shockingly High Conversions

You’ve probably heard some of the “secrets” for a successful landing page. After reading a few of them, the articles all start to sound the same: minimal text, attention-grabbing images, strong call-to-action, etc.

It’s average advice. You simply can’t ignore the hard-wired tendency of people to look at pictures, to click on relevant links, and to experience the mind-numbing and eye-glazing response to vast amounts of boring text.

Here’s the kicker, though. You can heed all this good advice, but still have a failing landing page when it comes to what really matters — conversions.

Why?

In order for people to convert on your page, they first have to arrive at your page. There will only be conversions where there are visitors. The true secret to killer landing pages isn’t just design elements and nifty CTAs. You have to have traffic. And the best way to get more traffic is with high search engine rankings.

Great-converting landing pages and SEO are in an “it’s-complicated” relationship. A Lot of high-quality content win in the search engines. But lots of text is a no-no for landing pages, where the goal is to get people to fill out the form or click on the button. Text allegedly impedes progress toward the goal of conversion. But how are people going to find the site without all that great content?

You get the idea. It’s complicated.

This article isn’t about putting pretty pictures on a landing page or crafting the right verbiage to use in your call-to-action. This article is about something far more valuable: search optimization + conversion optimization. You must have both.

When these two get together — SEO + CRO — you have the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Here’s how to untangle the confusion — three ways to increase conversions and search rankings.

1. Use Collapsing Divs

There is a way to add more great content to a web page, yet still create a clean path to your conversion element. Adding content gives you an SEO edge, yet you’re still capable of driving conversions without too much text real estate blocking the way. The secret sauce is collapsing divs.

Divs are simple bits of HTML that group various elements on a web page. Using a snippet of Java in the body, allows you to collapse the text, giving site visitors the option to open or close it. When you define the id value for the div and create the CSS code with the JavaScript, the process is complete.

Here’s what the body code looks like:


<div id="MyDiv" class="divVisible">
<p> Div text</p>
</div>
<input id="Button1" type="button" value="Collapse/Expand" onclick="return CollapseExpand()" />


<style type="text/css">
.divVisible {display:block;}
.divHidden {display:none;}
</style>
<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript">
var divID = "MyDiv";
function CollapseExpand() {
var divObject = document.getElementById(divID);
var currentCssClass = divObject.className;
if (divObject.className == "divVisible")
divObject.className = "divHidden";
else
divObject.className = "divVisible";
}
</script>

Here’s what a page with collapsing divs might look like.

Pages need content to rank well. It’s that simple. We can’t let our fear of “too much” content drive us away. If we minimize content, we lose out on SEO. Go ahead and put your content on the landing page, but keep it collapsible. You’ll preserve your conversions and enhance your SEO.

But that leads to the next question: What content should I put in my collapsing divs?

Here are some ideas:

  • FAQs
  • Testimonials
  • Informational content about the topic
  • Specific information or excerpts from the lead-gen asset you’re promoting
  • Infographics

2. Make People Want To Link to Your Page

Top-ranked sites are those that are eminently linkable. If you get tons of links to your site, rankings will launch sky high. It’s not essential to launch an entire link building campaign although that might not be a bad idea. The key instead is to turn your landing page into a valuable resource — a “linkable asset.”

To borrow Jason Acidre’s definition in his SEOMoz post, “A linkable asset is any part of a website or organization that its target audience will genuinely perceive as worth citing/referencing.”

Your landing page needs to be a linkable asset. Here’s how to do it:

  1. First, understand your target audience. Discover exactly who your target audience is, and what they want. This is the core of any successful marketing strategy, but is especially important in the e-commerce environment where conversions, a give/take proposition, are king of the hill.
  2. Second, give your target audience precisely what they need or want. This could be a free download or some valuable and insightful information. If it’s information, don’t merely parrot information that is widely available on the web. If it’s a free download, don’t make them work hard for it. Just coax them through a soft conversion. Most importantly, deliver something that is actually valuable end essential for your audience.

This two-step process is generic enough that any website will be able to implement it in order to transform the landing page into a linkable asset.

Part of the process of giving your target audience what they need is knowing the exact result you want from a conversion. A conversion is a give-and-take relationship between you and your potential customer:

  • Give: You give the user something of value — an e-book, a product, valuable information, etc.
  • Take: You take something from them in return — an email address, information on a form, money, etc.

To figure out what you’re going to give them, work backwards. First, find out how you want them to convert. Is it a form, a sign-up, a trial membership? Once you get this settled, you’re able to understand what value you can give. If you’ve chosen your value successfully, then your page will become a linkable asset.

People will only link to a site if it’s perceived as valuable. Your landing page needs value. Once you’ve got that in place, you can expect the links to start rolling in.

3. Integrate Social Media

Integrate Social Media & Your Landing Page

Closely related to the point above is the social value of your site. Just as your site is to be a linkable asset, it should also be shareable.

There are plenty of advantages to social media integration. Here are the two most obvious.

  1. Social signals improve your search engine rankings. Out of the hundreds of factors that affect a site’s rank, social signals are near the top, and becoming more important as time goes on. The web is an increasingly social place, and not just in the proverbial Web 2.0 sense. Google+, for example, is a massive search factor, determining what personalized search results will display. Other studies have confirmed that the more a page is tweeted, the higher it will rank. Simply put, the better a site’s sociability, the greater its ranking across the board.
  2. Social shares spread your presence among targeted audience. Each person who shares your site has their own unique network of friends and connections. Based on the laws of networking science, these individuals possess similarities in terms of age, socioeconomic status, education, and other key demographic factors. In other words, they possess a great likelihood of being within your target audience. The more shares you get, the greater you expand organically within your target audience.

Social shares are a sure win for both search engine rankings and higher conversions. In order to leverage the power of social, several critical factors must be in place:

  • Be present on all major social networks. Make sure you have active accounts on the top social networks. Here is a sample checklist of the major social sites where you should have accounts: Google+, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube & Vimeo
  • Understand what social networks your target audience prefers, and use them actively. Not all social networks carry equal weight for all audiences. The big ones are a given — Google+, Twitter, and Facebook. Pretty much everyone is there. However, if you are a law firm, you may want to maximize your presence on LinkedIn. If you are a scrapbooking site, it may help you to be most active on Pinterest. If you offer photography services, you’ll probably want to be on Tumblr. If you are a local business looking for local traffic and local optimization, don’t forget about the social potential of physical check-ins such as FourSquare.
  • Finally — and perhaps most importantly — prominently feature social share buttons on your landing page. Sharing usually doesn’t happen spontaneously. It happens only when you help it along. There are a couple features to remember here:
    • Limit the number of share buttons. There are dozens of social sites for which you could offer sharing buttons. Don’t use all of them. Choose the ones where your target audience is most active. We recommend five or fewer.
    • Place them strategically. The placement of social share buttons is an important factor in whether or not they get clicked. Some sites have success with persistent sidebars for social shares. Others prefer to put share links at the bottom, so the user can gain the value of the content and then be nudged to share.
    • Don’t make the share your call-to-action. For most landing pages, you should have a call-to-action that is distinct from sharing. Don’t waste valuable real estate urging people to share with their friends. Let the buttons or share counters speak for themselves. If people want to share, they will do so without a lot of urging. Instead, concentrate your space, design, copy, and other major visual elements on the true conversion of the page, not social shares.

As you craft the perfect landing page, don’t neglect the key features of successful landing pages. There are just three things to remember:

  • Put text in collapsing divs.
  • Make your site a linkable asset.
  • Provide sharing potential.

Pursue the biggest SEO splash you can make, while employing the best practices of CRO. By bringing these two elements together, you’ll gain more conversions than you ever dreamed of.

— Jayson-DeMers


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About Jayson DeMers
Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based SEO agency, as well as Crackerize.com, a lyrics-humor website. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or by email
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