How to rank (and convert) with landing page SEO

Landing page SEO is a tricky proposition. Landing pages are potent tools to convert readers into customers, but the way most are designed is not exactly SEO friendly.

Think about it. A landing page aims to direct readers down a specific path, focusing them on your call to action without offering other distractions. But optimizing a web page for search engines requires more content, more links, more calls to action.


  1. What’s SEO?
  2. What are SEO landing pages?
  3. Why do you need SEO-optimized landing pages?
  4. SEO vs. PPC landing page
  5. Why doesn’t your landing page rank
  6. How to create an SEO-focused landing page
  7. What to do after creating a SEO landing page?
  8. Should your page be SEO or conversion-focused?

But hey: more content also means more distractions.

So, is it even possible to create a compelling (and high-converting) landing page that also ranks well in search engines?

It turns out you can—but not without carefully walking a tightrope between ranking and converting. The goal is to attract warm leads from search engines like Google to your page and convert them into customers. In this guide, you’ll learn how it’s done.

Before we embark on our journey to unlock the secrets of optimizing landing pages for SEO, let’s establish a solid foundation by addressing some fundamental questions.

What is search engine optimization (SEO)?

At its core, SEO is a multifaceted discipline that encompasses a bunch of strategies and techniques aimed at improving a website’s visibility on search engine result pages (SERPs). The overarching goal is, of course, to get higher rankings in organic (non-paid) search results, leading to more organic traffic to your website. (In other words: more traffic → more potential customers → happier you!)

What are SEO landing pages?

SEO landing pages are website pages designed to perform well in search engine results while simultaneously persuading visitors to take specific actions, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. These pages are optimized for particular keywords, delivering relevant and valuable content to users who discover them through organic searches. Unlike regular web pages, landing pages streamline the user experience by focusing on a singular call-to-action (CTA), simplifying the path for users to take the desired action.

Why do you need landing pages for SEO?

Simple answer: Because you enjoy being successful!

Longer (and more useful answer): There are a few reasons why landing pages are pretty  pivotal in the realm of SEO:

  • Precision targeting: Landing pages enable precise targeting of niche audiences by aligning content with specific keywords, enhancing the overall relevance of your website.
  • Enhanced user experience: Well-structured landing pages streamline the user journey, improving user engagement, reducing bounce rates, and improving key SEO metrics.
  • Conversion catalysts: Landing pages are purpose-built to encourage conversions, whether it’s signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or filling out a contact form. SEO-friendly landing pages will further help in capturing more leads by targeting organic traffic.

SEO landing page vs. PPC landing page

While SEO and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) landing pages both aim to convert visitors, they go about it in different ways and with different purposes:

  • SEO landing page: These pages primarily target organic traffic and are designed for long-term sustainability. They are meticulously optimized for specific keywords and provide valuable content. SEO landing pages may take time to achieve high rankings but offer enduring benefits.
  • PPC landing page: Tailored for paid advertising campaigns, such as Google Ads, PPC landing pages emphasize immediate conversions. They are often linked to ad campaigns, offering a more direct path to conversion for paid traffic.

Here’s why your landing page doesn’t rank

In an ideal world, all of your landing pages would rank well for their targeted keywords in Google and convert people like crazy. But that’s not guaranteed to happen. In fact, it rarely does.

Why not? Well, in some cases, your ideal keywords are already dominated by other sites that have entrenched SEO efforts and backlink profiles. In others, technical issues associated with landing pages keep people from reaching your content.

Ultimately, though, a landing page that’s laser-focused on conversions will have a particularly hard time ranking. For this reason, it’s best to distinguish between landing pages you want to rank well in the search engines and those you’ll design purely to convert. (Later on, we’ll cover how you can use both together to great effect.)

First, let’s explain: What’s a conversion-focused page?

Conversion-focused landing pages are all about what happens when a person gets to the page. While a high word count is essential for ranking in search engines, too much wording can actually detract from getting that final conversion or capturing that lead. Notice how little there is to distract visitors in the examples below:

conversion focused landing page example

These clickthrough and lead gen landing pages are all about converting.

How to create an SEO-focused landing page

1. In-depth keyword research

A solid SEO strategy begins with comprehensive keyword research. Identify relevant, high-traffic keywords that resonate with your target audience. These keywords should align with the intent of your landing page. 

After that, seamlessly integrate your target keywords into various elements of your landing page, such as headings, subheadings, body text, and image ALT text, while making sure it’s still readable.

2. Draft high-quality content

Above the fold, the page should include the key selling points and a call to action. There should be few other distractions here. This is established best practice for conversion-focused landing pages as well, but that’s where the similarities end.

Because we’re trying to rank in search engines, you’re also going to need plenty of content further down the page. It’s gotta be legitimately useful content (not just an extended sales pitch) and it should attract editorial links. Without this, you’re going to struggle to rank well for any popular keywords.

Using a simple vertical design and repeating the call to action as you scroll down, you’ll want to add as much value for the reader as possible.

Additionally, consider incorporating multimedia elements such as images, videos, infographics, and charts to enhance the user experience and effectively convey information.

Looking for some sweet examples of long-form landing pages for your newly inspired SEO content? Take a look at this post about converting with extra copy to see how it’s done.

3. Optimize the on-page SEO elements

Next, you’ll want to optimize your URL, page title, meta description, headings/subheadings, and image alt text for your target keywords. When it comes to your URL, a custom domain does have some advantages for landing pages, but you might instead prefer to leverage the SEO of your existing domain. Either way, ensure your URL is concise, descriptive, and relevant to the page’s content. Use hyphens to separate words, and avoid special characters or excessive parameters. Additionally, incorporating target keywords into the URL can improve search engine visibility. . (To figure out the most relevant keywords for your page, consider using an SEO tool.)

4. Mobile friendliness 

In an increasingly mobile-centric digital landscape, mobile optimization is non-negotiable. Ensure that your landing pages are responsive and offer a seamless experience across various devices and screen sizes. Mobile friendliness is now a crucial ranking factor in search engine algorithms.

5. Page speed optimization

Page load times significantly impact user satisfaction and SEO rankings. Optimize your landing pages for speed by compressing images, minimizing code, leveraging browser caching, and utilizing content delivery networks (CDNs). A swift-loading page enhances both user experience and SEO performance.

6. Internal and external links

Internal linking connects your landing page to relevant pages within your website, improving navigation and SEO by boosting the authority of internal pages when linked from a high-performing page. Incorporate strategic internal links to guide users to related content.
Additionally, include high-quality external links to authoritative sources that enhance the credibility and value of your content.

7. Backlinks strategy

A successful backlink strategy for SEO prioritizes quality over quantity. 

The more useful and interesting the content, the more likely you are to attract backlinks and boost your rankings. You should also make use of link-building strategies, just like you would for any blog post or product page. 

8. Schema markup

Implementing relevant schema markup, such as JSON-LD or microdata, provides search engines with structured data about your content. This enhances the likelihood of generating rich snippets in search results, increasing visibility and click-through rates.

9. Prioritizing user-friendly design

Design plays a pivotal role in user engagement and SEO. Create a clean, visually appealing design that guides users toward your primary call-to-action (CTA) without distractions. An intuitive layout and user-friendly interface enhance the overall user experience.

10. Continued testing 

Continuous improvement is essential for landing page SEO. Implement testing methods to experiment with different elements of your landing pages, including headlines, images, CTAs, and page layouts. Analyze the performance of these variations and iterate based on user behavior and conversion data.

What to do once your SEO landing page is published

After the page is published, add internal links across your website that point to your SEO landing page. This’ll help boost its SEO value, as well as drive people to your landing page from other pages on your website and set them on the road to becoming customers. For instance, you could add a call to action to the end of every blog post on your website, encouraging visitors to visit the page to learn more about your offer.

Promote the landing page using the same strategies that you would do for a blog post that you want to rank well in Google. Share it on social media or reach out to contacts in your industry asking for a link. (This guide includes ten things you should do to help boost initial traffic to new content.)

Tracking your page’s performance

Once the organic traffic starts to flow in, it’s important to track what happens after they land on the page. The Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report revealed that the average conversion rate for landing pages is just under 10%, so if yours is lower, consider tweaking your call to action or the design of your page to encourage more conversions.

At this point, it’s OK to start sacrificing SEO factors to help you convert traffic better. After all, what’s the point in ranking well if you fail to convert?

Be sure to track what keywords people are typing to land on your page, too. Are they what you expected? By keeping an eye on this, you’ll be able to spot areas that you can tweak as well as opportunities to rank better.

Keep it up (even after your promotion ends)

If you sometimes create landing pages for promotions that last a limited amount of time, you might be in the habit of taking them offline afterward. However, you should keep your SEO landing pages online even after the promotion has ended.

Many retailers make the same mistake of closing their landing page too early and missing out on traffic that would have converted. By deleting your page, then putting it back online, you’re essentially pouring any SEO juice you built down the drain. Don’t make things harder for yourself by starting from scratch.

An excellent way to get around this is by using a 301 redirect to make sure that the traffic you create will at least go to some use. It may even help to create a new page explaining how the promotion is over, but showing what other offerings you may have.

So, which should take precedence: an SEO-focused or a conversion-focused landing page?

Trick question, because you don’t have to choose between ranking and your conversion rates. Nothing stops you from creating an SEO-focused landing page and a conversion-focused landing page further down the funnel. Perhaps the former could push people to the latter?

Let’s say you wanted to create an SEO-focused landing page to sell personal finance software, for instance.

In this situation, have your conversion-focused page target purchase-focused keywords, such as “personal finance software,” “budgeting software,” and “accounting software.” These are the type of keywords that people pretty much already looking to buy would type. Just look at the search results:

SERPs reveal keywords closer to making a purchase.

People who search for “personal finance software” are looking to buy, and Google knows it.

With your SEO-optimized landing pages, though, you can also target more inquisitive keywords like “how to budget” or “how to save money,” and then direct these visitors down the funnel toward more conversion-focused pages. You can see the difference in the search results, which are much more oriented toward answering questions than selling something:

Example SERP showing results for How to Budget
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As your SEO-focused landing page will naturally have more content, it’ll be easier to target multiple long-tail keywords—and even local SEO keywords if your business operates only in certain areas.

Your choice of keywords will also determine how ready your SEO traffic is to convert. This can get pretty granular, too. For instance, somebody searching for “how to save money” will likely be less qualified to buy your software than somebody searching for “how to budget” because the former is a little broader than the latter.

Start building landing pages that *Really* show up

Landing page SEO is a game that never ends.

Creating a landing page that ranks well in search isn’t as complicated as it sounds. The trickiest part is finding the balance between ranking and converting. Ideally, you want to make sure you are optimizing a page well enough to compete for those top Google rankings, but not bogging it down with keywords and links to the point that it’s difficult to read. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have an incredibly useful page that does a fantastic job of turning search traffic into customers.

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