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Landing Page Optimization: A Fast and Simple Approach

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Landing page optimization is a strategy of getting visitors to do something valuable when they first arrive at a single page on a website.

It’s hard enough just to get visitors in an online environment that is becoming more competitive all the time.

It’s also hard to keep them on the site when they come to that landing page from search engines or other means. So it benefits online publishers to identify the most important and popular landing pages on their sites and optimize them for the best user experience.

Visitors are fickle. They may bail out because:

  • The page doesn’t have what they want
  • The quality of the writing is poor
  • The page is too slow
  • It has too many ads, etc.

Then again, the site manager, editor or other personnel responsible for the site, the section or the landing page may have a great deal of other work to do.

So let’s keep it simple. Identify one clear goal and implement four tactics for improvement.

Start with a Clearly Defined Goal

Landing page optimization should provide some meaningful value to the site when a visitor completes any number of possibilities:

  • Clicks on an ad
  • Buys something
  • Fills out a form
  • Makes a transaction
  • Follows, Likes, etc., with social media
  • Clicks on a link to a second page
  • Values the experience enough to come back again

Having too many goals or trying to make two or more goals equally important usually doesn’t work.

Pick one and go from there. When that one succeeds, move on to the next one.

4 Ways to Improve Landing Page Optimization

Make the page load as fast as possible. This may seem like an odd recommendation for landing page optimization, but slow loading is one of the top criticisms of websites.

Landing Page OptimizationIf the visitor bails out before the page has loaded, all other steps are useless.

Make the click, purchase, registration or other next step as visible as possible. It should appear above the fold of the browser.

It also should be the primary focal point of the page. Graphics, photos, colors and large text all are ways of adding emphasis.

Keep the top half of the page as simple as possible. Clutter is another top criticism of Web sites.

If the page has numerous distractions, such as too many links, photos or graphics, the odds of a conversion start to drop.

Communicate the benefits of taking the next step. If it’s a link, make the anchor text relevant.

Use a call to action with verbs — see, read, click, discover, find, win, etc. Make a great sales pitch.

Analyze the Numbers

The use of Web analytics will make it easier to judge the performance of the landing page. Go to the analytics report for the site and look at the critical numbers:

  • Traffic source: The value of search engines is obvious, but also consider how many people came to the page as Direct Traffic. It suggests how many people have saved the page as a bookmark.
  • Query: What keyword(s) was used to reach the page? Are the numbers increasing?
  • Bounce rate: The number of people from outside the site who came straight to this page and left the site again.
  • Exit rate: The number of people on the site who came to this page and left the site.
  • Average time on page
  • Next page clicked

Sometimes the changes work and sometimes they don’t.

Some pages improve tremendously with a few tweaks and others don’t budget after exhaustive efforts.

Look at the page with a fresh set of eyes and try different ideas until one moves the needle.

Also, don’t judge the results from using one or two days of data. Let the changes ride for at least a week or longer before deciding what’s working and what’s not.

A Note About Keywords

Reviewing the keywords that bring visitors to a landing page is an important part of making the landing page strategy work.

In the case of Google Analytics, it is not always possible to identify keywords.

Certain keyword reports will show line items that frustrate site managers — (Not Set) and (Not Provided).

“Not set” keywords come from direct traffic. Direct can’t have any keywords if someone is using a bookmark to return to the page or if they know the domain name and are typing it directly into the browser’s address window.

For “not provided,” Google has the following explanation:

“The keywords that visitors searched are usually captured in the case of search engine referrals. This is true for both organic and paid search. If the a visitor is signed in to a Google account, however, Keyword will have the value ‘(not provided)’.”

Adding to the difficulty of analyzing landing page traffic is the development of more advanced privacy software and “Do Not Track” standards.

So it is becoming more important to focus on other ways of analyzing landing page optimization such as bounce rate, exit rate and other methods mentioned earlier in this article.

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