When it comes to your digital marketing strategy, landing pages are meant to drive conversion events. Having a webpage that doesn’t perform well in the SERPs and can’t be found is a waste of a page. You won’t get conversions through your landing page if nobody can find it. Similarly, if that page isn’t optimized to target the right audience, it’s likewise going to waste.
Marketers know effective landing page optimization consistently attracts more organic traffic and the right potential customers — those interested in your product or service and, thus, most likely to convert. In this guide, we explore some of the best practices to create SEO-friendly landing pages that rank.
What Is an SEO Landing Page?
A landing page focuses on targeted keywords you hope to rank for and always includes a call-to-action (CTA). It is typically part of a larger inbound marketing campaign, where the goal is to increase your share of total search traffic within your industry. The landing page’s defining characteristic is the form, which is designed to capture visitor information. Effective landing pages are clear and direct in hopes of providing an overall positive user experience. They don’t distract with gimmicks but funnel the user in a streamlined fashion toward a conversion event.
A great place to start when it comes to optimizing landing pages on your site is to look at your homepage. For instance, Peloton provides an excellent blueprint for providing a clean, simple design that includes multiple CTAs. There are even testimonials on the page, a key ingredient for driving conversions of any product page.
If you want your website to perform well in SERPs, you should focus on optimizing new content and existing content for organic search. This is especially true for landing pages, where conversion and click-through rates largely rely on quality content. A content audit can determine if your existing landing pages are appropriately optimized. You can apply the below tips to new content just published or underperforming content.
Best Practices for Creating a Landing Page With SEO in Mind
Here are the basic best practices to follow when creating SEO landing pages:
Let your keyword strategy guide the content
Help search engines understand your content’s structure
Pay attention to the URL used
Monitor page speeds
Let Your Keyword Strategy Guide the Content
A solid keyword strategy forms the basis of a successful landing page. Select long-tail keywords strategically, focusing on search intent. Use keywords in the content naturally and logically, and remember to write for human readers, not bots. Search engine algorithms recognize keywords stuffing, and this won’t help you climb the SERPs.
Use secondary keywords to contextualize further what your landing page is about. You should also consider semantic keywords, phrases you don’t want to rank for specifically but support the primary keyword, clarifying the search intent you are trying to meet. Semantic keywords will help your page rank better and in a more targeted manner overall.
Here’s an example of how this might look:
Primary keyword = “SEO landing page”
Secondary keyword = “landing pages,” “best SEO landing pages,” “SEO tips for landing pages”
Semantic keywords = “search engine,” “page ranking,” “blog posts”
If you aren’t sure what keywords to use, SEMrush’s keyword research tools can help. You can look up organic keywords, discover what keywords your competitors are ranking for, and even identify related keywords to ensure your content is as comprehensive as possible.
Help Search Engines Understand Your Content’s Structure
It takes more than keywords to optimize an SEO landing page. Your content needs to be structured so that search engine bots can read, analyze, and recognize. This way, the search engine knows what your landing page is about and can index it correctly.
Here are some points to address in terms of structuring your landing page:
Title tag: The page’s title should be short and include a high-quality keyword. Ideally, place the keyword to the left of the page title and put less important words last.
Alt tag: You can add alt tags to images in HTML. These describe the content in a way that search engine bots can read. If the image doesn’t load properly due to a technical glitch, the alt tag will appear instead. A high-quality alt tag will offer a brief description of the image and its context. Here’s an example for a photo of a girl driving a car: <img src=“girl-driving-car.png” alt=“Girl driving a car on an empty highway in the day.”/>
Meta description: Meta description is a direct ranking factor. A clear meta description can also convince a user to click on a search engine result (or not). Write a succinct and to-the-point meta telling users what they will find on the landing page.
Headings: Include an H1 heading tag that matches your page title. Break up other content on the page using H2 and H3 headers. Include secondary keywords in secondary headers, as appropriate.
Internal links: Add relevant internal links using appropriately targeted anchor text. If possible, use the linked page’s primary keyword as the anchor text. Internal linking further helps search engines comprehend the context and the content of a page.
Images and videos: Add images and videos, which show search engines that the content is valuable. Label these files appropriately, with the primary keyword in the file name, title, and alt tag.
Pay Attention to the URL Used
In SEO, every detail counts — even your landing page URL. This helps communicate information about the content that people can find on the page. The URL further reflects the site structure, revealing how a particular piece of content fits into your overall website. Try to keep your URL short, no more than 65 characters; ideally, it will be somewhere between 50-60 characters. You can use slashes to separate concepts, similar to how you’d use a vertical pipe in a title. Place important keywords further to the left.
The URL informs not only search engines but also viewers. Take a URL like this, for example: /landing-page/meta-description-for-landing-pages. A person can identify the general category (landing page SEO) and figure out the subcategory that this specific page addresses (meta description). Similarly, a search engine bot can tell that this page is likely the "cluster" of a larger "pillar" page.
Monitor Page Speeds
Page speed is an important factor in search engine rankings. Fast loading ensures a user-friendly experience. For example, Google aims to have pages load in under a half-second. You don’t need to achieve these speeds to succeed, however. If your site loads in 2.9 seconds, it’s already faster than about 50% of the web. Get loading times down to 1.7 seconds, and you’re faster than 75% of the web.
Slow page speed can also increase bounce rates, as users get frustrated by slow loading and click away from your site. This hurts rankings. You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to find out how you stack up. You can take many steps to improve page speed, such as using smaller images, reducing the number of requests your page makes, and removing redirects.
Backlinks consist of links from other platforms to your website. High-quality backlinks from respected, authoritative, high-ranking websites will boost your landing page SEO. Link exchanges are one way to get backlinks. If you mention a statistic or fact, cite the source. You then increase the odds of them referring to your page.
Creating quality shareable content will increase the chances that others will then link to you. Examples of shareable content include infographics and noteworthy statistics. Videos are also an excellent way to share useful information in a concise and engaging manner. You can generate organic backlinks by publishing content on social media platforms like LinkedIn or content-sharing platforms like Medium.
If you’re wondering which sites to focus your backlinks efforts on, use our Backlink Gap Tool. You can compare the backlinks for your site with up to four competing domains to uncover opportunities to pursue with your link building efforts.
Optimize Your Landing Pages Today
A landing page is useless if your target audience doesn’t see it. On-page SEO helps get the right eyes on your landing page, increasing lead generation, and conversion. The above tips provide a basic starter guide to effective SEO for landing pages. SEMrush’s Site Audit Tool can help you identify those pages needing optimization, allowing you to take existing landing pages to the next level.