Episode 3: Landing Page Optimization
(Part 2 below)
Landing page optimization is a very important part of this beginner’s guide. Google, and other search engines, have to display the best results for their users. If properly optimized your landing page will send signals to Google, letting them know what your page is about and what keywords you’re targeting.
To get started I want to mention something that really bugs me. For years I’ve heard “SEO professionals” use the terms web page and website interchangeably. They are not the same thing! Your website is your entire site and all of it’s pages. Web pages are the different pages with different URL’s that make up your site. Think of your website like a giant brochure or catalog; the pages (or web pages) of your website are the different pages in your brochure or catalog. This is super important and easy to remember. You must be able to distinguish your web pages from your website.
Now, let’s take it a step further. Any web page on your website can also be referred to as a landing page. A landing page can be your home page, a service page, a blog article or any other page you’re trying to get ranked high in search engines; hence the term “landing”.
Think about that for a second. A landing page is any web page in your website that you’re trying to get ranked high in search engines. So, in actuality you’re not trying to get your website ranked higher. You’re trying to get different landing pages on your site ranked higher. In other words, Google and other major search engines don’t rank “websites” in their search results, they rank the most relevant and popular landing pages in their search results.
You must remember this in order to keep moving forward with “SEO for Beginners”, because as an SEO pro, you’re going to try and get different landing pages ranked higher in search engines for the different keywords you’re targeting.
So, that means that your landing pages are going to target different keywords. And remember, your home page is technically a landing page.
For example: If you’re website sells men’s and women’s t-shirts; then you need a landing page for men’s t-shirts and a landing page for women’s t-shirts. And maybe your home page will just target “t-shirts”.
This brings me to my next point. You should target one, two or three similar keywords on each landing page. In my opinion, any more than that tends to confuse search engines about the topic of your landing page. However, don’t worry about synonyms like “attorney” versus “lawyer”. Google is getting much better at understanding user intent. So targeting either “attorney” or “lawyer” would do just fine.
Landing Page Optimization
This brings us to our last point, and that is how to actually optimize your landing pages for your target keywords. This is often referred to as “on page” optimization. It includes, but is definitely not limited to, optimizing the following areas of your landing page for your targeted keyword(s):
- Try to include your target keyword in your URL.
- Use hyphens to separate words. Never use underscores.
- Make sure the entire URL can be easily read by a human (no crazy character strings).
- Every image you should have an alt tag. (Use variations of your target keyword.)
- Optimize your image file names with variations of your target keyword.
- Don’t use underscores in your files names, only use hyphens to separate words.
- Naturally use your target keyword 2-3 times at most.
- Use your target keyword one time in the first 100 words of the page.
- Bold, italicize, or underline the sentence containing your target keyword at least once.
- Use bullets to break up content.
- Landing pages with 2,000 words or more have consistently done better in search engine rankings.
- W3C validate your page.
- Never use flash.
- Include a sitemap.xml.
- Remove any inline CSS.
If you’re starting an SEO business, then you may want to check out MySiteAuditor, where you can audit your prospective client’s landing pages.
To make things even easier, I have also included a landing page optimization checklist for you to download, as well as a landing page audit tool for you to test. If you still need help optimizing your landing pages, I would suggest you sign up at OptimizeMySite.com, where you can optimize your entire website, one landing page at a time.
That’s it for landing page optimization. And just remember, search engines rank web pages in their search results. So, don’t think of SEO as getting a website to rank higher.