3 Steps to a Customizable Landing Page Plan
3 Steps to a Customizable Landing Page Plan
Landing page optimization has finally taken hold among most companies: for the most part, we know that if we create custom landing pages for PPC campaigns, conversions will go up. And, we know that if we test and tweak those landing pages, we can improve conversions even more. But how do you create custom landing pages when you buy thousands or tens of thousands of keywords?
Obviously, you can’t create a custom page for every keyword, or even every keyword bucket. But by crafting a comprehensive keyword strategy, you can consolidate your landing pages into a sensible (and manageable group) without much trouble.
Step #1. Look at keyword groups by intention
The inclination with keywords is to bucket them by category. An electronics retailer might group car stereos in one bucket, home theater systems in another, etc. But for creating a landing page optimization plan, look at how keywords signal intention.
For example, “Olympus D320” as a search is pretty high intention, and should land on a very targeted page with not just price and product, but any trust statements or information about shipping and bundling. But what about “Olympus D320 review”?
Depending on your business, visitors might be browsers or buyers, job seekers or employers, searching for a car loan or searching for an auto loan. Define intentions into two or three reasonable groups.
Then, look at those intentions and divide keywords into buckets accordingly. At first, it might be as simple as brand words (for browsers) versus category words (for higher-intentioned shoppers). As time goes on you will want to begin segmenting out people looking for speed from those who quest for massive quantities of information prior to purchase.
Step #2. Break out your categories of landing pages and create templates
Once you’ve bucketed your keywords by intention, consider the broad type of landing page that works best for each intention group and create a template for each landing page category.
º Homepage-like landing page
For many terms, your best bet is to frame the landing page with the standard home page components. This doesn’t mean that you don’t target the product or offer, or limit options in order to be relevant, but you would want to be heavy on branding, trust statements and imagery that reflect a visitor’s desire to talk to you as a company.
In the case of homepage landing pages, your goal is to get people to self-identify as quickly as possible. On comparison shopping sites, for example, you might try to discover if the visitor is interested in news, reviews, or price comparisons.
Visitors arriving from the keywords you designated as “brand” words or relatively broad categories like “loans” could be sent to this type of landing page.
In this example, selecting TurboTax from a search page for “tax software” will link you to the following page: (To see the full-size image, click on the image.)
You can see the obvious home page “look” coupled with some more targeted content for getting started. This was not inadvertent.
º Offer-based landing pages
These pages are very offer-specific with a goal of convincing visitors to act on the interest they’ve already expressed by clicking on the original ad. These pages have more limited navigation or off-linking.
For a retailer, there is the classic product page, with a product shot, pricing, features, and other elements.
For lead generation and direct marketing, this type of page will usually hit the major selling points and get you started on the order form or application.
For publishers, this could be an article that had advertising or other links to content.
In all of these cases, the key is to reinforce the source of traffic and experiment with the balance between focus on the offer and availability of off-links and branding elements.
In this example, the “site” types of elements are almost entirely absent, with only the logo and simple text. This is an E-LOAN landing page for “loan” search results.
Category landing pages
When somebody has clearly shown an interest, but the interest is in a relatively unstructured area, such as “loans” or “jeans” or “concerts,” your goal is to funnel them more deeply into your content or offering.
You might do this by grouping information in a way that allows them to make choices based on their own preferences for searching -- for example, by price, theme, editor’s recommendations, most popular, etc.
Visitors from the terms you designated as category words would be sent to this type of page.
In this case, I am going to show a category page for WEGA TV as a search term. I question whether this is an effective landing page for a category term, as it has very little reference to a highly branded category. That said, I would suggest testing to find the truth!
The category landing page is the most difficult landing page to execute well. But it is relatively easy to determine the type of tests to run. First, figure out how you want to merchandise the depth of the category – through subcategories? Best picks? Customer favorites or reviews? Second, determine the best balance between site elements (navigation bars and branding elements) and the actual category. Finally, determine how to use copy and other buying aids to help define the category and keep the sale moving.
Here’s the key:
In each template, leave “content slots,” or real estate in which you can switch content in and out, depending on the purpose of the landing page. Now you have a template that can be targeted for an endless number of keyword groups, simply by changing the content in one or two content slots.
Step #3. Test templates for general effectiveness
You can begin to test the templates with various buckets of keywords, altering the content in the content slots depending on the keywords.
Finally, once the templates have become relatively successful, you can begin testing the variables within the landing page to further improve conversions. (We’ll discuss just what variables to test, and how, in the next issue.)
This doesn’t have to be a gigantic task or mean an overhaul of every existing landing page. Consider choosing a single group of your landing pages, deciding which of these categories it fits into, and diving into it until it’s right. Then, move on to the others.