One thing the team at Art Unlimited has noticed is the varying levels of success different website landing pages have. Driving organic traffic to your site through landing pages can be a challenge. There are many factors which go into building a landing page, but the most important factors include: having the correct keywords in place, high-quality visual elements, clear call-to-actions, and of course valuable content.
Before You Begin
There are 4 key questions to answer fully before any work can be started. Starting the creation process with these answers gives you a huge advantage in fleshing out the content of the page.
- What is the Goal? You need to know the purpose of the page before you start.
- Who is the Target Audience? This dictates how the content will be written.
- How Will They Find Your Page? You need the ‘umbrella keyword’, which would be the term people use to find your page.
- Who Are The Competitors? Know who else is writing about what you are. Plan how you can work to be better than them.
Starting the Page Design
After the initial questions have been answered, the next step is content generation. This is where the fun begins. When we look at the content generation, and the creation of the page as a whole there are 4 main factors to keep in mind. Those factors are: Quality Visual Elements, Clear CTAs, Proper Headings, and Valuable Content.
1. Quality Visual Elements
The visual element of any online content is immensely important. Humans respond well to visuals rather than all text. There are scientific studies which look at human responses to images. Essentially what they found is we are attracted to color and can immediately recognize faces or locations. They can read emotions. Our brains are wired for visual processing, which is why choosing the right image or video for your service page is a big deal.
Google’s AI is constantly learning and adapting. Earlier this year, Google revealed some of the new capabilities of their ai, specifically when it comes to images. What you’re seeing here is an example of what is being done now. Essentially, Google’s AI can instantaneously identify, label, and categorize all of the elements in a single image. It can also instantly compare this image to every other image in the Google index. This allows them to provide visitors with better image results for searches.
What does this mean for business owners? Google can instantly tell if an image is a stock photo. Or if an image appears on another website. One thing Google prides itself on is being able to provide visitors with the best content for whatever their search is. In the past, Google and other search engines have deranked sites if they find duplicate or spammy content. Now they could potentially start doing the same with duplicate images. As long as Google’s guidelines are being followed, business owners should have nothing to worry about.
Avoid stock images whenever possible, as well as images from other companies’ websites. Also avoid blurry or low-quality images. It’s important for user experience to have any and all visual elements clear and easy to understand. Take this example. While we have a fairly good understanding of what this next image is, it’s almost impossible to be 100% positive.
2. Clear Calls to Action
For some, Call to Actions (CTAs) may not seem like an important topic to discuss, but the amount of web pages scattered around the internet with zero call to actions is too high to count. Not many realize how much of an impact each ‘contact us’ button has.
People on the internet need to be told what to do. It’s more than having a free estimate button in your header, or a pop-up chatbot on every page. While those both help, and are incredibly valuable to have on your site, including a CTA button in a couple key points of your page is just as valuable – if not more.
CTAs motivate your sales funnel. They help serve as the transition between the phases of the buyer’s journey. They are clear instructions to prompt a visitor to take immediate action. Without these CTAs in place, visitors are left unsure what their next step should be and in most cases will bounce off your site and go elsewhere.
Keep CTAs consistent throughout the page. It can be pretty confusing to visitors if they are seeing multiple options. Especially if they all link to the same form or page. For instance, you don’t want a ‘contact us’ button near the top of a page and then a ‘get a free estimate’ button on the bottom. Find the CTA which works best for your business, and stick with it.
3. Proper Headings
Headings play a critical role in the layout of your webpage. They break up and format a web page’s content. In case someone is unaware, there are different types of headings. They range from H1s to H6s, getting smaller with each number. Crawlbots, the tools search engines use to read a website, rely on headings to understand what a page is about.
More and more Google is looking to headings to improve search results. We are actually starting to see rich snippets and other results on a SERP where it’s pulling content from lower on the page. Then when a person clicks on the blue link in the Google results, it jumps them down to the section rather than taking them to the top of the page. These snippets are called Google Passages but are more commonly known as Fraggles.
4. Valuable Content
Content is, and always will be king. Having good SEO in place and making sure the backend of a webpage looks good are fantastic things to do. However, if the content is not up to par, it will become incredibly difficult to rank.
Make every page unique. Like I mentioned before, Google has been known to derank sites for having duplicate content. It is especially bad if there is duplicate content on the same site. Now, I’m not saying Google will derank your page if a sentence or two is similar to a sentence on someone else’s site. What needs to be avoided is having full paragraphs, or even pages, copied from other sites.
If during the creation process, you find yourself struggling to come up with content, it’s always a good idea to go back to the initial questions above. Thoroughly answering those questions provides a fantastic starting point for a page’s content.
404: Page Not Found
My next topic is on Soft 404s, but before we go there, I want to give a quick explanation of what a 404 is. A 404 error happens anytime someone attempts to visit a webpage which doesn’t exist. These are not something to be afraid of or worry about. Every website, including Google, has an infinite number of 404s. Just take any domain, like artunlimitedusa.com, add a backslash and whatever else you want, and boom a 404 error.
Soft 404’s and Thin Content
A soft 404 is something to pay attention to. It is basically any page which confuses the Google crawl bot. Google defines a soft 404 as a page which appears to be real but has little to no useful content. Soft 404s are bad for your page’s SEO.
You may be wondering what this has to do with content. A large percentage of soft 404s are actually caused by what is known as thin content. Thin content provides little to no value to a visitor. Who determines if the content is deemed thin? Google does. The only times I’ve seen a page flagged for thin content are when the page has a very small amount of content.
There is no such thing as too much content on a page, as long as the page is well broken up with headings and visual components. But there is such a thing as too little content. Yet, a cut-off point of what is too little and just right is hard to know.
Content Is King
What actually is considered ‘great content?’ Any content which answers a visitor’s questions before they ask it is great content. Google started this trend of ranking based on E-A-T and other search engines are beginning to follow suit. E-A-T stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Search Engines want to provide their visitors with the best and most authoritative content for their searches. Making sure you provide clear answers to people’s questions will help Google recognize you as the E-A-T for your area. Google’s algorithm is localized, so it doesn’t necessarily look for the top experts in general. They want the experts in specific categories for specific locations.
It’s good practice to keep the high-level information at the top of your page and become more detailed the further down you go. You can, and should, provide links to those sections farther down the page so visitors can get to the content they want faster. But overall keep things general at first. People might not necessarily know exactly what they are looking for when they first get to your page.
Whenever the time comes to start the creation process of a new landing page, be sure to go to the four initial questions. They become vital elements which make up the content on each page. Also, be sure to be conscious of what goes into designing and formatting a service page. If you have any questions about these or other things concerning building a successful webpage, be sure to connect with us and see how we can collaborate!