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When done properly, great landing pages that convert can really add to your ROI.

The object of any landing page is to provide a clear and complete path to a decision, whether that is a download, a purchase, a request for more information, or some other clearly defined call-to-action.

SEO, pay-per-click marketing, and other online forms of generating traffic are designed to direct more visitors to a website. With a good SEO strategy and excellent content based on user-intent, you can grow your targeted traffic. However, getting them to the website is only half the battle. What they do once they arrive is what really counts. Getting traffic to your website is great but if it doesn’t convert, what’s the point?

Whether you call it conversions or lead generation, landing pages that convert are the holy grail of a full SEO or digital marketing strategy.

What is a Landing Page?

By easy definition, a landing page is any page that a visitor lands on from any form of advertising or search engines. So, any page within your website might be the very first page a visitor lands on when they visit your website. This could be your homepage, a sub-page, or even a blog article.

With this in mind, it’s important that you evaluate your entire website to create landing pages that convert. Each page within your site should be a good representation of your brand and should have a clear path for what you want the user to do next.

That being said, many digital marketing companies will encourage you to invest in “landing pages.” These are specific pages designed to match a campaign and user intent.

Some online marketing professionals insist that landing pages that convert must have a form. Others will argue there just needs to be a clear call to action or next step.

Ideally, a landing page is a page with a clearly defined target audience based on a specific topic, usually decided based on a user query. The user is then provided only the information they need to make an informed decision, be it a purchase, a form fill-out, newsletter signup, a content download, or even an offline visit.

Identifying Landing Page Topics

The first step in gaining traffic that converts is to figure out a visitor’s intent and then create content that is a good match. SEO keyword research is a great place to start. You’ll likely narrow down to a variety of keyword queries that will give you a fairly good idea on user intent. From there, you can create landing pages that match the target queries.

  • If you’re a real estate agent in San Diego, you might find you could use landing pages that convert for San Diego ocean view condos.
  • If you run an accounting company, you might find you could use a landing page for 2019 tax deduction tips.

In other words, you are identifying the demand for your product or service and then you’re going to use your landing page to reel them in.

Before you write a sentence of copy, you need to have a clearly defined message for your clearly defined target audience.

Landing Pages that Convert have Clear Calls-to-Action

What do you want your visitor to do? Be clear. Your general website is the backbone of your online presence. It’s where people might go to to learn more about your company and your services. It’s where you can be different things to different people.

Your landing pages? They have one important job to do. They need to capture the attention of the visitor. Since you’ve already identified the target audience and their user intent, you need to clearly articulate the next step.

Common calls to action include Buy Now, Download, Contact Us, Sign Up, Try It, etc. Don’t distract your landing page visitor with a variety of messages. Make it easy for them to take the next step.

Help The Visitor Along

In a perfect world, a person types in a query and clicks on your ad or organic listing and lands on landing pages that convert right away. Well, unfortunately, the world isn’t perfect and this is a rare occurrence.

You have to work a little bit to help the visitor along your path to conversion. This is where content comes in.

Ideally, you will have a combination of three forms of content.

  1. Text
  2. Images
  3. And video

Each piece of content should be able to stand on its own, but also compliment the other forms. In other words, you aren’t going to say the same thing, word-for-word in a video that you have in text on your page. After all, there needs to be a reason for the visitor to watch your video.

Having some social proof can also be an important element in landing page content. This is a testimonial or two depicting how your product or service has helped someone to solve whatever it was they came to your website looking for.

So, in order to help the visitor along so they feel comfortable forging a relationship with you, you need to provide them with the answers to their questions, the information they’re looking for, and a hook they simply cannot resist.

Keep It Simple

It’s important to ensure you do not overcomplicate your landing page. More often than not, landing pages that convert are clean, simple, and easy to understand.

This means you have one clear message. Everything that is on that page must relate to that message and must help lead the visitor further down the path to a conversion. Limit the content that doesn’t serve your main goal: moving the visitor down the conversion funnel.

Don’t complicate the page with a variety of messages and calls to action.

If you can, keep your navigation simple. After all, you don’t really want them leaving the page to get lost within your full website. You don’t need to offer them all the information about your company. Eliminate almost any click that isn’t your call-to-action.

Use your brand guidelines, fonts, logo, etc., so that the visitor starts to establish a relationship with your brand; however, keep it as simple as you can.

Important Elements of Landing Pages that Convert

Landing pages that convert generally have a few important elements in common.

1. A Really Great Headline
The job of your headline is to reinforce the visitor’s query while enticing them to stay on your website. You have a second for the user to decide if your page will help them. Your headline needs to help solve their query, look professional, and be catchy enough that they want to scroll a little bit more, rather than hit the back button. It has to capture their attention, their interest, and compels them to learn more about your offering.

2. A Really Great Subheading

The main headline piqued a visitor’s interest so now it’s up to the sub-heading to go in for the kill. Normally the sub-heading is positioned directly below the headline to act as the two in a one-two punch.

3. Enticing Visuals

Visual storytelling helps to sell. Any images you use on your website need to be clear, beautiful, and help inspire your visitor to action. Do you have a video that can help reinforce your message? Many visitors look to video to help them in their decision making.

4. A Benefit (pleasure) Statement

Articulate the main key benefit the visitor will get for completing whatever it is you are asking them to do. If you can use a feeling of pleasure within the copy, you can best play upon their emotions.

5. A Reinforcement (pain) Statement

Does your product or service solve a pain point? Now is the time to remind them of this pain and reinforce how your product or service will solve their problem.

6. Legitimize Your Business – Part 1 – Contact Details

Landing page visitors will look to ensure you are a real business and they will do this by looking for your contact details. Having your address, phone number and email address on your page’s footer is an easy way to show the world that you are real. You can go even further by having a link to your about page.

7. Legitimize Your Business – Part 2 – Social Proof

By showing satisfied past clients, you are providing social proof that your business, product or service is legitimate. Many web visitors are wise to testimonials, so use legitimate reviews cited from third party websites.

8. The Offer
What are you offering the visitor? What are you offering in exchange for the visitor completing the action? Keep it clear.

9. The Value Proposition

What’s in it for the visitor? Just like the offer, you need to keep the value proposition clear and simple. Outline the benefits. This is where you need to talk directly to your visitors about your visitors’ needs, not about you.  

10. A Guarantee or Way Out

Want to catch a visitor in a moment of spontaneity or weakness? Offer them a way out. A website visitor is more apt to take the plunge when they know there is a safety net to catch them. A guarantee or unsubscribe at any time statement allows them to know they are not locked into their decision.

11. Simple Form

Did you know that the more fields you have in a form the lower your click-through-rate will be? Only ask for the information that you absolutely need at that moment. You can obtain other information at a later time.

12. A Powerful Call To Action
Ok! So you’ve hooked them and reeled them in. Now you need to seal the deal before they get cold feet. This is where your call to action comes in. What is the one thing you most want them to do? Make it big and bold. Make it unmissable. Make sure it stands out.

Let’s Talk About Layout

Many web designers create website pages on very big monitors. They’ve accounted for plenty of ‘white space’ and are able to design very stunning pages. But, did you know that the average screen size is 1024×768? Yes, that’s a typical laptop screen. Plus, more and more Internet users are conducting searches on their mobile phones. So, while a page might look great on the web designer’s screen, how it looks and acts on a laptop and phone is far more important.

Landing pages that convert well are also very responsive. This means the content and images adapt to fit the browser size of the visitor. This allows for the page to look and function great on any device.

How the site responds to the various screen sizes should be planned out. Often, items will simply begin to stack on a mobile device which can account for an awful lot of scrolling. Is the same information necessary to a phone visitor as it might be to a desktop visitor? Is there a visual indication to keep scrolling? These are all important question that needs to be asked. The most important elements of the page should be front and centre regardless of the device!

A/B Testing

It goes without saying that you will test your landing page links and form. What we’re talking about is A/B Testing. This means delivering variations of headlines, copy, images, colours, etc. to different users to determine which combination of elements gets the best click-through rate.

After all, for all the good design rules and how-to’s out there, it can be difficult to predict what will actually resonate with the majority of visitors.

The rule of A/B Testing is to test one element at a time so you can effectively make a determination of the winner. Colour, call-to-action wording, call to action location, etc. are all things that can benefit from A/B testing.

In Conclusion

The best landing pages that convert are the ones that were planned and designed with the user in mind. Once you decide what action you want them to take, you can guide, persuade, and convince them to do it. If you make it clear and simple, most people will do what you ask them to.

1st on the List is one of North America’s leading SEO companies that also offers SEO website design. To speak with one of our SEO experts, please Email or call us at 1-888-262-6687.

 

You might also find Neil Patel’s article interesting entitled, The Definitive Guide to Creating High Converting Landing Pages.

Inevitably, every client wants to know how long does SEO take to work.

Everyone wants instant gratification. We live in a time where nobody really wants to wait too long for anything. We’ve been conditioned to believe that faster often equates to better. We want instant food, instant miracles, instant success, and instant everything! But that’s not reality.

Let’s take food for instance. You can open up a can of soup, heat it up in the microwave and within seconds you can be eating your lunch. It’s delicious, quick, and provides you the sustenance you need to get through the next part of your day. Sort of. It’s also filled with salt and preservatives, and in many cases, the nutritional value can be lost or minimal.

Now, think of that homemade turkey soup you cooked right after Thanksgiving. You created a broth from the bones that you let simmer for hours in order to extract every ounce of natural flavor. You added in your fresh vegetables and herbs. It might have taken all day (not to mention the day it took to cook the actual Turkey) but the result was the perfect bowl of homemade soup that was chock-full of goodness and taste.

It took time, but it was worth it. The same can be said for Search Engine Optimization.

SEO Takes Time, But It’s Worth It

Almost every single client will ask the all-important question: how long does SEO take to work?

The industry-standard answer is 4-6 months…perhaps. You can find hundreds (or thousands) of articles on the Internet that agree with this consensus. And you can say that to every-single-client, but sometime within the first week or two, every client asks if it’s working yet.

Clients are excited. They’re nervous. They need to account for their spend. You’ll remind them that you ensured they’d start to see some results within 4-6 months, but at some point, they’ll begin to get impatient. It might not happen every time, but it happens enough. How long does SEO take to work will depend on a lot of variables.

Sometimes results can take a day, a year, or even more. It all depends on the goal, the key performance indicators (KPIs), the competition, the industry, and the ever-changing landscape of the Internet.

Let’s Determine What The Results Will Be!

Instead of providing the generic four-to-six months answer to the question “how long does SEO take to work,” we find it can be far more beneficial to outline what our anticipated results will be.

Key Performance Indicators – KPIs

KPIs are objective, tangible metrics that are used to measure the success of a campaign.

In the realm of SEO, there are several KPIs that can constitute successful results.

1. Growth in Organic Sessions – Tracking traffic from organic search is a measurable KPI. Growth can be slow going, as it does take time for pages and websites to make their way up the search engine results, especially in competitive industries. It is the objective that lies at the heart of any SEO campaign since more targeted traffic from the search engines is something that always excites clients.

2. Increases in Keyword Rankings – Back in the day, SEO companies would provide clients with spreadsheets outlining keyword results for targeted keywords. It was a metric the clients loved. But, with the growth of localized and individualized search results, it became more difficult to provide an accurate measure of keyword rankings. A website could be sitting at #1 for one user but #4 for someone else in a different location. Now, SEO companies might provide a more generalized average for keyword rankings.

Keyword ranking isn’t the be all, end all though. Going from number 50 to number 8 might not make a huge difference in traffic; however, going from number 8 to number 4 likely will. This is because most users will click on the first few results, but not wade too much further down the list.

3. Leads & Conversions – What good is all of this extra traffic if they are converting into leads? More and more companies are getting savvy with the results they expect to see, and leads, orders, and sales have become a valuable KPI for SEO campaigns. On average, the best results for a website come from organic traffic results. After all, this traffic is highly targeted for specific searches. If a person is searching for the best place to wash their car, it is likely to assume they are further down the path-to-purchase than a person who gets advertised to by a car-wash display ad or social media post.

4. Session Duration – Generally speaking, once you implement an SEO campaign, you will likely start to see an increase in session duration. This is because the quality of traffic is highly targeted, which means the user would likely be more genuinely interested and engaged in your website and information.

Targeted Traffic vs General Traffic

If you look at just numbers, one might think that having 10,000 visitors a day vs 5,000 visitors a day is a win. But, if the 10,000 visitors who are coming are more general in nature, is it really a win? They’re likely not spending as much time on the website, or they’re browsing without intent to purchase, contact, or convert. They take more effort to convert or bring back. So, if you can get 5,000 visitors who are specifically searching for one of your particular products or services, they’re more targeted. They’re likely more ready to convert or purchase. Those 5,000 visitors are more valuable than the 10,000 generalists.

How Long Does SEO Take to Work Depends on Tactics

Depending on the industry and the competition, an SEO professional will undertake a variety of tactics to achieve results. Think of it like growing a garden. Some plants, fruit, and vegetables take longer to bear fruit or flower than others. In addition, you can’t quite ever predict how long it will take before the tomatoes are ready to be picked.

An SEO plan that is really content-driven can take a lot of time; however, the results might come in spurts. The SEO professional will target a keyword, have a piece of content written and published, and depending on how competitive the keyword is, results may start coming within a week or longer. No one really knows how long it takes for SEO to work.  It could also take six months or more. In the meantime, with each new piece of content, site authority and ultimately results will start to build.

Budget Also Affects How Long SEO Takes to Work

Nobody wants to admit that the more you pay the better results you will get; however, budget equals time and resources.

How long does SEO take to work? Simply put, the more you put into it the more you should get out of it. Three team members spending six hours should see results faster than one team member sending two hours.

At the end of the day, SEO is not a quick-fix for a business that requires results immediately. It’s a long-term process that requires a strategy and if done properly, can provide long term results. SEO is a process where every step builds upon the one before it. Today’s results are likely built upon the effort from six months ago.

So, while you’ll likely find it takes four-to-six months to start seeing results, it isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. There are many types of SEO services that can be brought into play. Instead of offering a timeline for how long does SEO take to work, it can be more beneficial to offer education on the KPIs. That way, you can start celebrating the little wins along the way.

Please call our SEO experts at 1st on the List toll-free at 1-888-262-6687 to learn more about SEO or if you still have any questions.

For additional information on this topic, visit this informative article by Search Engine Journal.

In the late 90s and early 2000’s, it was a lot easier to choose an experienced SEO Services firm because there were not that many of them. Of course, like any industry, there were some amateurs and bad apples in the mix. The term ‘black hat seo’ stemmed from early SEO days where some individuals and businesses were looking to cheat the system, rather than figure out best practices for success.

But, even back then, many businesses had a hard time justifying if the work was worth the cost or if they had found a good company. SEO is complicated and not in the average business’ wheelhouse so it can be more difficult to understand the complexity of the results.

After all, if a business knew how to do it and had the resources to do it in-house, they wouldn’t be hiring out.

So, when it comes time to look for an SEO services firm, having a basic understanding of what’s involved and knowing the questions to ask during the interview process is key.

Recovering from a bad SEO strategy or unprofessional tricks is time consuming and costly. You can avoid this by ensuring you’re selecting an SEO Services firm that has the experience and methods to achieve success.  

Benefits of Search Engine Optimization

Traffic from organic search engine results is highly targeted. This means, when a user queries a search engine they are looking for something specific (be it an answer, information, a product or service). The goal of the search engines is to deliver the best results for the query. So, the idea is that if a visitor lands on your site from a search engine, it his highly likely they are looking for your product, service or information.

The art and science of having your website appear for related search queries is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short

A good SEO strategy places your business in a position to receive targeted visitor traffic to your website. A targeted visitor is further down the path to conversion/purchase which makes them a great target market.  

SEO is a long-term marketing strategy. It can take some time to implement; however, the results are usually long-term.

Generally, an SEO firm will recommend a long-term monthly program. A well-run and successful program is ongoing and includes a variety of items including on-page continuous optimization, content strategies, technical elements, link building and more. Analyze. Rinse. Repeat.

How is SEO Achieved?

There are a variety of tactics involved in a good SEO strategy. Often, you will see that a web designer offers ‘SEO’ under their list of services. Usually, this means they are outfitting the site with a tool designed to allow for the integration of Meta tags (strings of code read by the search engines). This is only one factor of SEO and is not a strategy or a tactic, but rather a tool.  

For the average business owner, if they’re told they’re getting ‘SEO’ they believe it, right? What many are not aware of is that there is SEO and then there is SEO. How do you tell SEO from SEO? Ah, now that’s the big question!  

A Successful SEO Plan Generally Includes:

1. Keyword & Market Research – What is the targeted web visitor searching for to find the website? What are other websites providing? Where is there room for improvement and market infiltration?

2. Content /Site Planning – User experience is everything because SEO is designed to get a visitor to a website, but what happens once they are there is equally as important. Determining the required content, order of pages, importance of items and site flow is paramount.

3. Site Navigation – A cleanly navigated website is easier for the visitor and the search engines.

4. Content – Content is king (and queen, and prince/princess/commoner, too). Again, SEO is designed to get a visitor to click on a search result. Content is what keeps and converts the visitor once they arrive on a website.

5. Clean Coding – A well-built, clean-coded website does wonders in helping a website rank.
6. Speed – Search engines factor in site speed and website load when looking at a website. Speed on mobile devices and desktop computers should be looked at.

7. U/X – User-Centered Design/Content – Some businesses design the website they want to see, or the website they like; however, well-performing websites are designed 100% for the visitor.

8. Meta Tags – Title and description tags are integrated on every page to help aid the search engines in what that page is about.

9. Page Titles– A page title is important for the search engines and the web visitor.

10. Technical SEO Items – There are a variety of technical elements that can help or hinder SEO.
11. Analytics Review – It’s important to continue to monitor campaign results, traffic, and user-flow on a website to adjust strategies and get new ideas.

12. Repeat – SEO is not a one-time affair. For long-term success, an ongoing strategy is essential.
13. Plus various other factors – There are a variety of factors that go into how well a website ranks on the search engines. From link-building to alt-tags and everything in between, a professional SEO services firm prioritizes tactics for your success.

One of the first things you will see is that there is a good deal of planning and strategy that goes into an SEO-optimized website before the build even begins. This is because it is important to build a website that is designed for the targeted web visitor. A site plan, content strategy and website that is built with SEO in mind from the ground up has the right foundation for success.

How To Choose an SEO Services Firm

With so many SEO Services firms out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the choices. Finding one who can talk the talk and walk the walk is key.

In addition, because SEO is a long game strategy, choosing the wrong firm can set you behind. But even more so, when SEO tactics are not implemented properly, or black hat tricks are used, long lasting damage can often be done to a site that takes a lot of hard work and time to overcome.

By asking these questions, a business is able to better ascertain who is reputable, and who is not.

Top 5 Questions To Ask An SEO Company

1. How Many Years Experience Do You Have (and can you show me examples and case studies of your success stories)?

Perhaps the general philosophies and tactics of SEO can be book-learned; however, actual industry experience is priceless. Through working in the industry, SEO experts can delve beyond best practices and recommendations because they have developed an innate ability to naturally assess a situation and implement a strategy that will work.

By asking this question, you’re looking for an SEO services firm that has been around for years and can provide many examples of top search engine positioning and lead generation results in a variety of industries.

2. Do You Follow Industry Best Standards and Google’s Webmaster Guidelines?

Ideally, we’d like to think this is the easy question that every SEO professional would answer properly; however, there are some out there who have developed proprietary practices designed to trick the search engines. That’s your cue to run away.  Another cue? When they tell you they can rank you in a day or a week and offer ranking guarantees. If a sales pitch sounds fishy, generally, the practices put in place are too.

You should only hire a company that continues to stay up-to-date on recommended best practices and uses white-hat SEO practices.

3. How Is Your Success Measured?

Reputable SEO companies work with you to outline goals, targets and timelines. They send regular reports and updates that measure things such as keyword positioning, website traffic, visitor demographics, time on site, bounce rate and lead conversions.

It is important you know the goals of the SEO firm and that they align with your goals. What kind of traffic increase are you expecting? How many visitors per month are the targeted keywords expected to get?

4. What Keywords Can You Guarantee?
Here’s the trick question! You want to hire an SEO services firm that can look you in the eye and explain that keyword positions cannot be guaranteed. There are many companies out there touting first page positions, guaranteed! But, for what keywords? And, for how long? Organic search engine results are not something that anybody can guarantee so it’s best you work with a company that is upfront about the goals and the strategies to get there.

Generally speaking, the more popular a keyword, the more competitive the keyword which means the more work and time it will take to rank. We’ve worked tirelessly for multiple years to rank a website for a very popular keyword while others can take a week or a month.

5. Am I Under Contract? What Happens if We Part Ways?
Many reputable SEO services firms are confident in their ability to establish long-term client relationships and are happy to not work within locked-in contracts. Some may require contract terms. Regardless of whether you are locked-into a relationship or not, more importantly, you need to understand what happens if you choose to part ways.

There are a variety of reasons a business may cancel or pause their SEO services. Best practices are that the business retains their content, access to their website (if with the same company) and all logins/passwords for accounts.

Trust, Integrity and General Likeability

One of the reasons a business might have difficulty selecting an SEO services firm is because they do not understand the process and therefore, find it more difficult to ascertain what to look for. Business owners regularly have to contract out services that are outside their own scope of work. When a business can build a long-term relationship with an outside vendor, there is a greater opportunity for success.

A successful relationship with an SEO services firm can be highly beneficial to a business. So, it is important you select a firm you can trust and is based on integrity. This firm and their professionals will be working hard on your account so it’s helpful if there is a good working relationship.

Selecting the least expensive company or the company with the slick sales pitch doesn’t necessarily bode well for long-term success.  

Ideally, a company that has been around, achieving successful results, for years is best suited to help your business achieve long-term success. They’ve not only seen, but experienced, search engine algorithm updates. They’ve had experience with competitive keywords, dropped rankings, and cleaning up technical code on a website. They’ve developed an innate understanding of what it takes to achieve results. They stay up-to-date on best practices and up-and-coming trends but have a solid grasp of the foundation and good, sound business.

They can speak client and programmer and act as a bridge for your company between these two, very different languages. They can delve deep into analytics to continue to strategize for best results and then provide you with key indicators in a way you can understand. They can stay up-to-date on the trends but also are not bound by the trends.

Ideally, you’re looking for a company that has a proven track record, satisfied clients and has achieved long-term successful results that go beyond positioning and into ROI and lead generation.

As a business owner, you don’t need to know how to do SEO to hire an SEO services firm. You just need to know the right questions to ask so you can ensure you’re hiring a reputable firm that has your best interests in mind.

About 1st on the List

Located just outside Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1st on the List is a boutique SEO Company that has been offering search engine optimization, pay per click, and SEO web design services since 1997.

To learn more about our services, please call us Toll Free at 1-877-562-7965 or send us an email.