On-Page Search Engine Optimization for Landing Pages

With the advent of the Landing Page Builder in SharpSpring, several questions have come up in regards to on-page search engine optimization. The Landing Page Builder gives you the ability to optimize some on-page elements, including the page title, the URL slug, and the meta description of the page. While these elements are important, the main optimization component of any landing page will be the content you provide. There is no more powerful optimization element than properly keyword-targeted content. This article will detail how best to optimize landing pages.

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Regarding Page Indexing 

Often, it does not make sense to have Google index your landing pages. Consider the following:

  • Thank you pages and gated content. When a thank you page is built for gated content, you do not want users to find this page in organic search. Essentially, this is bypassing them giving you their information and accessing your content for free.

  • Short-term events. Google could find and index your event page as the event is drawing to an end—or, even worse, already ended. Worse still, pages in Google can remain indexed for quite some time. So, even if you do what you are supposed to and take down the landing page after the event, the URL could continue showing up in search, linking to a 404 error code.

  • Unique traffic landing pages. If you are building a custom landing page with tailored content for a specific campaign, you do not want users to be able to find this page through organic searches. Only people who come from the traffic source you have built the content for should be able to see this page.

Ultimately, decide if allowing users to find your page organically makes sense in the scheme of your marketing campaigns. If the page you are creating is found in search engine results pages, uncheck the Allow Search Engines to Index this Page checkbox in a landing page’s page settings. For landing pages set up with long-term goals in mind, on-page optimization is extremely important. You want users to be able to find your landing pages by searching for keywords associated with your offering.

Funnel Slugs

Using the landing page builder, you have access to URLs and funnel slugs. You only want your keywords to appear once in your URL. Do not use the exact keyword phrase you are targeting for the slug. Add a word or two—preferably synonyms for your targeted keywords—for branded domains, and completely replace a targeted keyword with a synonym for exact matching domains and partial matching domains. Google’s Semantic Search is smart enough to recognize synonyms so we establish relevance without running the risk of over-optimizing.

As an example, for branded domains, if you are targeting the keyword phrase dog training, and your domain is www.k9depot.com, then consider the following:

Example URL   Reason  
  Good http://www.k9depot.com/dog-obedience-training   Added an extra synonym.  
  Bad http://www.k9depot.com/dog-training   Avoid using exact keyword in the URL. 

If some of the keywords already exist in the URL, replace them in the slug with a synonym. As an example, for exact and partial match domains, if you are targeting the keyword phrase dog training, and your domain is www.dogtraining.com, then consider the following:

Example URL   Reason  
  Good http://www.dogtraining.com/how-to-discipline-your-puppy   Replaced keywords with synonyms.   
  Bad http://www.dogtraining.com/how-to-train-your-dog    Both dog and train appear twice in the URL and could be penalized for over-optimization.  


Content Silos

A powerful site architecture technique involved with building funnels in the Landing Page Builder is the concept of Content Siloing. This is a method of categorizing site pages based on nesting child pages under a parent category page. You can choose to silo by product offering, location, service, or any custom categorization relevant to your industry. This helps establish relevance in the search engine in that your page is about what you say it is about, and this makes it easier to target longer-tailed keywords.

As an example, rather than targeting the keyword phrase dog training, consider siloing pages based on the breed of dog, or the location in which you offer your various services:

Example URL   Reason  
  Breed http://www.dogtraining.com/husky/how-to-discipline-your-puppy   Nesting the page using the dog breed of Husky.  
  Location http://www.dogtraining.com/gainesville/how-to-discipline-your-puppy    Nesting the page using the city of Gainesville.  


Page Titles

Page titles, generally, should take the following format:

Keywords You Want to Rank | Company Name or Keyword Synonyms Page titles should be kept to a maximum of 60 characters. Try to only include the keywords once, keep the keywords together for the most part, and keep it at the front of the title tag. Consider the following:

Example URL  
  Good >Dog Training Tips for Beginners | K9 Depot  
  Bad Dog Training – How to train your dog – Dog Training Tips  


Meta Descriptions

While the meta description is not a direct ranking factor in Google’s algorithm, it is used under the page title and URL in search engine results pages to describe what the page is about. Having a good meta description can significantly increase click-through rates, a key ranking factor. When making a meta description, construct such in a way that is descriptive, makes people curious, and has a maximum of 156 characters.

Additionally, intentionally adding an ellipsis at the end of a purposefully truncated description can encourage people to click through to your site to see exactly what the content is about.

Header Tags

Header tags should be used sparingly to include targeted keyword phrases. Generally, best practices are to only include them in the top-level header to avoid over-optimization. Consider the following structure:

Dog Training Tips for Newbies

Obedience and Instruction


Older Dogs

Keyword Density

While you are creating content for the landing page, keep in mind not to overuse your targeted keyword. A good goal to aim for is using the actual keyword phrase a maximum of three times— once in the

tag, and two times in the body of the content on the page. Also, keep the individual usage of keywords in the phrase to less than fifteen occurrences. If you find yourself needing to use those words more than that, choose synonyms instead to maintain page relevance but avoid a ranking penalty for overusing keywords.

Also, bear in mind that because landing pages are generally standalone pages, they often do not benefit from intricate back-linking and relevance page structures that pages hosted on your site may have. Because of this, it may be especially hard to rank for broad, high volume keywords. Instead, target more specific, long-tail keywords that are more relevant to your landing pages. Not only will you rank higher for long-tail keywords, but by providing a higher degree of relevance between the keyword search and the content of the landing page, you will enjoy higher click-through rates and lower bounce rates.

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