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Three Ways Landing Pages Are Different from Web Pages

April 3, 2015

Your landing pages – the pages that searchers land on after clicking on your ads – should usually be substantially different in content and style from a regular web page. This is because they are built around different goals. Web pages may  be built to rank organically, to inform, to entertain, and sometimes to sell. Landing pages are almost always intended to sell.

Here are three points to keep in mind when creating landing pages as opposed to other types of pages.

1. Landing pages should be closely aligned with your keyword and ad.

It's especially important when creating a PPC landing page to form a clear line between the keyword, the text ad, and the page. Using the keyword prominently in both the ad and the landing page demonstrates clear relevance to both the user and to Google, which will increase your chances of being seen in the search results. Having a relevant landing page also helps your Quality Score, which helps contain costs.

Regular web pages should be keyword optimized as well, but they’re more likely to be optimized for more than one keyword, and they don’t need to be aligned with an ad.

Here's an example of a landing page that uses the keyword ("samsung charger") in the ad and on the page, making it clear to the user that they have found what they're looking for.

keyword-rich landing page

2. Landing pages should be persuasive.

Web pages can serve all kinds of purposes, but the purpose of a landing page is always to provoke some action – if not a sale, then some softer conversion like a contact request or blog subscription. So the language and even the design/layout should be engineered with this in mind. For example:

  • Succinctly tell the user the benefits of your offering. Use images, graphs or charts, and bullet lists to help get this information across quickly.

  • It should be very obvious what you want the user to do on your landing page. If they want to buy the product, they shouldn’t have to search for the “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now” button.

  • Giving the user too many options can reduce the chances that they’ll take any of them.

Take a look at Netflix's famously successful landing page. It quickly outlines the benefits of joining and urges the user to sign up for a free trial. The page clearly leads the user into taking that action, without offering too many other options.

Netflix landing page

3. Landing pages should be tested for conversion rate optimization.

Since the main objective of a landing page is to drive conversions, it’s a good idea to test more than one version of the page and see which performs better. You'd be surprised by the huge difference relatively small changes can make. Some of the elements you might want to test include:

  • Call to action (try different verbs)

  • Color, size, and placement of button

  • Location of the form

  • Form length

Remember to test one element at a time so you’ll know what change made the difference!

(Read more: How to Create the Best Landing Pages for Your Google AdWords Account)

Elisa Gabbert

Elisa Gabbert is WordStream's Sr. Manager of Content Marketing and SEO. Likes include wine, karaoke, poker, ping-pong, perfume, and poetry.