Landing Page Optimization

How many more of these do I have to do? I’m so out of liveblogging shape. [Hang in there, Susan! An open bar and a big comfy room are almost yours. –Virginia]

Moderator Christine Churchill, President, KeyRelevance, and speakers Brad Geddes, Director of Search Engine Marketing,; Lily Chiu, Senior Sales Engineer, Omniture; and Kate Morris, Search Engine Marketing Manager, RateGenius, are ready to teach us all about how to optimize our landing pages. Don’t think of this just as a PPC topic. It’s just as important for search engine optimization.

Brad Geddes is first. We’re having mic issues. This should be fun.

Where should traffic be going?

Informational queries should go to a page that gives an answer. For candle burning times, for example, you want it to go to a page about how long a type of candle will last, not directly to a product pages.

For local queries, you might looking for something that will build trust. What’s the intent?

You have to test your landing pages. Don’t discount the fact that the best page might be the home page, even though that’s not the usual wisdom.

For ambiguous queries, testing is key. You need to get the user to segment themselves first. Give them the information that will help them answer the question.

On your Thank You page, what does it say? Does it just say “thanks, we’ll call you” “go away”? Or does it say “create an account”, “you may also like”, “stay in touch with…”, etc? Keeping a customer is cheaper than getting a new customer.

Be aware that offline behavior still affects online behavior. Match your promotions to your buying cycles. If no one is buying, target them earlier in the conversion cycle — when they are looking for information instead of shopping, or when they are shopping instead of buying.

It’s not just about page layout. Test where to send the traffic.

When you’re showcasing benefits

In gift retail season, you need to showcase to the shopper, not the receiver. Shipping times, cut off dates, ease of return, etc.

My super favorite Kate Morris is up next to teach us the necessities. She disclaimers first that she’s not picking on anyone with her examples.

Call to Action

You cannot have a landing page without a call to action.

  • Keep forms as short as possible: Don’t ask questions that you don’t need right then.
  • Always be above the fold: If they don’t see it right away, they won’t see it.
  • Answer the question of the query
  • Not the home page: Don’t use the home page for the landing page, unless you only have one product.
  • Mention the keyword on the page: A search for “Twilight hoodie” brought up an ad that not only didn’t have Twilight, it didn’t have hoodies. Or even the color black (or sparkly vampires). [I am resisting the urge to tease Kate about liking Twilight.]

Visual Interest

Failing to create visual interest leads to back button buzz kill!

  • White space
  • Simplicity
  • Buttons
  • Use pictures as a road map


  • There are two camps:
    • Give them a choice.
    • Keep them prisoner.
  • The answer here is testing.


Never start a campaign without it! Metrics to look at:

  • Conversation rate: Over time, how many leads/sales happen? What is the benchmark versus other campaigns? Track your entire sales cycle if possible.
  • Cost per conversion: $5 vs. $50000 product. You can’t be spending $300 to sell a $200 product.
  • Bounce rate: Relative to product, about 30 percent is awesome. Fifty percent is good/okay. Over 70 percent, you need to fix something hard.
  • Eye/click tracking
  • Test, test, test!

Lily Chiu is our last speaker. Her presentation is called “Every page is a landing page.” For sure.

Optimize is a word that’s been pretty much used to death.

Conversion optimization:

  1. Segmentation
  2. Relevance

The trouble with a lot of campaigns is that while off-site marketing is targeted, on-site you’re dealing with a one-site-fits-all approach. You need to optimize the end-to-end customer experience.

Make sure that your ad is leading to a matching page. Fulfill expectations.

Every page after the first page is yet another landing page.

Once the visitor has made a decision, you now know that much more about them. We need to do more with less. Testing gets you there. Do a better job of taking advantage of what you already have. Take action based on the data you’ve been gathering.

Where do you begin?

You have to fight inertia. Getting started is the hardest part.

  1. Start simple and ID regions that you want to test.
  2. Know your end goal.
  3. Define your hypothesis. For instance, hypothesize that this thing will be better than that thing.
  4. Create distinct alternatives. There should be a significant difference between tests.
  5. Measure, act, iterate. One test is not good enough.

Once you’ve found a winning page, test the elements on the page to discover WHY it was the best.

Test and Target

Reinforce the content throughout the site. If you’re targeting without testing, you’re still not going to know if you’re really doing better.

Where do you start? You have the tools, now you have to work together with all your channels to make your conversions better. If you’re doing acquisitions without telling your site people about it, you’re not going to be able to match expectations.


What tools do you use? Does your company sell the tools?

Lily: [Very kindly tries to make this not a pitch.] Yes, we (Omniture) sell a product (Test&Target) but there are others out there. Google Website Optimizer is free and it’s a really good product.

Susan Esparza is former managing editor at Bruce Clay Inc., and has written extensively for clients and internal publications. Along with Bruce Clay, she is co-author of the first edition of Search Engine Optimization All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies.

See Susan's author page for links to connect on social media.

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