You must be intrigued with the title, aren’t you? However, we shall make it clear right away that Google has no intention to automatically hate all target pages. In reality, if we’re talking in general terms, each page that drives users to your website is a target page. You optimize your website for search engines, therefore any content page might be a target one.
What Google doesn’t appreciate is pages that don’t even have basic navigation tools. Pages that serve the major purpose of redirecting users to one particular target instead of allowing them to study the entire website.
Those target pages as they’re traditionally understood are treated by browsers far less critically, even positively. Because these “landing pages” are accepted by Google as an irreplaceable tool of good sales. But the problem is that there’re particular rules for the search engine, following which allows you to create really meaningful target pages. And therefore it will help you to achieve their good ranking in search results. Rating they receive may be seen under the keyword section in the webmaster tools section.
As for such claims as “unseen” Google “landing pages”, having the most negative meaning of the phrase, this relates to the worst, the lowest quality pages that have no value and only call for action and conversion. The problem could have been prevented by following the basic browser rules related to keyword optimization, content volume and quality, links and other parameters that are assessed by the system.
What does Google Want?
Search engine wants to see that the target page of your website matches a number of specific criteria.
The first criteria relates to the ability of your lending page to provide relevant, useful and original content. Let’s review each point in more detail.
- Relevancy. When reaching a target page, users intend to see something they’ve come to find in the first place. If your source is completely irrelevant to the information they needed or becomes a burden on the way to obtaining such information, this is the worst possible characteristics of your website.
- Usefulness. You can easily create a post on a blog with 10 000 plus words that will be completely relevant with the link that leads the user to your website. In other words, you can create a really meaningful content from the informative point of view. However, if it represents a “stone poem” that totally lacks the actual informational value, users will be quite dissatisfied.
- Originality. To put it short, your website content shall not be available anywhere else on the internet. If it is published on other sources, it will diminish the number of visits to your own website, the overall attention of internet users to it, therefore it will represent another feature of a low quality of your target page.
The second criteria that Google applies to “landing pages” is transparency. Before you ask users to provide any information about themselves, your page shall provide an explicit information about the product or service offered, their features and prices. If you try to hide information about the product and its price, requiring your users to first register on the website, Google will punish you. In other words, first give your users the reason to convert, instead of initially attracting (actually, enforcing their cooperation) them as clients, and you can explain them their benefits later.
The third criteria is how the landing page is represented as a logical part of the entire website. Pages that look different from the source may be attractive, however they don’t stimulate users to stay on them or on the website as a whole for a long time. Therefore it is essential to make target pages as fully integrated parts of your website and ensure that they have at least the minimal navigation features.
Besides, it’s worth noting that the target page just like any other page of your website shall support access from mobile devices. It would be a huge mistake to alienate your users that access your website with their smartphones, which will not only affect your conversion ratios negatively, but also your search engine rankings.
Why should you commit to Google’s recommendations? The least is that the professionals of this search engines had been doing web analysis for many years and had studied users’ behavior online extensively overtime. This means that following their criteria allows you to establish a solid base for a powerful conversion tunnel. Naturally, you may keep your doubts, however the longer you continue to criticize Google’s rules, the harder it will be for you to generate any natural search engine traffic.
Improvement of the Target Page
Google suggests a number of advices to optimize and improve your target pages:
- Do anything possible to improve the value and the relevancy of the “landing page”. Thus presumes creation of informative content related to ads you use to attract users to your website, as well as to keywords. Besides, it is important to write content that is relevant to your product or service. All in all it comes down to a single point: you need to saturate your target pages with information that assures users that you have something they really need.
- Ensure the transparency of your landing page and your entire website. Make sure that users can find your contact details either on the target page or in an easily accessible section. Make sure that each time you request users to provide their private details you explain to them, why it is necessary. Make sure that any advertising links and partnership offerings are properly marked as such. Make sure that you hide nothing from your potential clients.
- Make sure your site navigation is intuitive. Segregated target page decreases the number of potential users’ actions, however it significantly reduces its search engine ranking. Make sure you take all necessary steps to let your users receive answers to any questions they might have regarding your web source. If such information is not clearly provided on the landing page, there has to be an obvious link to the page that contains it. Avoid pop-ups that require user’s choice to either take an action you desire or to leave your website.
- Keep an eye that your landing page loads quickly. PPC target pages must upload almost momentarily. If it takes more than a second, it’s likely that users will leave your page and you’ll just waste money for clicks.
Besides, it’s worth to accept the Google’s policy regarding advertising. Otherwise you risk to be excluded from their PPC-system altogether.
Make your Target Page Popular
This doesn’t mean that your “Landing Page” shall merely be an informative blog post on your website. All you need is to adopt its existing layout and information it contains in order to turn them into a truly valuable asset of your website.
According to this infographics, the purpose of the target page is to accumulate information from all advertising messages. The more goals the user has, the more segmented is your audience, and the harder it is to measure traffic and conversion rates. And the landing page is the only place, where you can separate those initially interested in your offering from those simply willing to learn more about possible cooperation options before registering or approving the transaction.
Walk alongside with Google, optimize your content, support the highest quality and transparency standards, and this will ensure that your website conversion ratios will grow.