Monday, January 31, 2005

Optimizing Organic Landing Pages - Part I

When the term "landing page optimization" is used, it almost always refers to optimizing the landing pages used with your advertising. Organic search landing page optimization is rarely mentioned, and is much more difficult--but there are significant rewards.

What is an organic search landing page?

All of the pages on your web site are landing pages. They all can potentially receive traffic from search engines and directories, and thus they all need to be designed with this in mind. But, there are some pages on your web site that receive more incoming traffic than other pages. Focusing on these pages, in particular when you have a large site and limited time, will maximize the ROI from your web site. If you convert a few additional visitors to customers or leads, there can be a big payoff.

The first page in this category is your home page. The home page is a special case as it is more than a landing page. It is the official entry point to your web site and serves to introduce your company and products. I'll discuss home pages in a separate article.

The pages most frequently serving as landing pages can be identified through your web site logs. Using a log analyzer, you'll be able to identify the top entry pages, and those pages which visitors visit and immediately leave. The following is the visitor count for one month for a niche market web site that sells a product.

Top Entry Pages (Landing Pages)
robots.txt 1129
cleaning tutorial 574
home page 532
manufacturer information 459
hazard tutorial 429

Single Access Pages
robots.txt 820
hazard tutorial 351
home page 331
cleaning tutorial 295
manufacturer information 273

I chose this web site because the top five entry pages are also the top five single access pages. This is not always the case.

The robots.txt file is the #1 listing in both categories. This file is used to provide information to search engines. Visitors never see this file and it can be ignored.

Next we see that 574 visitors entered the web site through a cleaning tutorial page. Notice that more visitors enter the web site through this page than through the home page. So the home page is not always the main entry point for a web site. Also notice that about half the visitors who arrive on this page, leave. This is an important page with room for some improvement.

In the #3 spot on both lists is the home page. A page of manufacturer information holds the #4 entry position, and a hazard tutorial page is in the #5 position. Notice that the hazard tutorial page is in the #2 position for single access pages. Looking at the numbers we see that 82% of the people who enter the web site through this page, leave after looking at just this one page. There is a lot of room for improvement here.

From the logs we have identified the four top landing pages through which people enter this web site: a cleaning tutorial page, the home page, a manufacturer information page, and a hazard tutorial page. Tomorrow we'll look what can be done to improve the visitor response to these pages.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Marketing Optimization Schedule

The Internet Marketing Blog Plan:

Thanks for visiting the Internet Marketing Blog. I'm planning to post at least three tips or ideas here every week, although sometimes my client's schedules may result in adjustments to this schedule (the customer always comes first). Each week I'll focus on a particular topic. The topics for the next four weeks are:

Marketing Optimization
Technical Optimization
Search Engine Optimization
Advertising Optimization

Next week I'll be talking about the following marketing optimization topics:

Optimizing Landing Pages
The Call to Action
Visual Burn-Out

The following week I'll discuss the following technical optimization topics:

Optimizing 404 Error Pages
Why Use 301 Redirects
Tracking Visitors Who Leave Your Web Site

Your comments and questions on any of the above topics, or any other internet marketing related topics, are welcome. Put your question in a comment, and I'll try to address it in a future article. Have a good weekend and I'll see ya'll next week!

Using Microsites To Get Results

A microsite is a website that is tightly focused on a specific product or topic. Some search engine optimizers attempt to use interlinked microsites to boost their page rank in Google, or to try to dominate the search results for certain search phrases. Those types of efforts are generally a waste of time. However, there are legitimate uses for microsites. Microsites can be valuable for sales or support service staff who spend time on the phone with customers. Instead of having the customer go to a page within the company’s main website, which might have a URL such as:

the customer can go to a microsite with a URL that is much easier to describe on the phone, such as:

The microsite focuses on one product/service. Its purpose is to help your customer quickly learn more about that product/service; solve a problem; or provide answers to question. It does this by making the information simple and easy to find, access and understand.

Here's a microsite idea you can use to supplement a phone conversation. Once the customer is at the microsite they sign-in with a "name" that is unique to the indicidual sales/support person. ASP/PHP pages log where the customer's activities allowing the sales/support person to see where the customer goes in real time, as they are discussing the customer’s questions on the phone.

Here’s another interesting possibility. One option is that the pages on the microsite could be ordinary pages with normal links. The sales/support person tells the customer on the phone which links to click on to move them to the next step. The interesting possibility is to set up the pages the customer sees so they have a single NEXT button. Which page that NEXT button goes to is determined by selections the sales/service person makes on their computer. Thus the information that is presented is controlled by the sales/service person in response to what is happening in the phone conversation.

This approach eliminates the possibility of the customer clicking on the wrong link, and getting lost. It also means the customer sees only the information the sales/service person wants them to see. So, for example, if a salesman wants to offer a special package deal to one customer, but not make that special deal generally available to all customers, they can do that.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Getting Results From Your Internet Marketing

Welcome to the Internet Results Blog.

I've been involved with internet marketing since 1995. I'm an expert in SEO (Search Engine Optimization), PPC/PFI advertising, and optimizing web sites to achieve marketing goals. I'll be discussing all of these subjects here. In addition, I'll be talking about how to convert the traffic generated by search engines, internet advertising and free publicity on the internet into leads or sales.

By of way an introduction I'll start this blog with a brief summary of who I am and my approach to internet marketing.

By education I'm an engineer (BS Electrical Engineering)

A significant part of my experience (10 years) is in sales of capital goods for Combustion Engineering, Inc.

I've been working in marketing for 14 years. I have an MBA and I've written two books about software marketing for Windcrest/McGraw-Hill.

I've given my heart to Jesus. (Graduate of Multnomah Biblical Seminary)

Internet marketing is a fast moving, complex field. If you don't have the time to keep up, you'll soon be left behind. But underlying the rapid change are the fundamentals of direct marketing, which have not changed. Whether I'm working on a web page or an advertising campaign, I ask the fundamental questions:

Where on the web will I be working? A web site, Adwords, a blog, etc.

Who is the target audience (market)?

What is the objective? What do I want the target audience to do? What is the offer?

How will this objective been achieved? What marketing techniques will be used? What resources will be needed?

Why are we doing this? What are we going to get? What is the measurable goal (usually the ROI)?

Answer these fundamental questions and you'll be off to a good start.