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.


At Friday, February 03, 2006 1:24:00 PM , Blogger Crazy Dan said...

Great blog. Found your blog while searching for more information at yahoo about Optimizing Organic Landing Pages - Part I . Your blog has quite a lot of interesting thoughts. Keep up the good work, Steve Hudgik.


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