Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Optimizing Organic Landing Pages - Part II

The first question that pops into my kind is, why do visitors come to this page? What keywords were they searching for? What questions do they want answered? What were they looking for? Sometimes we find the answers to these questions are not what we expect. For example, I created a web site for selling industrial pipe markers. These are large identifying labels that go on things like steam and fuel pipes. A lot of visitors came to this page and left. What I found out was that they were searching for ways to identify their tobacco pipes--a completely different and unrelated product.

How did I get this information?

The page was set up as a PHP page that logged the visitor's referring URL. When visitors come from a search engine the referrer URL includes the search terms they used. So I was able to see the searches visitors used to find the pipe marker page.

The referrer URL is also recorded in the web logs. Log analysis software is available to help you get information from your web logs in a form that is understandable.

You can also discover visitor's reasons for coming to a web page by looking at the pages that link to it. You can find those pages by entering the following in the search box for:


yoursite.com/folder/page.html -site:www.yoursite.com -site:yoursite.com

Yahoo and MSN


For this article I'm not going to go into the details about tracking down how visitors find your web page. If you can get the information, use it. But if you don't have the technical skills to write ASP/PHP pages, or the web log software tools needed to compile log data into a readable form, then a little trial and error can also get results--it just takes a little more time.

The following applies to marketing optimization for any page. In Part I of this article we learned which pages should be optimized first.

When someone arrives on one of your web pages, they will make a decision as to whether to stay or leave within a few seconds. The page needs to give them a clear reason to stay. To do that, it needs to quickly deliver the message that: their question will be answered; their needs will be filled; or it needs to present them with a very compelling offer.

All the information you want the visitor to see at first glance must be above the fold. This is a term that has carried over from newspaper publishing. What it means is that the information must be visible without the need to scroll the page up/down (or left/right). The resolution of the visitor's monitor will effect how much they will see "above the fold". Don't assume people have their monitor set for a high resolution. A good assumption is a monitor resolution of 1024 x 768. Set your monitor at this resolution and view your pages to be sure all the important information is above the fold. Whatever is above the fold at this resolution will be above the fold at all higher resolutions.

In general, the visitor's eyes are going to look at the center of the page first. So that is where you want the most important information to be located. Depending on the subject and the purpose of the page, it would be appropriate to include any of the following:

<> A headline in large, bold print that is easy to read (no fancy fonts). The headline should be short, to the point, and descriptive of the contents or purpose of the page.

<> An image. If you are selling a product, include an image. People like to see what they are buying. If you are selling a service, you are "selling" your people, so include a picture of them at work. Whatever the image, it must match the subject of the page. If the page is about industrial cleaning services, don't show a group photo of your employees--show an employee hard at work cleaning an office.

<> An offer. What are you offering people to take the action you want them to take? In other words, if you are trying to collect leads, why should people give you their name, address and phone number? You might offer a free white paper, a product sample, or a newsletter. Whatever you are offering as an incentive, don't hide it. Don't put it below the fold. Put the offer where visitors can easily, and quickly see it.

<> If you include an offer, there should be a call to action. The call to action uses action words to direct the visitor to do what you want them to do. For example, Call 1-800-555-5555 Today For Your Free Sample!

<> A testimonial. Testimonials are a powerful way to influence visitors positively. We all feel more comfortable knowing that someone has gone before us and had a successful, happy, positive experience.

One more important piece of information; don't forget to tell visitors how to contact you. This information does not need to be in the middle area of the page, people are willing to look around a little to find it. However, I've seen many web pages that make it very difficult to respond. If you want them to call, include the phone number on that page near the offer. If you want them to respond by email, provide an email link near the offer. The easier it is for the visitor to see how to contact you, the better your response will be.


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