Ways to Improve your Landing Pages

written by William Patton on February 26, 2013 in 10 Minute SEO with no comments

This post about improving your landing pages is a part of my new 10 minute SEO series. I aim to give you some SEO tasks that you can do in 10 minutes or less to help improve your site’s rankings and conversions. We will be using Google Analytics an awful lot in the series as a way of finding things we can improve as well as measuring the effect of the improvement. So let’s get stuck right in.

Log into your Google Analytics account and pull up the Landing Pages report in Content > Site Content section.

Google Analytics landing page report for Gaming Now

I’ve already optimized most of the pages on the site in the screenshot during the content creation process and as such I don’t have any pages listed with 100% bounce rate but 97.87 is still pretty damn close to 100 – and with only 94 visits I’m going to consider that as being 100% anyway.

The average bounce rate on my Gaming Now site is ~80% so the top 10 landing pages are split 50/50 between being better than average and worse than average. I can also see that page number 9 is in desperate need of attention with the bounce rate on that page nearing 100%.

What We Can Do With This Information – Actionable Advice

First thing to do is to go to the page or pages with a higher than average bounce rate and make sure it looks how it should: If it doesn’t fix it, if it does then it’s something else that’s making it bounce. While your on the page ensure you can easily find out what you should do next, look for the Call to Action. If you can’t find one then add it (or move it somewhere else on the page easier to find) and measure the improvement over the next few days/weeks by comparing dates from before and after the improvement.

In most cases simply providing any related CTA will improve your bounce rate of the page but a better CTA will result in a better click rate.

In short you want to:

  • Check the page loads.
  • Make sure it looks how it should.
  • Check that you’ve got a call to action and it’s easy to find.

If you have any of those problems then go ahead and correct them and relish in a job well done but if none of those reasons are why the page is bouncing then you have a bit of digging to do. I won’t lie and say diagnosing a deeper rooted problem and fixing it can be done in just 10 minutes so initially you should focus on the easy fixes – the low hanging fruit so to speak.

Spend 10 minutes going through your top landing pages, go beyond the top 10 if you have time, ensuring they load fine and that they tell the user what to do next. If lots of your pages are missing CTAs then a quick fix would be to include a Related Posts box beneath the post, while not ideal it’s still somewhat of an improvement over allowing users to just leave at the end of a page.

Going Deeper To Find Out Why The Page Bounces

You can never tell exactly how everyone will interact with your page before you publish it but once you do and start to gather data about that page and it’s visitors you can then use it to improve the page. That data can point you towards the reason why your page isn’t performing well.

Wrong Visitors, Wrong Page

I drilled down into the worst performing page and the first thing I done was look to see what keywords people arrive at it with using the ‘Secondary Dimension‘ drop down selector.

One of the top landing pages by Keyword

Right away I can see that the majority of visits are arriving looking for information about ‘ration seals’. I know, because I wrote it, that the post isn’t about Ration Seals – although they are mentioned. So this has been a classic case of wrong visitors arriving at the wrong page. An easy find for me and an easy fix.

Fixing Wrong Visitors to the Wrong Page

All I need to do is rewrite the post to get the right visitors to it. Or better than that to make use of the visitors who’re already finding the page. Right off the top of my head here’s 4 things you can do with a page in this situation.

  1. Rewrite the post to get my originally intended readers.
  2. Rewrite it to target the new audience.
  3. Include a specific section about Ration Seals and clearly mark it with headers or otherwise. You can use an advanced segment to find the questions people arrive at your site with and make sure you answer them in the new section.
  4. Write another post about Ration Seals and link it at the beginning of the post with a bold update notice.

With this specific page I’m going to choose to do is mix up the suggestions and use a combination of techniques from the 3 latter options.

My original post had a short freshness life. People needed to know about it before the game was released, as it’s now released I would expect to get next to no organic traffic to the post. However now I’m getting a stream of visits that do not have a freshness life-cycle – Ration Seals will always be in the game and people will need to know how to use them – so for this post focusing on the new audience is the right thing to do.

  • I’m going to include an update notice that has a clearly defined answer to what ration seals are for and how to use them in Dead Space 3. < Link to the post I improved.
  • I’ll write a (supplemental) guide post and link it in the update notice.
  • And include a section in the original post about the ration seals.

Click the link in the first bullet point above to view the article and see how I’ve improved it to target the new audience, and give the majority of visitors what they need as soon as they visit.

You might notice that I’ve missed out something important in the new sections – the call to action. I’ve done that on purpose but the reason is way beyond the scope of this post so I’ll cover that in a future post. If your really desperate to know why then tell me in the comments and I’ll move that post up the publishing calendar so you can read it right away.

Other Things to Check

There are literally thousands of reasons why your page could be bouncing. In the case I looked at today it was because of a wrong person, wrong page issue but it could have been something else entirely. I will be taking a look at other reasons why the page might have bounced in the 10 minute SEO newsletter so you should subscribe to it, it’s completely free!