In this post we look at optimizing landing pages, product pages, and service pages with the help of MarketMuse. From an optimization perspective, they’re all the same. You typically create product and service pages with the goal of getting a visitor to take some sort of action, just like a landing page.
In a similar vein, there are often constraints on what you can do to the text. Pages that have undergone conversion rate optimization by someone else may leave you with no control over that content. Don’t worry, you’ll learn what to do in that situation as well.
Let’s get started!
Research the Topic
The first thing I like to do before optimizing any page is to research the topic in-depth. I want to understand both the SERP and my SERP competitors.
Specifically, I’m analyzing the search results to understand Google’s favored intent or what intent most pages are serving. Then I’ll look for the exceptions to see whether some pages serve another intent.
I’m also examining the page type. Are they all articles or blog posts, or are there some landing pages or product pages in the SERP?
This already helps me in setting expectations. If my SERP examination reveals they’re all blog posts serving an informational intent and I’ve got some sort of landing/product page, I know I have my work cut out for me.
Next, I’ll examine the SERP to determine if there are any topic gaps in the approach of my competition. I want to use that to my advantage to differentiate my content from the rest of the pack.
Any landing pages in the SERP will merit closer attention. I want to see how they’re constructed and determine if they’re part of a topic cluster or not.
Only then am I ready to get to work optimizing my content.
Best Practices for Optimizing a Landing Page
Now that I know what I’m up against, I can get to work optimizing my page. There are three things to remember when optimizing existing content:
- We don’t want to change the focus topic (subject) of the page.
- We don’t want to change the nature of the page. We’re not turning a concise landing page into a full-blown 2,000-word article. But there are times you can get away with it.
- We shouldn’t expect to hit our content KPIs (Content Score and Word Count) if they’re reflective of a different type of page (e.g., a blog post).
Landing Page Optimization Tips
- Review the language of your page to better align it with your target audience. See if you can substitute terms for those in the topic model (e.g., using an acronym where the topic model indicates the full words).
- Look for opportunities to expand a point with a sentence that uses a term from the model.
- If there are any images, check the alt text for opportunities to use terms from the topic model. Don’t keyword stuff. Use them naturally where possible to describe the image.
- Be mindful of using too many terms from the topic model.
How to Avoid Over Optimizing Your Page
There’s a calculation I use for this — it’s Word Count / Content Score and reveals how many words are used for each topic mention. This is helpful when dealing with an apples-to-oranges comparison.
For example, the quality score is based on long-form content and you’re optimizing a concisely worded landing page. In a case like this, aim to keep the number of topic mentions in the ball park based on the number of words used. Otherwise, you end up with the modern-day equivalent of keyword stuffing.
Ranking an Already Optimized Landing Page
Despite your best optimization efforts, you may not see significant improvement in ranking performance. Or you may be in a situation where you can’t or don’t want to touch the page.
In either case, you’ll need to build out content around your landing page and link to it, effectively making it the center of your content cluster. So, research the topic of your landing page with the goal of creating new supporting pages or improving existing ones.
Go to Research > Topic Navigator to get a list of possible topics around which to build out your content:
- Topic Model can also be used to find additional supporting page ideas (to build a deper cluster).
- Keywords offers additional support page possibilities (to build a wider cluster)
- Questions offer even more possibilities, if the search volume is sufficient.
- Reflect brings it all together to show you what you’re already covering and how it’s performing. You may just need to make a few updates to your existing pages.
Remember to link from the pages you create and update to your landing page.
Landing Page Optimization Example
That’s it for the theory, now let’s see how to put that into practice using a real example. In this case the topic is “keyword research” and we’ll use a product page from our site.
What I Discovered Researching the Topic
Plugging our topic into MarketMuse Research and looking at SERP X-Ray, I discover that the SERP is fragmented, with pages serving different intents including Know (informational), Transactional, and Comparison.
Here’s something interesting that I notice on a few pages.
The top result is a product page for Wordstream with an interesting twist. The free product appears above the fold and looks to be a regular landing page — just like you would expect for a product.
But scrolling further down you can see how they’ve incorporated a full-length article into this page. That’s an interesting approach to landing page optimization that’s worth exploring, if you’re able to do so. They’re not the only ones taking this approach. There are a couple of more like this in the SERP, so they may be on to something.
The other thing I notice is the number of internal links on these pages in the SERP. They’re often a good indicator as to the size of a content cluster.
Putting the domain of one of these SERP competitors into Heatmap, allows for some competitive content quality analysis. It confirms my suspicions that I’m going to need a lot more than one page of content to rank for this search term.
What I Can do to Optimize This Page
Let’s run through the list and look for any possible improvements that we can make to this page.
We’re not going to change the nature of the page, but we should consider fleshing out the subject a little more. That could mean:
- Expanding the existing paragraphs while keeping the existing structure.
- Making minor additions to the existing structure.
- Adding what’s essentially an article to the bottom of this product page.
Top-ranking pages have used all three tactics, so there’s a precedent for these approaches.
Images on this page don’t have any alt text. We should take advantage of this machine-readable text to include terms from the topic model, where possible, to describe the images.
If we’re not going to meaningfully expand the amount of text, we need to be aware of using too many topics. Excessive topic mentions without enough connecting words and phrases leads to over-optimized content. Humans will find it awkward to read — as for search engines, they can easily spot this too.
Lastly, we should review our approach to internally linking this page. Both new content and existing pages should link to this product page to funnel traffic. Building out a cluster around the different aspects of keyword research can capture traffic, build authority, and direct it to that landing page. This in turn should gradually improve its ability to perform in search.
Landing page content optimization is always challenging because you lack the degree of freedom that you have with a blog article. You can’t always expand the content, so you have to be careful with how you mention topics that are in the model. Still, it makes sense to review the page to see how you can align the language you use with what the topic model suggests.
Remember that you often need more than one page to rank. Be prepared to create additional content in support of the landing page. Review your internal linking to make the landing page the center of your cluster.
What you should do now
When you’re ready… here are 3 ways we can help you publish better content, faster:
- Book time with MarketMuse Schedule a live demo with one of our strategists to see how MarketMuse can help your team reach their content goals.
- If you’d like to learn how to create better content faster, visit our blog. It’s full of resources to help scale content.
- If you know another marketer who’d enjoy reading this page, share it with them via email, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.