What Do You Need On Your Landing Page — SEO Not Included?

Your business’ landing pages’ SEO is the beating heart of your online commerce — if it’s not healthy, everything else you’ve done dies with it. But what separates a LANDING PAGE from just any old web page? Obviously, you intend for surfers to land there, but what do you do differently to make sure that they stay? We asked the best landing page SEO companies we could find, and this is what they came up with:

A Hooky Title
Your title is like the hook — not of a fishing line, but more like of a great song. It should implant itself in a reader’s brain like the opening riff of Roxette’s She’s Got The Look. Yeah, I’m old. Anyway, the best way to make a title is quite literally to make two hundred potential titles and then have someone else in your industry pick the best one.

A Description Of Your Product or Service
The description should be short and to the point. The upstart Dollar Shave Club says it in just nine words: “A great shave for a few bucks a month.” If you can describe your offering that succinctly, you’re doing well.

A Demonstration Of Your Product or Service
Usually in the form of a video, or maybe a slideshow if you’re old school, it’s absolutely critical that your landing page shows your audience what your product is and does.

A List of Benefits
Consumers are picky, finicky, critical, and mean — but they’re not all that smart. If you don’t tell them in really obvious words how your product or service makes their lives better, they won’t get it, and if they don’t get it, they won’t get it.

A Really Obvious Call To Action
Whatever it is that you want your surfers to do next to move closer to becoming a customer, make it as blatant as you can. Giant orange arrows that say “click here” or “enter your ZIP code” or whatever you’re asking for are ubiquitous because they’re good.

That’s it — make your landing page someplace that’s good for people to land, and you’re golden.

Social Media Mistakes Anyone Can Make — And How to Avoid Them

Social media is one of those areas of endeavor that can be rollickingly fun and successful for some people and then utterly tear the heart out of others. When it’s going well and you have the crowd eating out of the palm of your hand, it not only feels great, but you often end up with amazing side effects, like people going out and creating spontaneous backlinks for you.

But it only takes one bad moment to turn that dream into a nightmare of criticism, anger, and — worse of all — silence. The amazing thing is, it doesn’t even have to be something that you did wrong. Look at McDonalds, for example, and the ill-fated hashtag #mcdstories on Twitter. McD’s promoted the use of the hashtag as a place for people to tell warm, fuzzy stories about Happy Meals and whatnot — but it quickly became used by anyone with a horror story to tell about McDonald’s, and the entire campaign turned into a massive effort by McDonald’s to sweep it all under the rug.

So how do you avoid making horrible mistakes with social media? Well, the most obvious tip is to not do your own social media-ing. Hire one of the best social media marketing companies you can afford, and let them take care of your social business for you. And if you’re not completely secure with that, get a reputation management firm to back the social media company up in a pinch.

If you can’t afford that kind of consulting, there are still a few simple tips you can follow to make sure social media mistakes don’t happen.

  • Have a Single Point of Contact — don’t let just anyone from your business get on your company’s social media accounts. Have one person handle your social media, and impress him or her with the importance of staying even-headed and not taking anything too seriously.
  • Excrement Occurs — there’s no such thing as 100% positive on the social media — you’re doing quite well if you reach 75% positive. Accepting the negative without panicking or responding with trumped-up justifications is the way to go.
  • Remember the 90/10 rule — 90% of what you share on the social media should be for your consumer’s benefit (and not in the “here’s a coupon so you’ll come buy things!” kind of way, but in the “here’s useful information or a clever thing to do that relates to our industry/product/service” kind of way.) The other 10% should be oriented toward your business interests.

Link Building May Never Be the Same Again…Thank Heavens!

The best link building companies haven’t had that difficult of a time adapting to the new paradigm that Panda and Penguin have forced on us in the last couple of years — but they’re the exceptions rather than the rule. Many link building groups (the ones that didn’t just fold and go under) have found that they have to put in a lot more work to get the same results, and it keeps getting slightly harder every time that Google updates (we’re up to 23 updates on Panda and 3 on Penguin already!)

Contrary to what most of the down-and-dirty, front-line linkbuilders thing, this is actually a good thing. Yes, it’s annoying insofar as you can’t just sit down and slap together a dozen lines of code that will automatically scrape a database of website directories and post your site to all twelve thousand of them — but let’s look at what that was actually doing to SEO.

When you have a metric ton(ne) of backlinks each of which have almost zero value but which combine to be worth maybe a dozen “real” content-heavy, quality backlinks, you don’t actually change the SEO game in a meaningful fashion. All you do, really, is create a “you must be this rich” line — entrepreneurs who can’t afford to get the metric ton(ne) created in the first place simply can’t meaningfully compete with those who can, because they’re always going to be that dozen “real” backlinks behind their competitors who did pay for the ton(ne) and also for the real backlinks.

Now, there’s always going to be a degree of “rich man wins” in SEO, but that kind of arbitrary cutoff was actually just a stranglehold on competition in the market. With Panda and Penguin forcing everyone to play more-or-less the same link building game (make high-quality, rich backlinks and fill your pages with high-quality, rich content), the SEO game may be a little more difficult for companies that specialized in the less-kosher kinds of linkbuilding, but it’s distinctly better for everyone else.