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3.6 Tune up the landing page

First, let′ s see what we have:

  • a landing page waiting to be optimized
  • a list of keywords for your landing page
  • software that lets you make an ideal landing page

Quite enough to make your site a success. And, one by one, you′ ll make things to add flavor to your page.

Give your page a good title

Page titles are displayed by Search Engines in their results pages. So this title is quite often the most prominent thing for your users, and for Search Engines. And sure, as it′ s the first thing they learn about your page, its importance is huge. That′ s why we start from the title.

Page′ s title in Google results
Page′ s title in Google results

Oh, my wife would tell you the same thing, for sure! The first thing to learn matters a lot.

Think of this: when we met at that unicorn party, what could my friend tell about her?

Here are just two of the options: "Hi Dan, this is Linda, my sister′ s roommate. She′ s so fun to get drunk with!"
or
"Hi Dan, this is Linda, my sister′ s roommate. She loves Depeche Mode like you do."

I guess it′ s obvious, what′ d make me think better of her.

Sure, the number of options is unlimited. And, telling you the truth, what my friend in fact said about my future wife was: "Dan, meet Linda, Kelly′ s roommate". Then he whispered "Don′ t miss this butt!".

I wish all page titles could work as great on crawlers and users, as this phrase worked on me ;)

Now, make a TITLE for your landing page.

Note: page title should be unique for your website. It′ s better if you don′ t have two pages that bear the same title.

Keyword list

Look at your list of keywords.

For the title, take your first major (green) keyword, then a couple supplementary (yellow) ones, depending on how long they are. Plus, you need something descriptive, telling about the purchase, or discount, or delivery, or anything else concerning your service that will let the title stand out.

And remember:

Always try to start your page title from keywords , and put other words in the end.

You can separate keywords by comma (,), hyphen (–), or pipe sign (|). Most webmasters use pipe. Fine, but it doesn′ t look natural. The title just doesn′ t read like a real phrase.

Use commas or hyphens — this makes no difference to Search Engines, but looks more human to users.

Another thing to remember: The length of your title should not exceed 65 characters (including spaces), as otherwise it will be truncated by a Search Engine.

For instance, a great title for your weddings–related website would be:
Wedding ideas, dresses, accessories — free delivery in Sydney

As a title tag, and it looks like this:
<title>Wedding ideas, dresses, accessories — free delivery in Sydney</title>

Here′ s a real title from the website http://www.weddingchannel.com:

Title example 1

And just some more examples of nice titles:

Title example 2
Title example 3

Now WebSite Auditor helps you make a perfect title. Look at the part of Page Structure Audit Report describing the Page Title (title length, duplicate titles, etc.). Check the recommended number of words and keyword density there, and make a nice title that fits. Make use of your keywords, like I said before. And, remember it should look attractive to a human.

Don′ t wait to upload the pages with new titles to the server. Just do it and see what effect it can take!

DO IT NOW! Change the title of your web page and make sure it appears on the Internet.

Add Meta description tags


What′ s in fact a Meta description tag? This tag is used to give a user a brief overview of your page. Although it has no influence on rankings, you′ d better not ignore it, as in most cases Meta description forms a snippet.

What′ s a snippet? Well, snippets appear below the links on Search Engines′ results pages and are designed to give users a sense for what′ s on the page and why it′ s relevant to their query. Surely, it can either attract users or scare them off.

A page′ s Meta description displayed in Google
A page′ s Meta description displayed in Google

Here′ s how Meta description tag looks like:
<meta name="description" content="Brief description of the contents of your page.">

There are several things you should remember about meta descriptions:

  • they should be unique and relevant for every page, so avoid duplicate descriptions
  • their length should not exceed 155 characters (including spaces) if you want your snippets appear in SERP nice
  • they should make a user eager to click the result and learn more, that′ s why you′ d better include information about sales, free delivery, reviews, etc.

So here′ s what you need to do: stuff your Meta description with keywords, though reasonably, and make it look like an irresistible invitation to your web page.

Want some examples? Here′ s where guys have done a good job:

Meta description example 1
Meta description example 2

Here′ s an example of how a description can be written:

<meta name="description" content="Get fantastic wedding ideas, best wedding gifts, nice cards, all kinds of wedding flowers and any wedding accessories for weddings all over Australia.">

Now look what the report says about keywords density and description length. For your site, make it as close to what′ s recommended in WebSite Auditor, as possible. And, like you did with the page title, make description tags available online.

Meta description data from WebSite Auditor
Meta description data from WebSite Auditor

Implement rich snippets

Do you know how to make your listing on the results page even more appealing and informative? Have you heard about rich snippets? Well, it′ s high time to learn what it is and how they can help your website promotion.

Rich snippets appear if you implement a special markup, which signals to Search Engines that a certain page is about a particular item (i.e. person, place, product, video, recipe, etc.), like in the examples below:

  • Review

    Review rich snippet
  • Music

    Review rich snippet
  • Recipes

    Review rich snippet
  • Video

    Review rich snippet

No doubt, such search results look more catchy and informative and therefore can drive more visitors to your site. Implementation of such markups like schema.org will require some time and your webmaster′ s help, but believe me, it′ s worth that effort!

You′ ll find more information about the implementation of such markups at http://schema.org/ and http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1211158.

Also, before publishing your web pages with schema, I suggest entering the code into the Rich Snippets Testing Tool (http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets). It shows the information that a Search Engine can pull from the schema code and offers a quick diagnosis of any errors.

That′ s it with the Meta tags I guess...

But you may ask: What about Meta keywords?

Well, in the early days of search the "keywords" attribute was popularized by Search Engines and was one of the ranking factors. However, it was often misleading and by the early 2000′ s most Search Engines stopped relying onto it. In 2009 Matt Cutts from Google said that these tags are no longer taken into account. That′ s why filling these tags will have no value for your SEO efforts.

Moreover, if you fill these tags with the keywords you promote, there′ s a chance that your competitors will peep into these data (just like you probably did when searching for ideas during keyword research, remember?). That′ s why, even if you haven′ t filled in these tags, you may sleep peacefully

DO IT NOW! Add TITLE and Meta description tags and upload the changed pages to your web server.

42 comments

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Comments page:
#1146 2010-04-08 17:29:51 Pavel Velinov

Hi Dan, I have just finished optimizing my front page for resellyourwedding.com and I have added a bunch of anchored text (by advice from WebSite Auditor) but in order the page does not look too over crowded with links, I've put {text-decoration:none} in styles.css for some parts of the text. Do you think this could be in any way considered "cloaking" or in any way frowned upon by SE?
Thank you

Answer
#1164 2010-04-17 13:19:33 Dan Richmond

Hi Pavel,

No worries! With text-decoration:none you'll be absolutely fine with search engines.

Answer
#1184 2010-04-21 11:30:35 Pavel Velinov

Thank you

Answer
#1497 2010-09-06 10:08:56 Ivo Ignatov

Pavka, mnogo interesna nisha. Bravo!

Answer
#1550 2010-09-13 16:53:59 Pavel Velinov

mersi, mersi uspeh i s tvoq business

Answer
#1039 2010-03-05 09:49:41 Tom Greenwood

You've said:
"Always try to start your page title from keywords, and put other words in the end."

Yet when I run the report in WebsiteAuditor it tells me that the 'keyword prominence' in my titles is too high and that I should move my key words towards the end. Seems like a contradiction. Am I missing something?

Answer
#1496 2010-09-06 10:04:14 Ivo Ignatov

:)

Answer
#1045 2010-03-11 05:17:17 Dan Richmond

Tom, please look at my comment right above yours:
-------------------------------------------------------------
One more thing: before simply following advice and moving your keyword closer to the end, pay attention to your competitors' titles. Check which keywords they have as the beginning. Probably those keywords are more profitable than the ones you've chosen (and that's why they are staing at the very front).
-------------------------------------------------------------

Answer
#1048 2010-03-11 12:19:48 Tom Greenwood

Yes, I understand. However, the cases I'm referring to involve competitors that clearly don't have better keywords at the beginning of their titles.

I had a good reply from support yesterday on this issue, where they clarified that the softwares advice is often wrong (and that your advice in the above article is correct!), and in fact the software's advice can be opposite of what you should really do because it assumes that your competitors have excellent onpage SEO for your chosen keywords and advises you to be more like them, which is not actually always a good idea.

Once you know this, you can make more informed decisions and work around it, but its very misleading if you're new to the software.

Answer
#1052 2010-03-12 11:10:00 Dan Richmond

Sure it's much better if you have some background knowledge that allows you to judge whether the advice is good to apply.
BTW WebSite Auditor is being modernized now and I'm advising on the changes as well. The problem you've spotted will be addressed in the upcoming new version.

Answer
#1014 2010-02-16 10:01:54 Dan Richmond

@Affiliate Network

<i>Why then "poorly optimized" competitors are in Google's TOP 10 position for very competitive keywords (for example top10 in 200 millions results)?</i>

Don't forget that SEO is not only on-page optimization but also link building. Most probably they've got lots of links with the keyword in anchor.

One more thing: before simply following advice and moving your keyword closer to the end, pay attention to your competitors' titles. Check <b>which keywords they have as the beginning</b>. Probably those keywords are more profitable than the ones you've chosen (and that's why they are staing at the very front).


Answer
#1012 2010-02-10 09:08:02 Affiliate Network

Hi Dan, i was also confused about putting the main keyword in the beginning of the title, because Website auditor recommended me to put it almost at the end. But your answer to Ben makes a little bit more clear. But.. Why then "poorly optimized" competitors are in Google's TOP 10 position for very competitive keywords (for example top10 in 200 millions results)?

Answer
#954 2010-01-22 08:55:40 Dan Richmond

@Ben Lovegrove

WebSite Auditor gives pretty relevant advice. If your competitors are poorly optimized, it may give you recommendations for a lower prominence or density. Still for the title, it's always better to have your keyword at the beginning. So you're right here, Ben.

Answer
#951 2010-01-21 13:12:49 Ben Lovegrove

I'm a bit confused here Dan. You've suggested that in our example you would use 'wedding ideas' at the start of the title for the page in question. I've followed that example in a new page and run the audit using Website Auditor.

The report says that:

"the keyword "xxxx yyyy zzzz" stands to close to the beginning of the title. Please move your keyword closer to the end."

This is in order to match the prominence of 63% of my competitors for that phrase.

Doing so may well match the way they've done it but wouldn't it be better to do as you say and keep it at the beginning of the title?


Answer
#945 2010-01-13 11:56:58 Dan Richmond

@Paul Watchorn

This is not something I think - it's rather what I've seen. That's why I'm saying, have your homepage optimized for your #1 targeted search engine (ex. Google), then create another page for a less important SE that's using other principles to rank you (ex. Yahoo!).

Answer
#939 2010-01-06 12:00:33 Paul Watchorn

Hi Dan, Thanks for that, do you think that optimising for Yahoo,i.e stuffing with key words, would make the Google bots get upset, and downgrade the site at all?

Answer
#929 2010-01-05 10:12:20 Dan Richmond

@Paul Watchorn

<i>Do the search engines worry about upper & lower case and things like punctuation, (brackets) and so forth?</i>

Not really

<i>So is there a way to choose which search engine to optimise for?
I have been thinking Google, but that is only because I use Google, this is a whole new thing to think about, who do you optimise for, and why</i>

Google has the greatest share of traffic (unless we're in Japan) so that would be the #1 choice. You might want to create another webpage to get it optimized in Yahoo! (since for Yahoo! it will require more keyword stuffing that would look spammy to Google.)

Answer
#913 2010-01-03 07:42:09 Paul Watchorn

Hi Dan,
It was another great lesson. I understand how Lowell Nickens
feels though.
So is there a way to choose which search engine to optimise for?
I have been thinking Google, but that is only because I use Google, this is a whole new thing to think about, who do you optimise for, and why

Thanks

Answer
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