What is a landing page? And how does it work?

As simple as they sound, landing pages might be a confusing topic for site owners. What qualifies as a landing page and what doesn’t? Is every page you land on a landing page? What about Landing Pages in Google analytics? And, can you optimize them for conversion and search engines? Let’s dive in!

What is a landing page?

In digital marketing, a landing page is a page specifically designed for one purpose: to make a visitor convert. Whether it’s signing up for an event, subscribing to a newsletter, or donating money to a charity; a landing page aims to do just that. Therefore it’s completely focused on a single action. The idea is that this focus and taking away possible distractions increase the chance of a conversion. Marketers typically create these types of pages as part of a marketing campaign.

An example

A nice example of a focused landing page for a campaign is this Red Nose Day landing page of Comic Relief:

The Red Nose Day landing page on the Comic Relief website

The headline immediately conveys the message of this page: Register your school for Red Nose Day 2021. The text on the call-to-action is crystal-clear too. Perhaps a different color would make it stand out a bit more, but still, it’s hard to miss. The page is focused as a result of its clean design and the absence of distractive elements. Moreover, if I’d work at a school the image of the happy little girl would make me want to participate right away.

This screenshot shows what you see above the fold on the desktop version of this site. If you scroll down you’ll find some other elements, like options to donate money or links to explanations where the money goes. You could think of these secondary buttons as distractions, but because they only appear when you scroll down, the first view of the page remains focused on its primary goal: getting schools to register for this event.

How does a landing page work?

Imagine getting an email from a local venue announcing a concert of your favorite band. Woohoo, you’re super excited to get tickets! You click on a link and end up on the homepage of the venue. You start looking for the schedule. When was it again? Maybe better use the search bar? O wait, a banner showing another awesome concert too. Hmmm…Maybe first discuss with your friends which band they’d like to go to?

The internet is full of distractions and landing pages of a marketing campaign try to get rid of all these distractions. In the above example, if you would have ended up on a page purely focused on this concert, providing the necessary details and an eye-catching call-to-action leading to the cart you probably would have purchased the tickets already.

If people click on a campaign link in your newsletter or social media post, you’ve already somehow sparked their interest in your event, charity or, whatever you’re promoting. As they’ve been exposed to the content they’ve clicked on, they probably already have a bit of context on the topic. That’s why they’re likely to be further in a user journey as someone landing on your site from an informational search query in Google. This means chances of conversion (subscribing, getting tickets, or buying something) are higher. So it does make sense to focus on the action of the user. Now you just have to make sure to make this action as easy as possible!

How to optimize them?

When you create a landing page for marketing purposes you first have to decide what you’d want people to do on that page. This shouldn’t be too hard if you have a clear goal for your campaign. In the example above, that would be selling tickets for that concert. If you know your goal, you can start optimizing the page for the target group and add all essential elements that should be on the page.

Essential elements: Inform and convince

Obviously, you should tailor a landing page to give your users what they need and convince them to participate at the same time. Therefore it’s indispensable you know your audience. Nevertheless, some elements are so common you can find them on almost every great landing page. We’ve listed them here for you:

  • a headline that conveys the message: what should the user do here?
  • a call-to-action (CTA) or a short form people can fill in right away
  • some essential details the user would want to know before clicking the CTA (for instance, time and place of an event)
  • visuals: an appealing image or short video (let’s say if you can win a state of the art coffee machine it makes sense to show it)
  • social proof (a quote of a happy user or participant, for instance)
  • in case of a purchase or donation: payment options

Remember: Keep it short and simple! To add more focus to your page you can even get rid of the menu, as it might lead people away from your page. Also, go easy on the links to other pages; they can do the same. If you do need to add links to other pages, consider adding them below the fold. The same counts for any secondary actions, like the donation button on the Red Nose Day page.


Don’t forget to test the page! If you build a landing page you’ve likely made some assumptions about what you’re audience needs/wants. Especially with these kinds of pages, focused on conversion, it pays off to A/B test them thoroughly! And, when you’ve built that one awesome landing page, be sure to clone it with the Yoast Duplicate Post plugin and use it as a template for your other landing pages.

Here you’ll find more tips on optimizing a landing page.

What about Landing Pages in Google Analytics?

Landing pages of a marketing campaign are not to be confused with Landing Pages in Google Analytics. Landing Pages in Google Analytics are just a list of pages on your site that get the most traffic from external sources.

You’ll find Landing Pages in Google Analytics in the Behaviour tab

While a popular marketing landing page as mentioned above could be in this list, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. For instance, in our case, our post on choosing a focus keyword is one of our top Landing Pages in Google Analytics. But it wouldn’t fit the above the description of a landing page. It’s an explainer post helping people with setting the right focus keyphrase on a post they’re writing. It’s an informative post, not aimed at convincing people to sign up for something. People land on this page as they’d like to learn something or need help. Bombarding them with buttons would probably scare them away.

If some of your campaign’s landing pages are in this list, this post on the power of Landing Pages in GA will help you to analyze their performance though!

Optimising Landing Pages for SEO: A Comprehensive Guide

Maximising Your Landing Page Visibility

When crafting the perfect landing page, naturally, you’d desire top-tier rankings. It’s every marketer’s aspiration to harness the power of their landing page, driving expansive user traffic. However, it’s pivotal to recognise that a landing page fine-tuned for campaigns, chiefly drawing traffic from newsletters and social media, might not be the optimal choice for organic search on platforms like Google.

You must delve deeper and question the relevance of your landing page to an average searcher. Are they scouting for a detailed article on their topic of interest? Are they at the point of purchase or subscription, or do they possess a differing search intent? It’s essential to discern where these visitors lie within the customer journey. Although your landing page is engineered for high conversions, it might not align with what users are searching for, except for those explicitly seeking your event or campaign.

While it’s feasible to optimise the page for event-specific terms, ranking for broader terms could prove challenging for conversion-centric pages with limited content. Strategically positioning internal links can bolster its rank for targeted terms. However, if content addition is on the horizon, consider placing it below the primary conversion section to maintain focus. Always revert to the core objective: what’s the primary aim of this landing page?

Distinguishing Between Product Pages and Landing Pages

Although product and landing pages share similarities, it’s imperative to acknowledge their differences. Both prioritize conversions, harnessing compelling headlines, CTAs, social proofs, and engaging media. Yet, campaigns are typically transient, whereas product pages delve deeper, offering comprehensive details and often suggesting related products. This makes product pages slightly divergent from the razor-sharp focus of a campaign landing page. For those keen on refining their product page’s efficacy, our insightful article on product page UX and SEO is a must-read.

The Power of Local Landing Pages

Venturing into local landing pages, these differ significantly from campaign-oriented landing pages. For businesses boasting multiple physical outlets, it’s a strategic move to tailor a landing page for each location, ensuring it resonates with the local demographic. If you’re seeking expertise on crafting compelling local landing pages, our guide, accentuated with our Local SEO plugin insights, is invaluable.

In Conclusion

In the realm of digital marketing, landing pages are meticulously designed to incite specific user actions, predominantly focusing on conversion, be it through subscriptions, participation, or purchases. Their intent is clear and shouldn’t be muddled with ‘Landing pages’ as referenced in Google Analytics – the gateway pages from external sources. While it’s tempting to optimise these pages for search engines, sometimes it’s more advantageous to maintain their conversion-centric nature. Always let the underlying goal of your page be your guiding star.


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