In the vernacular of online searching, a landing page is the first contact an advertiser or a web host will have with the visitor, and because of this fact the landing page is the best opportunity to win or lose their attention. Learning how to utilize words and phrases, and in some cases graphics and other visual tools, can help to not only attract the online visitor but to satisfy their requests as well.

Nothing will frustrate a search faster than irrelevant information. The online researcher, whether they are shopping for a product or looking for information, is using the internet because of the scope of its coverage and the speed of its data retrieval. This means that they probably don’t have a lot of time to wade through a mountain of information to get where they want to go. In fact, the providers of search engines themselves are becoming more and more selective about the content and form they allow in their registries, since they also are competing for the attention of the online users of their services.

The perspective of the initial contact between the visitor and the host in an online search is one of anonymity. The visitor doesn’t know the host, the host doesn’t know the visitor. That is why it is so crucial that the landing page catches the interest of the searcher right off the bat with relevant information and visual enticement like product displays and informational videos. Otherwise, the visitor will immediately hit the back button on the browser to return to the results page and the mission will be a failure.

The key elements of an effective landing page are the structure and the layout of the page, the relevancy of the keywords that caused the search engine to select the page, and the positioning and clarity of the “call to action” feature, which can be a “click here to buy” link or simply a sign in button. Making these elements as useful to the visitor as they are attractive to the eye will ensure a pleasant and rewarding experience, which is the desire of both the visitor and the host.

It is a good idea to test a variety of layouts and designs for the landing page. This will not only maximize the number of visits to the page, but will also provide the greatest profitability for the commercial advertiser. Considering that they will be charged by the hosting service on a cost-per-click basis and will also be scrutinized for the relevancy and quality of keywords and content, the host of the webpage or website should constantly evaluate the success they are having.

Regardless of the purpose of the landing page, making it as easy to use and as relevant as possible should be the entire focus of its design. Whether it is an advertising campaign looking to expand a customer database or another type of host offering information or entertainment, the key to successful search results is understanding the way search engines work and making the most of that initial contact. The old cliché about making a good first impression was never so true as it is in today’s virtual marketplace.

Guest article by Michael Oxley