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Landing Pages: Why PPC Specialists Like Them Short and SEOs Want Them Long

Channel Battles

Ahh, landing pages. We know from experience that when clients ask how long they should be, they want a definitive number. 300 words? 800 words? 2000 words? Should they be short and snappy or long and detailed? 

This is the topic of a friendly debate between our PPC team and SEO team (although our CRO experts and designers will happily join the fray too with their opinions). If you are planning to run search marketing, our Passionistas have some advice on your landing page length and layout – read on to hear both sides of the story.

Landing Pages for SEO

Suzannah, SEO Account Manager:

“The most highly optimised landing pages from an organic search point of view tend to be longer rather than shorter pages that provide the user with valuable and unique information. Depending on their search query, the structure of the page should look to put the answer as high as possible, while providing additional, supporting detail/content. 

The most simplistic way of looking at page length and structure is to think ‘how will Google know what my page is about? What are users expecting to take away from this search (search intent)?’. Don’t make any assumptions just because users know the brand. 

Make the most of your landing page by adding structured data, tell Google exactly what your page is about, and increase your chances of appearing as an enhanced result in the SERPs. Posting a recipe? Make sure your image appears by adding structured data. Got a 5-star rating? Show it off on the SERPs. Adding structured data usually has the added benefit of increasing your CTR (click-through rate) too.

You should also optimise for featured snippets for the chance to rank in the coveted “Position Zero”. Not only does this give you more visibility on the SERPs (ahead of your competitors) but gives you a good framework for structuring your landing page. Choose titles that answer questions – think who, what, where, how and why. We know that’s how people use search engines and if your content can answer these key questions, the better your chances of being the top answer. Use optimised headers to break up content and clearly show the structure of the page. These aren’t just for Google – readers can use these headers to scroll to the relevant section. No one wants to be faced with an endless block of text no matter how useful your content is.

For SEO you need to think about EAT (Expertise, Authority and Trust) – you can’t really demonstrate any of these well with short pages that will typically have very thin content. But that depends too on what you want the page to rank for, which is why it’s so important to look at keyword research and the competitive landscape and not just assume long = good and short = bad. As with all things SEO it’s quality over quantity!”

Landing Pages for PPC

Johnny, PPC Account Manager:

“I wouldn’t say there was a preferred length for a PPC landing page. As with SEO, relevancy and quality content is key. However, unlike SEO there isn’t a lower ‘thin content’ limit for PPC landing pages. Sometimes short pages can work well for campaigns built around lead generation, or when looking to capture first party data in a frictionless way – whitepaper and webinar signups are examples of when this might work well. 

Even if the amount of text on the page is small, it’s still important to include the main keywords you want to target with your ads. This will improve the relevancy of your ads/landing pages and result in a higher quality score – making your paid search activity more cost effective. 

I would say that layout is probably more important than length. Strong Calls To Action are very important if you want your page to convert. In a lot of cases it’s useful to have the main CTA above the fold so that the user doesn’t have to scroll down to complete the desired action. Anything that will help with conversion rate is useful to have on the page, including reviews and testimonials. 

Often when you’re asking for something from the user – either more data, time or money – you will need to give more content and offer them a fairer exchange for this. This is when longer landing pages with lots of information might be preferential.

Overall products and services vary so much that there is no one size that fits all. Relevancy, quality content and conversions should always be front of mind when designing your pages.”

Landing Page Best Practice Recommendations

If you intend to run both paid search and optimise your landing pages for SEO, here are a few recommendations to tick the boxes for both channels:

  • Use your space above the fold wisely – make sure that users are able to absorb all of the most useful and relevant information you need them to see at a glance without having to scroll. This will vary depending on your product or service.
  • Include a Call to Action high up the page – if users are ready to take action, be that a purchase or an exchange of information, make sure that they can do that without having to wade through lots of additional content.     
  • Use internal links and anchor links – if your pages are long, think about ways to guide users to the relevant section of the page without having to rely on them to scroll through its full length.  
  • Do your keyword research – it’s not about having tonnes of text on the page, it’s about making sure that whatever text you do have is relevant to the search query. Using keywords in your headings and body text will improve your chance of ranking organically and increase your quality score for PPC. 

We Are Search Marketing Experts 

Our team is a talented bunch – we are confident that we can help you identify and achieve your online marketing goals, whether through organic marketing or paid media. Get in touch to find out how we could work together.

If you’d like to see more Passionistas going head-to-head over common digital marketing issues that split opinion, take a look at our channel battles content series.