Landing Page Testing – Are you sending traffic to the correct page?
However, talking about on page optimization can only be tested if you’re sure that the traffic is going to the correct page in the first place. It is easy to get caught up in conventional wisdom of where to send traffic (usually the most logical page that is furthest in the buying cycle) without testing if that was the correct page to begin with.
One good example of this is for informational queries. A query such as ‘Candle burning times’ is often linked to from a PPC ad to a candle product page. However, that is not the question the searcher asked. If one thinks about a consumer making that query, they are probably buying candles for an event. They do not want to see a candle taper product page, the searcher is looking for a page that discusses the different candle types and how long each one will burn.
This is where you can combine information giving with eCommerce. If you sent the traffic to a page listing your candles and how long they burned; and then linked those candles to your product pages suddenly you can monetize those informational queries.
This step can be repeated with several different query types.
Local business queries
For a query such as ‘Chicago kitchen remodeling’. Conventional wisdom says to send traffic to the ‘before and after’ picture page of a kitchen. However, it is not unusual for a small business to see that when someone visited the ‘about us page’ where we discuss our 25 years in business, our 10 testimonials, and our Better Business Bureau involvement that suddenly the conversion rates increases. Test sending them to the conventional wisdom page along with the about us page.
Narrow Theme Sites
I’ll never forget working on a site where the homepage had double the conversion rate of the most appropriate page of the site for the query. It was a site that connected families with nannies. The most specific page for a search such as ‘Chicago Nanny Services’ would be a page about Chicago with actual nanny resumes. However, the front page of the site conveyed trust that the site worked with both nannies and families thus ensuring your data wasn’t being sold or random nannies were being assigned to the families. While conventional wisdom says the home page is never the best page, their home page’s cost per conversion definitely said otherwise.
Generally the search ‘merchant account’s’ will send you into a form that will help you apply for a merchant account. After committing to 3 pages of form fill out there’s a question that stops the user in their tracks – ‘what type of merchant account do you want?’. It turns out the query ‘merchant accounts’ wasn’t so specific after all. In cases where the searcher needs more information to take action, take them to a segmentation page where they can learn more information before choosing their route. This is also useful for larger forms where measuring where someone is abandoning the form can help you pinpoint issues to either rephrase the question, change the landing page, or put informational text around the question.
Thank You Pages
While the Thank You Page is the most underutilized page on the web, it is also worth testing. What types of pages lead to longer Lifetime Visitor Values? Should your page have a newsletter signup, a whitepaper download, or related products? It should not be a page that says ‘Thank you for contacting us, now go away’; it should say ‘Thank you for contacting us, we’ll get back to you shortly; but while you wait – here’s some other information that may interest you’. It is much more expensive to gain the first customer than to keep a customer. Use trust pages (of which the thank you page is one as someone trusted you with either their contact information or their credit card). Test these pages to see which leads to most involved customers.
On page testing is important. Changing pictures, forms, layout, color, etc can lead to higher conversion rates. However, if you don’t pick the correct page to send traffic to in the first place, on-page testing is a waste of time. Take a step back, examine the conventional wisdom of where you should send traffic, and then test a few different pages before taking the time to optimize the on page experience.