Home Page Versus Landing Page

Posted by Biljana Dimovska

The new PPC algorithm change from Google has thrown up some interesting challenges for the PPC Agency community; not least, which is king, a website’s home page, or its landing page?

The best way for a PPC Agency to think about this issue, is to consider their target audience.

Now, the PPC algorithm change basically means that those running a campaign will receive a better weighting, if they have strong and relevant landing pages ready for the website user.

Okay, arguably, the Home Page is the mother of all landing pages, because that is where traffic is directed as a matter of course. But, the problem with a Home Page is that it’s almost a contents page and can be very vague at that.

Many modern websites are vast emporiums of information and landing on a page means that the user is facing a bewildering array of facts and information.

How often have we all clicked on a search result on Google, or Bing, and then discovered the resulting page has nothing to do with what we’re after? Or, we have come through to a home page which is so crowded with information, that you also cannot see what you are after.

And most people, when faced with that occurrence, simply click away from the site, frustrated at not only the wasted time, but also annoyed at the ‘brand’ for causing you to waste that time.

This is why landing pages have become so important. A good landing page deals with the specific enquiry that has brought a user onto that page and this is what Google is trying to reward with a heavier weighting within the PPC campaigns.

But, you can see the problem. Landing pages should be specifically tied into the search request and not offer vague information, or feedback. But they are unsuitable for those people who are after the more general information offered by the Home Page after all.

So, the way around this problem is to create properly defined pages to strict search criteria. Let’s say a car company wants to not only bang on about a new model it launched some time ago (and sales are flagging), but would also like to catch people who are interested in all of their brands.

The solution? Two PPC campaigns on different search criteria. It’s the only way. So one campaign which focuses on the company’s brand, the other on the company’s make of car which needs a boost. So two ‘ads’ go online – together with the appropriate key wording – one which goes to the Home Page (corporate) and the other, to a specific landing page which targets the actual model of car.

This then avoids any confusion as to what message the company is trying to get across in corporate and individual model terms.

Written by Biljana Dimovska on January 16th, 2012 with comments disabled.
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47 comments

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Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com mnoto19
#1. January 16th, 2012, at 3:58 PM.

Very interesting points made here. Definitely thought provoking.

It is the worst when you click on a web page after a search on google and come up with nothing relevant to what you searched for. Totally agree.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Oli
#2. January 16th, 2012, at 9:20 PM.

I don’t know how new this is, googles ranking on link relevance has been around for a while, but it definitely does reduce cost of your target page is highly relevant to the ad!

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Biljana Dimovska
#3. January 17th, 2012, at 9:13 AM.

Thanks for your comments guys.

I totally agree with mnoto19. Search Engines have found a way to measure the level of how happy visitors are with your site and the info you provide, or not. The website visitors’ experience as users on the net has become highly valuable to Search Engines as well. So the website bounce rate and time on site is very much connected to the website ranking on Search Engines. It is very important to think about visitors when planning and executing your link building plan. It’s a harder way to perform link building but it is a much better and longer lasting way.

PPC Campaigns also can affect the user experience on your website. So having on mind this simple tips can enhance that experience and put you and your company just one step ahead of competition.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Mike Reeson
#4. January 18th, 2012, at 5:09 AM.

In my experience, you really need to use a landing page when engaging in a PPC campaign. It’s so critical to have really relevant pages to get your quality score up (and keep your costs down). Also, you don’t really use PPC for branding campaigns anyhow. Just a thought.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Mike Reeson
#5. January 18th, 2012, at 5:11 AM.

When it comes to PPC you really need to use a landing page as opposed to a homepage. Google really wants to see that relevance and will hammer your quality score if you don’t have it. Also…You shouldn’t really use PPC for branding. It is a direct sales tool.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com angola34
#6. January 18th, 2012, at 5:21 AM.

yeah agree with you all…. but no doubt that home page versus landing page.. in that home page weightage more compare to different pages.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Man And Van Wirral
#7. January 18th, 2012, at 8:43 AM.

thank you for all the information – i found just what i was looking for- have now bookmarked this site so i can return – thank you

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#8. January 18th, 2012, at 1:16 PM.

I think most people anticipate a barrage of links when they go to a home page. Looking up specific search terms in Google, I usually get someones directory pages or a subdomain anyway. There are few sites i visit frequently ive not even seen the homepage of. My 2 cents, but nice article.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Adrian@Panoramic Universal Ltd.
#9. January 19th, 2012, at 12:45 PM.

Biljana, you have introduced the real time scenario of mine. I strongly agree with you regarding the two distinct cases of Landing pages and homepage. If the Landing page is same as that of Homepage the situation is much easy to handle but when it becomes different(as usual) we need to think in two directions for the PPC campaigns. nice Post.. Loved the case of Cars! Thanks

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#10. January 19th, 2012, at 1:10 PM.

you said rightly all the content whether home page or landing must be useful to readers, it will increase there time span on particular page, result into better presence in search engine result pages.

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#11. January 19th, 2012, at 1:21 PM.

I think home page is the most important landing page, but if you want to have more keywords, you have to get more than your home page.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Kris
#12. January 19th, 2012, at 3:47 PM.

This is a well thought out explanation of a well used scenario on many websites. This model has been very successful and is being addopted by many more website as time goes on.

This model I find is extremely successful for websites that offer a wide variety of product types or services. This is obviously why you used the case of a car manufacturer who could have a number of different cars all sold through one site.

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#13. January 20th, 2012, at 6:27 PM.

Landing pages are very specific and straight to the point, that is what draws in traffic the most.

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#14. January 20th, 2012, at 6:29 PM.

A very well structured home page can be more effective than a cheesy landing page from my research and testing.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Techsawy
#15. January 21st, 2012, at 3:03 PM.

I think home page is the most important landing page, but if you want to have more keywords, you have to get more than your home page.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Phim
#16. January 22nd, 2012, at 1:52 AM.

THank you for your post

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#17. January 22nd, 2012, at 5:26 PM.

According to my personal experience, almost all that is said here is effective. I usually concentrate more on the landing pages. They get the most valuable traffic from the search engines and must be well made.

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#18. January 23rd, 2012, at 10:00 AM.

Landing pages are usually a single page site that has one specific purpose to sell something…
I guess landing pages have longer copy than a home page….

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Mike @ the photographers and computer technician resource
#19. January 24th, 2012, at 3:43 AM.

I don’t understand the idea behind this either. My home page is constantly changing, with every new update it changes yet again. It is good to know, though, that I need to focus more on landing pages.

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#20. January 25th, 2012, at 12:44 AM.

Landing Page is a king for me because landing page is any page on a certain website where traffic is sent specifically to prompt a certain action or result which visitors were going to land.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Venus@Social Network Design
#21. January 25th, 2012, at 11:36 AM.

Very well explained.I once targeted a keyword at my home page (because it has high authority)and observed that beside increase in number of visitors, the number of enquiry generated were not good enough.Than I realized that the bounce rate was very high because of landing page.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Pierro@Journey To Profitability
#22. January 28th, 2012, at 2:20 PM.

Thanks for the blogroll and shoutout. You’re on my reading list as you provide great info and you blog regularly. Keep on bloggin’

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Richard kitchenaid
#23. January 30th, 2012, at 1:41 PM.

While it’s definitely annoying searching for something exact and ending up on a page filled with vague loosely related tripe, it doesn’t really start to annoy me to much until the 4th or 5th time in a row, most people understand that the web is awash with info and it can take a bit of searching to get what you want . . . at least I think they do.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Hilywatson
#24. February 1st, 2012, at 9:44 AM.

As this is one of the most cofusing aspects in PPC and genrally folks get mixed up these two as they find no difference between these two pages.

But these two pages work smartly for us and help lot in promoting business only if we know what the difference and on basis of that how to create complete and successful home and landing pages.

Anyway thanks a lot for this highly informative post.

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#25. February 2nd, 2012, at 4:28 PM.

A lot of clutter, especially above the fold definitely isn’t good. Its odd, but flow is harder to see for the webmaster than the person visiting, at least to me that is. But thanks, i simplified my home page after i read this.

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#26. February 6th, 2012, at 6:28 AM.

I’m just learning so I don’t know much about landing pages but I was told that they are very effective in selling online. So where do I go to learn landing page design and creation?

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#27. February 6th, 2012, at 8:31 AM.

Where do you file these SEO Landing Pages? Do you put them under the “Resources” category, have a link in the navigation to the “Resources” page and then list the links to all the SEO landing pages? How about a blog post? Can a blog post serve as an SEO landing page?

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#28. February 7th, 2012, at 6:05 AM.

Absolutely true. Landing page should be targeted for the specific keywords or phrases which people search for and come up.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com koolasma
#29. February 11th, 2012, at 4:59 PM.

I think home page is the most important landing page..
this is one of the most cofusing aspects in PPC and genrally folks get mixed up these two as they find no difference between these two pages.
thanks a lot for this highly informative post… keep sharing :)

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#30. February 16th, 2012, at 3:40 AM.

Something I realised when looking at my webtools is how little people looking for services browse sites. As long as they can find a phone number, that’s all they’re really bothered about. The majority of my site goes unseen as people just find the phone number on the front page and then close the site down. As long as they’re finding it who cares I guess..

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#31. February 21st, 2012, at 5:23 AM.

Very good points. It’s definitely a nuisance when you click a search result that sounds promising and it ends up being crap. Thanks for the post!

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#32. February 22nd, 2012, at 7:24 AM.

Landing page and home page both are the most important aspects for making a sale. I always confused in them but after reading this i got some ideas about them. Thanks for making a such informative post.

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#33. February 24th, 2012, at 9:52 AM.

Yes, As an online business, we have to make sure our website and landing pages are high quality.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com FoxyReign
#34. February 26th, 2012, at 1:49 AM.

Do you recommend using WordPress in doing landing pages?

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Jim
#35. March 8th, 2012, at 4:14 AM.

Good points! I design the home page to invite them in to my website. Landing pages have to sell them. And writing a good landing page, well that’s where the rubber meets the road. Thanks for the post!

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#36. March 8th, 2012, at 5:28 AM.

Do not forget the loading page, the faster loading page, the easier it is visitors who are reading our site contains, and of course useful and original content that lulu Copyscape,just my 2cent :)

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Hr Pro
#37. March 13th, 2012, at 9:30 AM.

Yes the loading time of the pages matters most, and every search engine prefers the rapid and fast loading page! So never make any kind of compromise with the page load speed! There are many tools available in the internet to check the page load speed of the webapges. in fact Google itself has got tools to check the page load test! Thanks!

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com piyush technoindian
#38. March 17th, 2012, at 12:10 PM.

Oh yes landing pages must contain useful information that could make the visitor to stay longer on website and also trust that website

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Kathy
#39. March 20th, 2012, at 5:13 AM.

Home page must have good content with informational keywords and our landing page must have transactional keywords which will help in sale.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com kate winslet
#40. March 21st, 2012, at 9:25 AM.

I think home page is something on which you introduce theme of your business and services and products you offer which must not be compared with landing page which may be built and designed for specific promotional campaign keep in mind the audience which you are targeting from that campaign only. It might be specific to certain group of products or services which you want to highlight more on landing page.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Diyanaa
#41. March 22nd, 2012, at 6:46 AM.

In My experience, almost all that is said here is effective. My home page is update it changes yet again. You’re on my reading list as you provide great and you blog regularly..

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#42. March 26th, 2012, at 5:18 PM.

Landing pages have always been vital for PPC campaigns to get up your conversions, as long as you use them properly, for SEO landing pages are fairly essential as well of course.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com rebekah
#43. March 28th, 2012, at 7:58 PM.

Thank you for finally explaining what a landing page is to me! I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it for months because no one could actually explain it clearly. I think I might make one for one of my websites. It covers a wide range of topics but brings in a lot of viewers on one topic in particular. The homepage doesn’t really reflect this topic that they are looking for and I think a landing page can solve that problem.

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#44. March 29th, 2012, at 4:21 PM.

According to my knowledge Landing pages can help in home page popularity!!

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#45. April 3rd, 2012, at 9:51 AM.

In my opinion well designed home page can more effective than a landing page. Thanks for sharing this information with us.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Brian
#46. April 4th, 2012, at 5:30 AM.

When you’re aiming for organic traffic, it’s natural to end up sending traffic to “landing pages.” After all, those are the pages attracting the search engines attention. PPC advertising is a whole nother world, though… you can direct all your ads at a home page, but you’re right that you need to specialize things. Set up multiple campaigns, and make sure that the landing page matches the ad copy and drives the visitor to a specific call to action.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Rex R
#47. April 5th, 2012, at 12:53 PM.

If you apply this to the law firm authority review site, you could potentially be building a site with literally hundreds, possibly even thousands of pages if each law firm’s description and independent reviews are located on it’s own page, as well as central pages for cities and states, to contain links to the individual firm’s pages within your site.

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