Once upon a time in the good old days of SEO, landing pages were a simple, effective method of getting a specific keyword phrase to rank in the SERP’s. Fast forward into an SEO era revolving around the Hummingbird algorithm and the landing page is a very different tool.
What is a landing page?
A landing page in its most simplistic entirety is the page you would expect to land on if someone searches for a specific keyword phrase. If someone enters the search query ‘Forza Motorsport 4 on Xbox 360’ and you have a page associated around this specific game on this specific games console, this would be the landing page that Google shows up in the SERPs.
The Hummingbird algorithm effectively smartens the Google search engine. It does this by looking at the context of a page as opposed to the mentioning of individual words. Many moons ago, you could rank your keyword higher by simply spamming your desired keyword phrase repeatedly throughout a landing page.
In a post Hummingbird world however, the algorithm focuses on the relevancy of a page by reading further into the context of the onpage content and SEO. This obviously has a number of advantages and disadvantages:
|If your page is focused around a generic topic, it is likely to rank for longer tailed keywords.||Relevancy of the content is the ranking factor, not simply the number of times the keyword phrase is repeated.|
|It improves the user experience as it sifts through pages to find the most relevant to your search query.||Content must be long, factual and relevant.|
|Market leaders in a specific industry (with knowledge and facts expressed in detailed content) are much more likely to rank higher.||Google graphs and Information Cards are answering the searcher’s questions before websites have a chance.|
|Easier to target backlinks from high DA websites i.e. news websites||Keywords are less important.|
So, how does this change a landing page?
The biggest thing to take from the Hummingbird algorithm is the decrease in importance when it comes to keywords. The focus of a landing page should be a TOPIC, not a specific keyword phrase that you want to rank well for. In turn, the intelligence behind the algorithm can allow your desired keyword and relevant longer tailed keywords to rank highly.
The perfect example of a post-Hummingbird landing page would be to take an example such as a car and accessories shop. Instead of creating a specific landing pages for ‘Ford Mondeo’, ‘Ford Mondeo windscreen wipers’, ‘Ford Mondeo alloys’ etc. you would create a landing page in which all of these can found.
Google and the Hummingbird algorithm love this because it meets certain criteria such as relevancy, similar keywords phrases and most likely content length. Creating landing pages that focus on a generic topic is therefore much more effective than a page per specific item.
Hummingbird has really changed the way in which a landing is page is used. It takes into account the user experience which ties into what is mentioned above. If a user searches for ‘Ford Mondeo accessories’, chances are they are interested in seeing a range of accessories, not just windscreen wipers.
And in a similar fashion, the Hummingbird algorithm understands that certain keyword phrases are similar and there is a chance that a user will want to land on a page containing relevant information.
A study performed by Searchmetrics shows how two different search terms; ‘bang hairstyles’ and ‘hairstyles with bangs’ found very similar results in the SERPs, even though the search queries can mean different things.
Key points to a landing page:
- Must contain relevant, lengthy content containing a number of similar keyword phrases.
- Content must be designed for the user – This allows for good user experience and encourage click through rates (the leading ranking factor in 2014).
- The landing page must focus around a topic, not a specific keyword phrase.