In a perfect world, all landing pages on the web would contain rich content that serves to provide users with an honest and accurate solution to their queries. Unfortunately, many “black hat” SEO tactics have spoiled the quality of landing page content within search engine result pages (SERPs), forcing Google to take action by imposing algorithmic penalties.
When building landing pages, be sure to follow the same quality guidelines as other webpages. If done properly, landing pages are a great way to bring a targeted audience to a page that speaks exactly to their wants or needs, an approach known as vertical marketing.
So, what exactly does Google penalize for? Well, here are a few tactics that will certainly get you into trouble:
Duplicate, Spam Content
Google does not like crawling two pages with the same content, especially if the content is spam or “scraped” from another website. If your site contains landing pages with duplicate content, be sure to add the rel=”canonical” tag to the <head> section of each non-canonical page. This will tell Google which version is the original.
Keyword stuffing involves deceiving search engines by “stuffing” unrelated keywords onto a landing page. This is a big no-no and is a sure way to get your site penalized. Don’t fluff your landing pages with thin content, and be sure to write for people, not search engines.
Purchasing links from a scheme or “farm” is deemed to be a method of manipulating PageRank, which Google is trying to curtail with the Penguin update. For SEO-friendly landing pages, don’t give into the hype of purchasing thousands of unknown links, no matter how good the deal may seem.
Always show the same content or URLs to human users and search engines alike. Never hide text or links when building your landing pages, as Google will impose a penalty that could ban your site from search results.
Slow Page Load Time
Slow page load is not only frustrating for users, but Google may penalize your site if multiple landing pages are not responding promptly. Be sure to audit your landing pages often to be sure that your site is loading quickly for both mobile and non-mobile users. Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a great tool that will help you analyze load times. At Gravitate, a PageSpeed score of 80 or better is considered optimal.
SEO Best Practice: Quality Content
There are many other forms of manipulative practices that Google may penalize you for, and the above list only scratches the surface. Of course, Google could easily bury your site within the search results if you utilize other deceptive techniques, so be sure to exercise caution when building your landing pages.
Always remember that Google’s sole focus is to provide the highest-quality content that is relevant and useful to a user’s query. Any technique or method that stifles Google’s ability to deliver upon this goal will most likely lead to a penalty and a sudden drop in site traffic.