One of the most com­mon ques­tions we get at OTTO Dig­i­tal is: “How can I opti­mize my site’s land­ing pages?” This is a great ques­tion! After all, you’re likely pay­ing good money to drive users to your land­ing pages, so it only makes sense to put effort into mak­ing sure that users actu­ally take an action once they’ve arrived.

But where should you start?  There’s no sub­sti­tute for actu­ally run­ning tests on your pages, but if you’re start­ing from scratch, it makes sense to make sure you’ve checked off on these five land­ing page fundamentals.

Fun­da­men­tal 1: Rein­force the search term

By def­i­n­i­tion, users “land” on a land­ing page because they’ve typed in a spe­cific search term and clicked on a search result. So it might sur­prise you how rarely that land­ing pages actu­ally rein­force this key piece of info that the user has provided.

For instance, let’s say a user types in the search term “online stock trad­ing.”  I’d wager that it’s pretty clear what the user is look­ing for!   So, why would you send them to a page that’s labeled “Explore our Suite of Online Finan­cial Ser­vices”?  Way too gen­eral and com­pli­cated for the user to decipher!

Make sure your land­ing page speaks directly to the search term.  It’s worth it.

Fun­da­men­tal 2: Present a clear call to action

Once users arrive on your land­ing page, they are look­ing to com­plete an action.  Don’t make it hard for them! Give them a clear path to com­plete the task they came to accomplish.

Take a look at your own land­ing page with a fresh set of eyes.  Is the key call to action clearly vis­i­ble on your page?   If not, start remov­ing the things that are get­ting in the way.   Which leads me to the next fundamental…

Fun­da­men­tal 3: Less is more

The biggest mis­take most sites make is in putting too much infor­ma­tion on their land­ing page.  Remem­ber, searchers are task ori­ented.   They are look­ing for an effi­cient, easy and eco­nomic way to meet a par­tic­u­lar need.  Make sure every word and image on your land­ing­page serves this goal.

Fun­da­men­tal 4: Keep options to a minimum

All right, your user has typed in “online stock trad­ing.” They’ve arrived at your page, judged it rel­e­vant, found a clear call to action and they’re ready to move for­ward.  But wait – now they have to choose between three dif­fer­ent trad­ing plans.   Sud­denly this just got very complicated.

Except in cases where options can be clearly stated in an easy-to-read grid (like cell phone plans or tax soft­ware), it’s best not to con­front the user with too many options on your land­ing page.   Keep it sim­ple. After all, no one wants to make the wrong choice.

Fun­da­men­tal 5: You have three sec­onds; make them count

That’s right, you have about three sec­onds for your users to decide whether to invest their time with you or to hit their browser’s “Back” but­ton.  Think about your own expe­ri­ence search­ing and you’ll real­ize how lit­tle time you give the land­ing pages that you come across. Look at your site’s land­ing page and count to three.

How does your page stack up?

Like I said before, noth­ing can replace a pro­gram of ongo­ing test­ing, tar­get­ing and opti­miza­tion.  But these land­ing page fun­da­men­tals are a great place to start.

Alison Terrell
Alison Terrell

Hi John, Great post. Do you have any examples of landing pages that are following the fundamental steps? Thanks, Alison


The web is a multi-lingual environment. By translating your landing page and conversion tunnel, you are making your company product and services accessible to customers around the globe. FACTS ABOUT INTERNET: 1. Over 65% of Internet users speak a native language other than English 2. People are three times more likely to buy a product available to them in their native language 3. Google provides Multilingual Platforms and crawls Web Pages in more than 30 Languages 4. Online foreign language markets are growing at a faster pace than the English speaking ones. 5. More than 20% of Americans Browse and Search in the Internet using Non-English Languages

BJ Wright
BJ Wright

Excellent tip list, it's amazing how bad some landing pages really are. We have a long way too go.

Wil Reynolds
Wil Reynolds

John, this was quick and easy to digest, thank you for sharing.


The post is very helpful for me. Simple but with solid message. Hope to see some kinda Search Engine Marketing tips. Thanks, Mello