SEO, SEM and Landing Page Relevance in Search

Shopping at and after the holidays can be a frustrating ordeal as can finding a place to stay. The SERPs are full of useless results no matter how carefully you qualify your search for the perfect gift or place to stay. Add to the mix an inappropriate landing page for the PPC ads you select and tempers can boil.

As SEMs and SEOs, we strive to optimise our pages for the appropriate key phrases (*AHEM*) and land customers at pages which suit their needs and desires in accordance with their search. With paid adverts, landing a searcher at the right page can seem easier than pure optimised pages, especially when pesky internal navigation skews relevancy.

With 80% of searchers clicking on an organic result, relevant landing pages are the most important area to get correct. Focus too much on semantically related terminology and inbound links and too little on users and it may result in more page views but fewer conversions. Not focusing enough on whatsearch engineswant and only on pages for the end user may result in higher conversions for the few who find you, but so few find you that it becomes irrelevant.

Striking the balance is what a good search marketer and optimisation practitioner can do for you but how do you do it yourself? Thinking like both a user and search engine is one of the most difficult things to get right. Too much optimising and youll find yourself penalised, too little and youll not find yourself. Where are the rules written down how do you find the magic formula?

90% of the secret to landing people on the relevant landing page for a search is freely available online. Rand Fishkinhas posited that SEO/M is 90% published materialand the other 10% is secret but where the difference is made. Reading the SEO Chicks blog, SEO Book, SEOmoz, and other excellent sources will help give you an edge online.

Optimising for paid adverts may seem easy and yet it is also one of the places we mock for lack of focus and inappropriate adverts (zombie zombies?)landing us at non-existent pages(search for “stuffed animal”).At PubCon, one of the speakers pointed out that there were double the number of blog posts about SEO vs PPC.

Do a search on for chocolateand youll be faced with both the yummy treat adverts and a mobile phone advert. Here LG is ensuring a lost searcher can still find their phone without adjusting their search and Hotel Chocolat is ensuring a searcher finds them before The Chocolate Society(YUM). Plenty of bad PPC advert matches can be found though showing how difficult it can be.

Paid search advertising may only command 20% of the clicks but it is not something to be ignored. By creating a compelling ad landing a user at a relevant page the conversion rate can climb through the roof. Paid search marketingcan help to raise brand awareness in some searches, and fix possible problems with targeted landing pages for others.

Paid search advertising can beautifully compliment organic search,increasing awareness in the searcher and helping ensure the right landing page is always available.

Make shoppers and travellers happy this holiday season. Land them at the relevant page through optimisation and paid search working hand-in-hand.