The importance of strong category landing pages
Customised landing pages are nothing new to the world of PPC ads. Clicking on the sponsored search result would take the person to the landing page from which they might go onto the rest of the site. However, building strong landing pages for category pages on e-commerce sites is becoming a priority in itself – with or without PPC activity. It was thought that the best way of doing things was to structure the site so that people could reach the content that they wanted in as few click as possible. That’s all good and well for customers with a specific product in mind. But what about everyone else? Users aren’t always sure of the specific products or services they’re after, maybe they’re looking to ‘browse’ or compare different styles, trends and sub-ranges. A page of products simply doesn’t tick that box.
A category landing page needs to almost be a homepage within itself. Say you ran an online fashion retailer. An example of a category landing could be one for dresses. It would act as a ‘homepage’ for the dress section of your business. You could use it to highlight seasonal trends or to showcase a lookbook of dresses in a certain colour – autumnal aubergine, let’s say. The page could differ from purely static content and include a widget that dynamically pulls in your blog content relating to dresses. You could equally well have category landing pages for jackets, trousers and accessories.
The most important thing a category landing page can do is to inform people of the products or services that a business can offer. There needs to be plenty of good text that informs your audience and prospective customers about your products. This has two benefits. Firstly, it will push you up the search engine rankings. The average page at the top of Google’s search results contains 1,890 words. The more text that is on your page, the more likely it is to show up at the top of results. Secondly, it offers the visitor to the site lots of information that they will find relevant to what they are looking for. Having a lot of text alone will not make it a successful category landing page; it needs to be good content in order to fulfil this two-fold function
Having text on a page is all well and good but, if it is organised into one huge block, very few people are going to take the time to read it. The text needs to be sectioned out across the page. ‘Read more’ buttons can be used to hide some of the text if necessary, allowing the user to only really see information that is relevant to what they want to find out (in short: information they can be bothered to read).
The best landing pages have more than just well-organised text. They have a mix of content forms. Good, varied content also gives you the opportunity to organise your page in a way that works aesthetically. Images and video content are important as they enable the viewer to quickly scroll through your landing page to the place where they want to end up. Including videos and images on your landing page will increase your Google ranking. Pages with images outperform content without any images.
Category pages need to offer your users a broad range of propositions. You need to give them the content that they want to read as well as pointing them to information that will inform them further. These pages need to be guides to your business and product rather than pages that are constantly pushing the user to convert. This may seem slightly counterintuitive but, by not constantly trying to get visitors to your site to convert and by educating them instead, you will create informed users. Getting people to engage with your brand in this way will lead to a longer-term, more valuable increase in sales and consumer loyalty. Users who feel like they have been educated by your site are far more likely to be loyal to your brand and to potentially become its long-term advocates.
Users who reach your site for something very specific – a floral print knotted dress, let’s say – don’t want educating, they’re well informed, they’ve finished browsing and know what they want. In these instances, give them what they want and give it to them quickly. Show them the product and how they can convert.
There are multiple benefits to category landing pages. They encouraging greater brand loyalty, push you up Google’s search rankings and educate people about your products. This will all serve to increase the traffic to your site and improve the brand loyalty of your customers.