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Landing Page Optimization: Category vs. Product Pages

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This is an interesting topic because it relates to both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as well as Search Engine Marketing (SEM). I would like to keep this post as specific as possible, so I am going to approach ‘Landing Page Optimization’ from a SEM prospective. Furthermore, I’d like to talk about which serves as a better landing page – category, or product pages?

Customers are generally spending the majority of their time on the web doing research (the rest is spent on Facebook). That’s why webmasters, developers and search engine optimizers are heavily focused on the design and content of their pages. If relevant, visitors will land on your site, spend time browsing your catalog, sign up for a newsletter, visit your store, call your customer service line or best of all – they will buy from your site.

As a Search Engine Marketer, I am constantly coached by industry experts to test, test, test. A common form for Adwords is testing two ads together and then determining which is your “Champion Ad”. I learned this term from an edition of SEOmoz’s Whiteboard Friday featuring Add Three principal Brian Rauschenbach. So, how do you determine your champion ad?

Category Pages

It is more common for site owners and marketers to direct traffic to their main category pages. Obviously a generic search for “electric guitar” should land you on a category page that displays a catalog of electric guitars. The problem with generic searches is we don’t know anymore information other than “electric guitars”. What brand of guitar? How many strings? What model?

Product Pages

I like product pages because there is more of a focus associated with the keyword search. This example “Deering Goodtime Banjo” lands the visitor on a product page of a Deering Goodtime Banjo. Product pages are valuable because you can build great content for visitors to conduct their research, and really differentiate your site from your competitors. The problem with product specific pages is it segments one product from a whole line of products.

Product Category PagesThe Hybrid

Any search related to a branded product can be considered a hybrid landing page. It is a product/category landing page that is extremely relevant to search terms such as “Squier Guitars”. The quality of your ads will see an increase because the relevance of the landing page matches the keyword being searched.

Does this mean you are more likely to see a rise in conversions?

The answer folks, is no. However what you will find is more consistency in your ad performance. These are the types of pages you need to constantly be testing.

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