At the moment I’m writing a number of sector-specific landing pages for a client’s Web site. The client is involved in the automation industry and wants everyone who searches for ‘automation widget in my industry’ to find their landing page in Google, follow a link to it and then enquire.

There are some rules to writing this kind of page. Like all rules you can break them if you have a moment of genius but they do make a pretty good basis for those days when, like most of us, you aren’t operating at genius level!

So, the first thing to do is capture the correct information. This is likely to be held in the head of someone who works for the company that operates the Web site – probably your company as there are far more industrial marketingmanagers reading this than there technical PR consultants. So you will need to interview them to find out:

1. What the company offers to that specific sector?
2. How do potential customers refer to their sector (for instance, do ‘oil and gas’ people call it ‘oil and gas’, or do the call it ‘offshore’?)
3. Who do you wish to appeal to in that sector, by job title ideally?
4. Why would they be interested in your offer?
5. What information do they need to do to participate/purchase?

Once you have this information, you can apply the following rules and write your content:

Put the most important thing first! This is a landing page, not a feature article for The Guardian. You need to get straight to the important bit because the reader isn’t going to give you the grace needed to set the scene first. You can use the answer to the question, ‘Why would then be interested in your offer?’ here!

Make your meta description tag into a call to arms: This will probably populate the snippet that appears beneath the title in Google and most other search engines. As a result you need a pithy 160 character call to action here, ideally including your phone number. Use the answers to questions one, two and three here at least.

Match your key words to the important places on the page: Notably the ALT attributes, the title tag for the page, the title tag for any links on the page and the first and last link on the page itself. I think it goes without saying that they also need to be in the content! Again, you should be thinking about the answers to question one, two and three.

Match your headline to the likely search terms: The headline of the page should contain the key phrases you are looking to show up under. This serves two purposes, it means that your ‘H1’ tag will contain your key search terms and secondly it means that the reader will immediately see and respond to the term they typed into Google originally. Again, you should be thinking about the answers to question one, two and three.

Provide an immediate contact opportunity but only ask for enough information to complete the sale! Remember, this is a landing page. It should tell the user just enough to prompt an enquiry and make it easy to make that enquiry. So only ask for the data you need to contact them.

Write in the second person (you, your, not us, ours): It should all be about the reader and their needs, after all.

Write for the screen and keep it above the fold: Most people use a relatively small screen size, so you need to ensure that the majority of your text, and certainly the most important parts, remain ‘above the fold’, which means visible without having to scroll downwards.

People often read the end second. Make it a good call to action: Just like the ‘PS’ in a letter, people will often read the last paragraph of your landing page after they have read the first paragraph. I know it’s not logical, but lots of us do it. So the last paragraph should contain a strong offer to prompt the read to take action. The answer to question two might well help you create a sense of empathy in this section.

And remember, you can break the rules if they involve your interaction with a person, but not if they involve your interaction with a search engine. Search engines don’t respond to creativity very well – they are much better with plain old clarity.

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