AccessibilityLanding page best practices & accessibility: SEO and PPC by The Pilot Team December 7, 2023 Updated: December 7, 2023 A successful landing page blends design with function, guiding users clearly and swiftly. A simple, clutter-free layout with concise content is key. Incorporating trust elements like testimonials can enhance engagement. And in today’s inclusive era, ensuring accessibility for all users is paramount. In this post we’ll cover: Why accessibility is important for landing pages SEO best practices for landing pages Using landing pages for PPC ad campaigns Accessibility best practices for building landing pages Accessible landing pages ensure that everyone, regardless of ability, can interact with and benefit from the content offered. By prioritizing inclusivity, businesses can reach a wider audience and demonstrate a commitment to equality and social responsibility. Also, accessible designs often lead to a more intuitive user experience for all, reinforcing the value of putting accessibility at the forefront. Ensuring that your online content is accessible to all users, regardless of their ability-status, is not only a moral obligation but a crucial aspect of effective web design. Landing pages, often the first point of contact with potential clients or users, are no exception to this rule. Prioritizing accessibility in your landing page design not only broadens your audience reach but can also enhance user experience, brand perception, and even conversion rates. Implementing accessible elements on your landing page The internet is now used more than ever before, making accessibility more and more important for a website. By not adhering to accessibility guidelines, you exclude numerous users who depend on features such as alt text and color differentiation to perceive the material. Here are a few ways to implement accessibility into your landing-page strategy: Write with clear, easy to understand language Utilize proper color contrast Implement responsive web design to ensure that users can digest all the landing page information no matter what device they are using Add transcripts to audio and video content. Make sure your landing page is keyboard-navigable. This means that users should be able to navigate your page using the keyboard only, without having to use a mouse. Display clear calls-to-action that are more descriptive than “See all” or “Learn more.” Avoid using autoplay on videos. This can be disorienting for users with cognitive disabilities. Avoid using images of text. Instead, use actual text on the page that can be read by screen readers. When images of text are unavoidable, such as infographics, make sure the image has appropriate alt-text or the same information is conveyed through text on the page. Label all form fields clearly. This will help users with cognitive disabilities understand what information is required in each field. You can test the accessibility of your landing page using a variety of tools and resources. For example, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provide a set of standards for accessible web design. You can also use accessibility testing tools to identify any accessibility issues on your page. SEO for landing pages Following SEO best practices when building landing pages can help set up your page for success. Through exercises like keyword research and competitor research, you’ll be able to gain a wider knowledge of what people are using to search, and the strategies other sites are currently succeeding with for any particular service or product. As well, there’s quite a bit of overlap between SEO best practices and accessibility. Here are some strategies to optimize your landing pages for both search and user experience. Content hierarchy and heading organization A clear hierarchy helps users quickly understand the most important information and take the desired action, while good organization makes the page easy to scan and navigate. Here are some tips on how to implement content hierarchy for a landing page: Start with a solid goal. What do you want visitors to do on your landing page? Once you know your goal, you can prioritize your content accordingly. Use a logical content structure. The most important information should be at the top of the page, followed by less important information. You can use headings and subheadings to break up your content and make it easier to scan. Use visual elements to draw attention to the most important information. This could include using larger fonts, eye-catching text, or contrasting colors. You could also use images and videos to break up your text and make your page more visually appealing. Use white space on the page. White space is the empty space around your content. It can be used to make your page look less cluttered and more inviting. It can also help to highlight important information. Test and monitor the landing page performance. Once you have a draft of your landing page, it’s important to test it with users to see if it’s easy to understand and navigate. You can use A/B testing to experiment with different content hierarchies and see what works best for your audience. Landing pages with a clear content hierarchy and organization convert better. This is because users can quickly find the information they’re looking for and take the desired action, without getting lost or distracted. Clear and useful images When choosing images for your landing page, it is important to make sure that they are clear, relevant, and high-quality. Avoid using generic stock photos or images that are not relevant to your offer. Instead, use images that are specific to your product or service and that will help to convey your message effectively. Here are some websites that offer free, royalty-free images that are good to use for building landing pages: Pixabay Unsplash Pexels Freepik These websites are a great resource for finding free, high-quality images that you can use for your landing pages. Just be sure to read the licensing terms carefully before using any images, to make sure that you are allowed to use them for your intended purpose. Mobile responsiveness Making sure your landing pages are mobile-friendly and responsive is an essential part of any successful digital marketing strategy. Over half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices, so it’s crucial to make sure your landing pages look good and work well on all screens. Mobile-friendly landing pages are more likely to attract visitors, rank higher in search results, and convert more users. Using a responsive design that automatically adjusts to fit any device is important in making sure your landing page will look good no matter what device users are using! While building your landing page, you should also test the page on different devices and browser sizes to make sure there is a seamless transition among devices. Calls-to-action Consider what the main objective of the page is. Do you want users to sign up for a newsletter? To purchase and download an ebook? This answer will determine how you frame your calls-to-action (CTAs). Some examples of effective CTAs are: Specific and clear: Tell visitors exactly what you want them to do. For example, instead of saying “Click here,” say “Download our free ebook” or “Sign up for our newsletter.” Benefit-driven: Explain to visitors what they will get by taking the desired action. For example, instead of saying “Sign up,” say “Sign up and get 10% off your first order” or “Sign up and receive our exclusive newsletter.” Action-oriented: Use strong verbs to tell visitors what you want them to do. For example, instead of saying “Learn more,” say “Start your free trial” or “Book a demo.” While it might make sense to use shorter CTAs since you have content on your page that already may describe a service, CTAs that are too short can be ineffective. As well, nonspecific link text can be an accessibility issue for screen readers. However, it is important that CTAs are also not too long- they should be concise and specific about their purpose. Ineffective CTAs are: Generic: Avoid using generic CTAs like “Click here” or “Learn more.” These CTAs don’t tell visitors what they will get by taking the desired action. Passive: Avoid using passive voice in your CTAs. For example, instead of saying “Have an agent contact you,” say “Connect with an agent.” Confusing: Avoid using confusing CTAs that require visitors to think too hard about what you want them to do. For example, instead of saying “Find out more,” say “Download our pricing guide” or “Schedule a consultation.” Overall, CTAs are an essential part of any landing page. By using effective CTAs, you can increase conversion rates, generate more leads, and boost sales. Keyword targeting Your landing page should include a distinct keyword focus in order to let users and search engines know what the main idea of your page is. If you’re creating a page for, say, SEO consulting services in Chicago, then you should do some keyword research to determine common search terms used to look for those services. Keyword research is an essential part of any digital marketing strategy. By understanding the keywords that your target audience is using, you can create more relevant and successful marketing campaigns. Choose a primary keyword that your page will revolve around This is the keyword that you want your landing page to rank for in search engine results pages (SERPs). Your primary keyword should be relevant to your product or service, and it should have a decent search volume. Keyword placement This includes using your keywords in the page title, meta description, headings, subheadings, body text, and image alt text. However, be careful not to keyword stuff, as this can hurt your ranking. Instead, use your keywords in a natural and conversational way. Optimizing landing pages for PPC While traditionally viewed as separate entities, SEO and PPC possess a surprising synergy when applied to landing page optimization. Both share the common objective of maximizing conversions by fostering a compelling user experience Keyword focus The keyword focus of your page could also be influenced by a PPC ad campaign. For instance, if you’re running a Search campaign to target a particular service, it’s important to include the keywords you’re targeting in your campaign on your landing page, so that users know that they’re in the right place for getting what they need. Using SEO to create landing pages for PPC Typically, PPC and SEO teams can work together to create landing pages for specific pay-per-click ad campaigns. For most types of Google Ads PPC campaigns, having a well-designed landing page is crucial for achieving the best results. When creating a landing page for PPC it’s important to ensure it is accessible and well thought out. Make sure that the page has clear points of conversion, clear language and has a solid keyword focus. Additionally, you will want to make sure that the content on the page is organized in a way that effectively communicates the service and business. Approaching PPC with accessibility in mind Research your audience to ensure your content is inclusive A 2021 study conducted by McKinsey noted that approximately 66% of Americans agree that their “social values now shape their shopping choices.” Furthermore, in a 2019 study conducted by Think With Google, it was found that approximately 64% of users took action after deeming the ad they interacted with to be diverse or inclusive. These statistics show us that consumers are more and more taking into consideration the ethics and the motivations behind a company before they interact with, or purchase from, them. Additionally, it seems that the majority of users are actively looking for, and interacting with, advertisements that they see themselves reflected in, or are accessible to them. Organizations who choose to advertise their products or services, especially organizations that serve marginalized communities and populations, need to be certain that when they’re advertising, their audiences can reach their ads, interact with them, and eventually convert on their landing pages. They can do this by diligently researching their audience, and creating their campaigns, ad groups, and ads centered around the idea that this audience should have easy access to these ads. Create concise, accessible ads Creating accessible ads goes beyond ensuring that your ad copy is free of spelling errors. When constructing your ad campaigns, it’s important to take into consideration the potential hurdles some users may have to overcome in order to interact with your ads. Here are a few things you can do to ensure that your ads are accessible to a larger audience. Utilize relevant keywords. When researching for your campaigns, try to focus on keywords that are directly relevant to what you want your ad content to be, as well as the content on your landing pages. This not only improves the quality of your ads, but also helps users with screen readers understand the context. Try to distance yourself from vague keywords that could apply to several different industries, or several different users. Use descriptive ad copy. Utilize language that is straightforward and avoids ambiguity. Be sure to craft clear and concise ad copy that accurately represents your product or service, while also compelling your audience to click on your ad. Ensure your headings are relevant. Screen readers use headings to navigate content, so a well-organized structure is essential. If you’re using ad extensions or additional formatting, ensure that headings and formatting are used appropriately. Send your visitors to accessible landing pages. As mentioned, the accessibility of your ads extends to the landing page you’re sending users to. Creating ads from the landing page Additionally, when creating ads on platforms such as Google Ads, it is important to create the ads utilizing the landing page, not the other way around. For instance, if your landing page has several catch phrases, slogans, and call to actions, your ads should be a reflection of these, and include the same type of language as the page. Inversely, if your ad has several calls to action, promotions, etc. but your landing page is vacant of these things, this could confuse users, and potentially dissuade them from converting on your landing page. Utilize diverse images Images are a crucial opportunity to make a good first impression on a user. You’re not only communicating who you are as a company and what you do, you are communicating how you do it. Using diverse images in your ads can help users visualize themselves as your customer, and appeal to the many users who shop with their social values in mind. In a 2019 study by Adobe, 34% of Americans said they stopped supporting a brand whose marketing doesn’t represent their identity. People want to see themselves and their loved ones in the media- not just to understand that your product or service will work for them, but to feel valued. Who wants to interact with a company that makes you feel like they don’t care to have you as a customer? Michael P. Krone sums it up in his “Diversity Marketing & Cultural Awareness” paper: “If your customers are different to you and they feel unrecognized, you will begin to lose them.” Using diverse images in your ads doesn’t include just race or ethnicity; it also includes people of different genders and orientations, people of different sizes and body shapes, people with visible disabilities such as facial or limb differences, people using assistive devices, and more. It can also include people in different regions, religious groups, and socioeconomic classes. When building your ad campaign, consider diversifying your media so you don’t cut yourself off from entire groups of potential customers! Well-researched landing pages can reach more audiences and help you achieve business goals Before creating a landing page for your website, it’s important to determine the goal for your landing page. Your goal will help influence your keyword research which will help you identify the language you should use throughout your page copy. By following the best practices for SEO and PPC outlined in the post, you can create landing pages that are accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities. Making your landing pages accessible is not only the right thing to do, but it can also be good for business. When more people can access your content, you have a larger potential audience for your products or services. Additionally, accessible landing pages can improve your search engine rankings, as Google and other search engines give priority to accessible websites.