How About Landing Pages For The Social Media Visitor?

Marketers generally create landing pages for pay-per-click campaigns or other advertising campaigns. So, why not create them for social media sites? Granted, it may seem impossible because it is hard to change the layout of your blog or website just for visitors from like Digg, Netscape, and StumbleUpon. However, you can make it so that if a visitor came from a social site, they would see a different design.

Let’s take Search Engine Land as an example to explore this possibility. Here are things from the current design that you might remove for any visitor coming from a social media site:

1. Advertisements


Visitors from social media sites generally hate advertisements. They usually aren’t going to click on them either, so there is no point in having them unless you have CPM-based advertisements. By not showing ads to social media visitors, it will also seem like you aren’t making money, which is usually good, because many of these visitors don’t like websites making money off of “their” traffic.

2. Navigation

Side Navigation

All the items in the sidebar should be removed because it can cause users to navigate your whole site or other sites that you link to. The last thing you want these visitors to do is navigate your site and possibly find something they don’t like, which would decrease the chances of your site doing well on social sites. You also don’t want to link to other sites because they may leave your site and then forget to vote for your story.

3. Social Media Buttons

Sharing Options

There is nothing wrong with placing social media buttons on your site so your visitors vote for your stories, but you don’t want to show them off to visitors that come to your site from a social site. Some may feel you only care for traffic, or that you may care for other social sites and not the one they use. A lot of these visitors are loyal and don’t like social sites that they don’t use.

4. Sponsored Links

Sponsored Links

Paid text links are usually affiliated with SEO and some social media visitors may feel your site supports Internet spam. [Editor's Note: Our sponsored links use nofollow for search engines that don't get the JavaScript-based unit, meaning they are within search engine guidelines -- not that, as I explained in Time For Google To Give Up The Fight Against Paid Links?, that anyone can easily tell the "good" paid links from the "bad" ones].

The Social Media Visitor-Friendly Site

Here’s a screenshot of new design just for social media visitors:

Search Engine Land Designed For Social Media Visitors

All of the marked boxes in the first screenshot were removed form this screenshot, plus I added one more element, marked 6, and outlined in red.

This element has pictures of the Macintosh and Firefox logos because many social site users love these products and services. By adding them, you are appealing to them, which may cause them to vote on your story.

You don’t want to necessarily use the social media design for all of your visitors, but if you really want to maximize your website for visitors from social websites, you may want to display a different design for them. Test it out; you will see a world of difference. I am not advocating that you deceive your visitors. You should just find ways to make them feel comfortable, and ultimately your content speaks for itself.

Neil Patel is co-founder and CTO of ACS and writes regularly on social media issues through the company’s blog, Pronet Advertising. The Let’s Get Social column appears Tuesdays at Search Engine Land.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Search & Social | Social Media Marketing


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  • Lee Odden

    That makes a lot of sense Neil. Landing pages are good for email, PPC and optimized press releases, why not social news? A question that comes to mind is that the other landing page formats are for converting visitors. What would a social media visitor convert to? A subscriber?

  • feedthebot

    Great write up and example. This very simple idea hasn’t really been talked about much and the specific examples of factors that could changed and why you might change them is very illuminating, thanks.

  • Jamie

    Lee, I’d guess it’d depend on the site, but I take it that with social meia you’re often looking for links

  • Neil Patel

    Lee, in most cases the conversion would be RSS subscribers or links. But as Jamie mentioned it can very depending on the sites goals.

  • Jonathan Mendez

    That’s a great topic and great advice in general but everything depends on the goals of the site and the goals of the users. Until you have a goal, as Lee mentioned, it’s hard to create a landing page optimization strategy for any site.

    Still, for optimizing content based sites of which SM falls under engagement metrics are ususally key. It’s likely a user will need to read and find relevant more than one piece of content before they subscribe to RSS. Othaer actionable metrics to optimize to are return visitors and actions such as voting, commenting, etc.

  • thelactivist

    Well Neil, I’ve got to call you on this one…

    A Rebuttal to Neil Patel’s Social Media Landing Page Article –

    I mean giving away a free iPod to every visitor would make SM users happy and drive traffic too, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for business. ;)

  • mblair

    Jennifer – While I agree with the spirit of your rebuttal, in practical terms I think that Neil has a point, at least when it comes to Digg.

    Digg users, in general, are hawkishly defending the commercialization of their system and they are predisposed to dislike anything to do with SEO because they have a strong dislike for the visible negative effects of SEO (spam).

    Digg’s bury button is a powerful tool in the hands of Digg users and it is wielded relatively indiscriminately against sites that have even a whiff of commercialization or SEO on a regular basis. For many sites, Neil’s approach is the only chance of not having a story buried on Digg. Sure it is stealthy, but when you encounter such strong bias the only way for a site to participate in Digg is often to blend in.

    It seems absurd — I mean, Digg even offers voting widgets for blogs — but the presence of a voting widget gives some Digg users the impression that a site is trawling for votes.

    Where I do side with you is that I think Neil takes far too many risks with this approach to the landing pages. By deviating so far from the ‘normal’ look of the site it risks a Digg user finding out and the whole thing backfiring quick in the comments on the post. It might work a little bit, but eventually its going to bring on a heck of a backlash.

    As you essentially say in your piece — “too thine own self be true”. To me there is a big difference between masking advertising, out of convenience to Digg users and masking navigation to hide the rest of the site, adding Made for Mac buttons, etc.

    It would be interesting to test a variant that includes some disclosure for Digg users — I do believe that tailoring the presentation based upon the referring site is good practice, but since social media has a long memory its best to tread warily and honestly.

  • Everett

    I promised myself I wasn’t going to comment on blogs that nofollow links from people who take the time to contribute to their blog for no personal gain other than to join in the conversation and give free user-generated content to the blog owner, but oh well… I digress.

    Niel, do you suggest creating a separate page, or rather getting sophisticated enough to cloak for referrals from and other social media sites? Which do you think is the better approach and why?

  • iMarketingGuru

    As I was going over this, I realized a close conclusion to what was studied in this article. Social traffic hates ads, but what about optimized ads that are perfectly integrated into the content? I’ve been testing perfect integration and I think that social site traffic may not dislike it as much as was shown in this article. Also, a person who submits their site to a social site and hopes to get traffic needs to first have their content all cleaned up and comprehensive – I would personally hate social traffic coming through my site without my site being clean and perfect for their readership. If you have bad content, you don’t belong in the social news sites. I believe in transparency when it comes to the navigation instance of this article.

    Lastly, bigger advertisements such as banner ads/rich media advertising I believe are terrible for social sites, but I also think that perfect contextual ad placement may give a good advertising compensation result. The main question one must ask when driving traffic to their site is what is the number one thing you want to accomplish with the traffic? Then focus the traffic’s energy on that one action you wish them to take.

  • iMarketingGuru

    Hey, better than free iPods to all SM visitors…CPA ads for free iPods with you making money off of them only submitting their zip codes…=o). I need to start that piece of action ASAP. Great post


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