You are able to create different type of pages in Open Social. We already talked about the blog posts in the first Bookpage. But one of the most important pages for SEO is also the landing page. Like the name already implies, visitors land here if they enter your online community. They could land there e.g. via a search query in Google, a ad on Twitter, or a link from an external blog post. Content and site managers are able to create visually attractive landing pages in Open Social.
And you really have to create these! Because these potential visitors are in the later stages of the customer journey (consideration and purchase). They already have a specific reason to visit you. They are looking for you. Their objective is to visit communities like yours, read more about the community's topic, or even join the community. Thus, these visitors are really important for you. They could be your potential new members. But how do you reach these people? By optimizing your landing page for relevant keywords. In the following part, we tell you how to do that. Important note: in this case, we assume you know the keywords you want to optimize for (if you don’t, then here is a great article on Backlinko.com that can help you with a keyword research).
How to optimize your landing page?
Step 1: Create a new landing page
Click on the ‘+’ button in the header menu at the top, and select ‘New landing page’.
Step 2: Make sure the landing page is visible for everybody on the web
Select the ‘Public’-option for the Visibility in the Title section. Because only then the landing page is visible for Google's crawler. And that makes it possible for your landing page to appear in the search results.
Step 3: Create the most-optimized title that you can
The title is one of the most important content elements with SEO impact. The title is the first element Google sees when the Google crawler visits your community. This is the first possibility to show Google which keyword you want to rank for. That's the reason why Google values it a bit more than other content elements.
If you want to optimize your title, you have to keep the following in mind: put your most important keyword (as far as possible) at the beginning of the title. That gives you the most SEO value. Here’s an example to clarify this:
You have a community about dogs. You’re creating a landing page about the best ways to trim dogs and share the experiences of others. Your most important keyword is trim your dog.
A good title would be: How to trim your dog - Learn from others at Community Dog
A weak title would be: Visit Community Dog and learn from others how to trim your dog
Create the best title you can in the title field, and don’t put your keyword at the end.
Besides being the first element Google sees, it's also the first element a potential visitor sees when they enters a search query in Google. Together with the meta description, the title has to convince searchers to click on your search result. Thus, don't only focus on optimizing the title for keywords, but also think about the persuasiveness of your title. What makes a searcher click on your search result? Try to add these unique points to your title.
You can easily check which title you have written for the landing page by placing your mouse over the tab in your browser. See the result below.
Step 4: Create valuable content that answers visitors’ questions
To rank high in the search results of search engines, you need content. This is because search engines need content to read in order to know what your page is about and decide on which keywords they need to rank you on. A couple of years ago, it was really important to use your keywords a minimal of times (keyword density) and on certain places in the text. And that’s it. But times are changing. We moved from keyword-targeting to topic-targeting when it comes to optimizing your text for search engines (read this really nice guide on Moz.com if you want to learn more about ‘topic targeting’).
To add SEO content to your landing page, you have to add two sections to your page:
1. Hero section
You have to add the hero section to your landing page because this section has the second most important content element, namely the H1 (heading 1). After the Title, the H1 is the second element that Google sees. The H1 is the summary of the content and describes the subject of your content. The visitor uses the H1 to recognize whether they are on the right page. Besides that, it also convinces the visitors to read further, or at least to scan the rest of your page and content. Thus, an important content element because of different reasons.
In the example below, we added the text 'Trim your dog: Everything you have to know' as the H1. Just like the title, put your most important keyword (as far as possible) at the beginning of the H1. In our case: Trim your dog.
Be aware: it's a bit confusing because if you want to add the H1 in the Hero section, you have to fill in the 'Title' field. Keep in mind, this is not the same as the Title in Step 3.
You are also able to add a short description to your hero section. We also added a short description in our example above. You have to use the ‘Subtitle’ field for this.
After creating the H1, you have to select an image related to your landing page subject. You add the image in the same section as the H1. Don't forget to enter a good alternative text (ALT-text) and file name. Google isn't able to 'see' what's visualized in the image, but it can read whether you entered a good alternative text and file name. With this text, you tell Google what the image presents and why it's valuable for your content. Always add a keyword to both elements.
See the end result below.
See the video below on how to add the Hero section and its elements to your landing page.
It's also possible to skip the Hero section if you don’t want a nice header with an image and buttons (but we really do recommend to add this section). Because you could also add an H1 to the Description section. Read more about this in the section below.
2. Description section
This section consists of a title, text area, and a link. The link can be configured differently for people who have and have not logged in. Note: Of course, this doesn't mean you shouldn't add other sections to your landing page! Here we only focus on the Description section (read more about the other three types here) because that gives the best possibilities to optimize your page. See the video below on how to add the Description section to your landing page.
Change the setting ‘Basic HTML’ to ‘Full HTML’ to get more content possibilities. It also gives you the possibility to add an H1 (if you have decided not to add a Hero section to your landing page). Try to always have the H1 as the first content element on your page. See below how to add the H1 in three simple clicks.
If you want to optimize your text, keep the following SEO basics in mind:
- Focus on answering search intents. Web users are always searching with a reason. They are looking for something. We call this 'search intent'. Every subject will be searched for with different intents. Everybody wants to know something different about a subject. If you are writing a blog on your community, keep these intents in mind. The more intents you answer in your content, the more Google will love your content (and ranks it higher in the search results). Use tools like Answer The Public for inspiration to answer search intents with your content.
- Use keywords and synonyms in your whole text. Especially in the first or the second sentence of your text. Don't overdo, it just a couple times. For example, if you write a text about bicycles, than you should definitely use synonyms or related words such as saddle, bell, bearer, pedals, etc. Because as mentioned, nowadays we focus on optimizing for subjects instead of keywords. Thus, strongly related words and synonyms are useful.
- Make your content easily readable by adding headings (H2, H3, H4, etc.).You can add them in the same way you add the H1 (see above). Try to use the keywords and synonyms in these headings (doesn’t have to be always). Especially the first H2.
- Add images, videos or other media into your text. Google loves rich content. It likes variation in a text. Because visitors do as well. Also here, don’t forget to select a good alternative text and file name.
- Put links to other pages into your text (if possible and needed). You should do this because: 1. It gives you the possibility to send visitors to other pages in your community (don't let them leave your community immediately after seeing one page, but send them to related groups or discussions for example). 2. You can send visitors to pages with more information (don't bother your visitors with an overload of information, but send them to related blog posts for example). 3. Google finds the more in-depth content easily and spreads the link value (the value of incoming links) across your community.
Step 5: Select a search engine friendly URL
The last step before you click on 'Save' is to select a search engine-friendly URL. Which means that the URL is easy to read and includes (key)words that describe the content on the landing page.
We always recommend adding the most important keyword to the URL. The URL is easy to change in Open Social. Choose 'URL path settings' and change the URL alias (see below). Using (a part of) the title or H1 as the URL is the easiest way to optimize your URL and make it readable for search engines and visitors. In our example, a good URL could be: www.communitydog.com/how-to-trim-your-dog.
Congrats, your blog post is basically optimized! Of course, you are able to create more visually attractive landing pages by adding other types of sections. But we are only focusing here on the Hero and Description section, because these two have the most direct impact on your SEO results.
If you need any SEO help, don't hesitate to contact us. Our SEO consultants have over 5 years of experience with SEO and communities. And they would love to help you! Contact us about the possibilities: firstname.lastname@example.org.