Marketing automation tools make creating landing pages a snap. They focus on making it more efficient to deliver relevant content to relevant individuals at relevant times via email and paid search campaigns. So why not use them to create landing pages for search engine optimization campaigns, too?
Because they could harm your SEO efforts. Unless they’re set up to create searchable landing pages, your marketing automation platform may be unable to drive organic search traffic and sales.
Email marketing platforms were the genesis of today’s more sophisticated marketing automation platforms. Today, these platforms can track the behavior of customers interested in your products to understand intent and deliver more targeted messaging. The goal is to move potential customers farther through that marketing funnel to eventually convert them to paying customers.
Email campaigns and paid search ads are common drivers to the customized messages contained on these targeted landing pages. Because they’re so targeted, marketers feel confident in placing specific promotions on them such as a discount or a special download. Naturally, marketers don’t want these types of targeted promotions to get indexed for anyone to find in Google and the other engines. The result would be skewed metrics and campaigns with potentially high-value promotions being distributed far too widely as more customers find the content via organic search.
That natural desire to keep targeted email and paid search landing pages out of organic search results can be the foundation of the problem with using marketing automation platforms for SEO. Unless they’re set up to make specific landing pages searchable and others hidden from search engine spiders depending on campaign needs, creating optimized landing pages for organic search with your marketing automation platform could get you nowhere.
How to Tell if Landing Pages Are Indexable
It’s reasonable to want to use this landing page generator to easily create pages that benefit SEO. For some businesses it may be the only easy way to create landing pages without going through IT. Three simple tests will identify if search engines are able to index your landing pages.
First, choose a landing page URL, preferably one you actually want to rank in organic search results. Maybe it’s the announcement of an upcoming webinar or a short article on the steps your business is taking to reduce its carbon footprint. Check to see if Google has indexed the URL by typing a site: query into the search box. For example, if the URL were pages.domain.com/webinar/event5/, the query would look like this:
If the search results come back negative, the page is not indexed, which means it can’t rank in organic search results. The next steps test whether the page can be indexed. If the site: query returns the URL, then the page is indexed and you can skip the remaining test steps and proceed to the last part of this article starting with “More Links and Sound SEO.”
Second, view the source of that page. In most browsers you can either type Control+U or go to the “File” or “Edit” menu to view the source. Once you’ve opened the source code, look for a metatag giving a noindex command. The meta robots noindex tag directs search engine crawlers not to index that particular URL. If a search engine can’t index a URL, it can’t use its algorithms to determine that page’s relevance and authority, thereby rendering it not findable in the search results.
If these meta tags are present in the source code, they’re likely included at the platform level and will consequently appear on every page. Check a few more landing page URLs the same way to be sure.
Third, view the robots.txt file for the subdomain the URL sits at. For example, if the URL for the landing page were pages.domain.com/webinar/event5/, the robots.txt file you’d need to view would be at pages.domain.com/robots.txt. The robots.txt file is a simple text file that tells crawlers which areas of the site they can and cannot access. If the robots.txt file contains a Disallow command for the directory your landing page lives in, the search engine crawlers will not be able to crawl, index, or rank the landing pages in that directory.