Messaging Vs SEO: The Battle for the H1

Messaging Vs SEO: The Battle for the H1

Dylan Touhey

Irresistible headlines are your only chance to lure an audience. Short attention spans mean H1 territory is hallowed ground.

So, does that mean you should stuff your H1 tags with keywords in a desperate attempt to scramble to the top of the SERP heap? Or is better to pour your energy into crafting clever and unique messaging designed to intrigue and stand out from the pack?

As a digital agency we face this dilemma all the time. Our search team is constantly battling the copy team for the elusive H1 as we help traffic-hungry SaaS start-ups launch their products to the world. We figured other agencies and start-ups might be facing the same dilemma so we’re sharing our learnings accordingly.

Clear and compelling messaging keeps your visitors from bouncing

When it comes to landing pages, the only goal of the H1 is to solidify your positioning. That’s it.

If your sole focus is ranking high on SERPs by cramming your headlines full of generic keywords, you are never going to convert. Your visitors have a pain point that needs solving so don’t waste the opportunity to deliver your value positioning by sacrificing your H1 for SEO.

You need to rely on the H1 to clearly introduce your product or service. Great headlines speak in the language of the audience, demand attention and offer express value. Quality should never be compromised by SEO.

But how will people find my site?

Your prospective customers are using keywords to find solutions to their pain points.  If you have good content people will find your site. This is why blogging is critical. If you sell Time Tracking software and offer informative content about improving profit margins by implementing efficient time tracking applications, people will find your site. You just need to ensure the user clearly understands the product you offer and how it differs from the competition when they click from your blog to your homepage.

Use your blog and content-rich sub-pages for SEO. Reserve the homepage for rock solid messaging that converts.

Offer value

Think of your landing page as a flyer for a really great band that no one has heard of. Yet. Landing pages are your ticket to converting passersby into lifelong fans. So give your readers incentive to stick around for the show.

Time is valuable and people need to be rewarded for their willingness to click on something new, so promise them something worth sharing and promoting. Then deliver.

The CTA trumps SEO

The goal of the H1 is to crystalize your value proposition and positioning by clearly defining your product or service to your visitors.

Use H1 to make sure visitors know exactly why they are on your page and exactly what they should do next. A clear and desirable call to action yields much better results than generic keyword phrases ever will.

Finally, if you’re homepage is optimized for conversion it’s not going to have a lot of copy. Have a look at these great landing pages and you’ll see what I mean. With limited copy your on-page SEO efforts are better focused on your blog and other content-rich pages within your site.

Refined marketing messages make for bigger conversions

Specificity sets you apart from the pack. The less generic your headlines are, the clearer it is that you are writing for humans with specific needs that you can satisfy. When you avoid unfocused keyword phrases and concentrate on communicating the unique benefit that you will provide, you are sure to attract an audience that is more likely to convert.

A/B testing annihilates SEO anyway

A/B testing is one of the most valuable tools for creating high converting landing pages. When you measure the effect of each content tweak on your metrics, such as sign-ups, downloads, purchases, or whatever else you are trying to get your reader to do, you can be confident that every change you make produces positive results.But with all these (positive) changes, there is simply not enough time for traditional SEO to take hold. And it really doesn’t matter, because all you want to do is hook your target market, reel them in and make them convert. Which is exactly what will happen when you use H1 territory to perfectly position your landing page.

Ready to make your landing page irresistible?

Find out about our inbound marketing services here.