Be forewarned: I may have several rant posts coming at you over the next few days. Here's the first.
Let's get one thing very, very clear. A good search ranking is wonderful ... but for all that is sacred in the geekdom, please don't ruin a perfectly good ranking with a terrible landing page!
Being the geek that I am, a large proportion of my daily searches are for software, scripts, or applications of one sort or another. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the landing pages that I am directed to from those top 10 rankings are so bad that they immediately lose me as a customer. Some of those products are commercial and some are open-source. But make no mistake about the free ones - their goal is to convert just as much as the commercial ones. Otherwise, why bother having a product, right?
Sure, everyone talks about conversions and landing pages, and getting that right can sometimes require a freaking Ph.D. in marketing and stats, I know that. But it doesn't take a genius or a degree of any sort to recognize a TERRIBLE landing page. So why do so many product pages look like the example below - in which there's not one single hint of what the product does, who it is for, or what features or benefits it has. Why do product home pages (yes, the screenshot below is the freaking HOME PAGE), so often have nothing on them but announcements that should be relegated to a sidebar at best? (I've blurred much of the text, because I'm not into embarrassing anyone. But this was such a good example, I just had to share).
And now...the visualization of my rant...
Absolutely nothing on this site's home page tells me anything I would want to know about the product. Needless to say, I did not waste my time trying to find out if the product was right for me or not. I just returned to the SERPs and chose a different result.
Moral of The Story: If your landing page sucks, your top 10 ranking is a waste of space.