LandingPageOptimizationCover.pngAt Search Engine Strategies in March, Tim Ash walked up to me after my speech and handed me his book. I (ashamed to say) did not know Tim and had not heard of his book before then. I leafed through it quickly and told myself, "This looks good," and promptly dumped it in my pile of books that take forever to get read. I told myself I'd eventually read it, but it took me quite a while to do so. That was a big mistake.

But I've corrected that mistake now. Landing Page Optimization is a gem of a book that provides the big picture and the details for an all-important Internet marketing subject, one that search marketers especially need to understand.

Landing pages have been discussed ever since the first banner ads (oh, now they want to call them display ads because banner ads developed a reputation as being worthless). The page the ad clicks to is the landing page. E-mail marketers use the same nomenclature for the page that an e-mail links to on your Web site. In our book, Search Engine Marketing, Bill Hunt and I extended the term "landing page" to also refer to the first page a searcher lands on when they click a search result.

And, in both that book and in my second book, I've provided tips on optimizing landing pages. But this book is an eye-opener. Tim Ash's Landing Page Optimization is 350 pages of "all landing pages, all the time."

Written in a conversational style, Tim covers all the landing page improvement tips you'd expect (and a number that I did not expect), but he also explains how to make a page persuasive—it's not just logical, analytical arguments, but it's appealing to emotion. But it's more than design and copywriting—it's also extensive testing.

Tim's genius is in contrasting these left brain and right brain thoughts to give you the complete picture of how to greet someone to your Web site. He doesn't just tell you how to conduct a test, he shows you the pitfalls of what you might do wrong. He doesn't merely explain how to optimize landing pages, he explains all the possible things you could change and helps you prioritize which ones need the most attention on your pages.

And, in case you need it, Tim even provides an overview of how the brain works, to help you understand just how you persuade each part of your customer's brain with your landing page.

Even though I've been part of Web site tests for years, I found myself learning new techniques in every chapter. I didn't really know how to spot a biased sample. And I think I tended to change parts of a page that would persuade me, rather than my average customer. Also, multiple page flow testing was something I truly did not know how to do before reading Tim's book—I understand it now. In addition, testing for multiple goals formerly made my head spin, but I have a better handle on it now.

It's rare that I find a book that almost every Web marketer ought to read, but this is one of them. Every Web site has landing pages, but most don't think enough about them. Most Web sites create their landing pages as their campaigns launch, and they leave them alone until they collapse under their own weight.

If you pay attention to Tim's tips for designing and producing the page, and his tips for making it persuasive, and top it off with a devotion to testing variations until you truly optimize your landing pages, you'll have increased the value of every marketing program you have. See, most people don't realize that the real value of marketing is dependent on what you do with those visitors you attract to your site.

Remember, the difference between your site, for which you know you should bid just $1 for your biggest search keyword, and your competitors', for which they happily pay $1.25, is not that your competitors are crazy. It's that they convert more of the visitors they get, so each one is worth more to them than to you. That's why they can profitably bid higher.

So, as marketing becomes increasingly competitive, because more and more companies discover the value of Internet marketing, your only recourse is to increase the return on your marketing investment. Improving your site's conversion rate and increasing the average order amount are the two ways to do that. When you do, the same number of visitors are worth more money, because they convert more frequently than they did before. That's why you can increase your marketing expenditures to attract them.

Tim's book holds the keys to increasing the persuasiveness of your Web site. Ignore this book only if you're happy that your business is already successful enough. It's not? Oh. I guess you better read it then.

May 15, 2008

Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, text analytics, and web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.

Mike's previous appearances include Text Analytics World, Rutgers Business School, SEMRush webinar, ClickZ Live.

Mike also founded and writes for Biznology, is the co-author of Outside-In Marketing (with James Mathewson) and the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (now in its 3rd edition, and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.


We've seen this book around on Amazon but have not really heard much about it until now. You have definitely confirmed that it's worth a read! Thanks for the great book review!

So much of this is common sense for folks like myself, who have learned that life is from the inside out. That means every part of my life, even on the net. Contrary to the common (but not normal) outwardly referencing, control, and manipulation of many in the business and corporate world. I see so many people with expensive education, fancy titles, and large even huge salaries that don't get basic relationship and communication skills.

Hmm, go figure...

Great book review!
I haven't read this book but I hope it doesn't just discuss the optimisation of just one page. From the work and testing I have done on various e-marketing campaigns, I have discovered that concentrating on one landing page for your conversions is wrong. The landing page needs to be part of a whole landing experience, which can be segmented depending on the target audience. Even the best landing page is going to have a high bounce rate unless that landing page is part of a bigger landing experience. Again, I haven't read the book, but I hope its not just reams of text about how to add a form or some kind of offer on a landing page - because from my experience it just doesn't work.

Hi Mike,

Thank you for your kind words about my book!

I really put a lot of deep background information into it that should be helpful to all online marketers.

If your readers want more information about the book (or would like to get an autographed copy), they can visit

Looking forward to seeing you at Search Engine Strategies in San Jose!

Warmest Regards,

Tim Ash - President

Our clients' landing pages achieved higher quality scores with Google and other major search engines.


I, like you, had never heard of Tim Ash before in the SEO community. (probably because he was too busy kicking ass). When I first found out about it, I figured it dealt primarily with PPC advertising. Well, I was not prepared for how freaking awesome this book really is.

Holy crap this book is amazing. I've got page after page of notes. I always wondered why in the hell companies would dump thousands of dollars into online advertising when they could just SEO a page or site. Well now I know. Tim provides formulas to estimate ROI, (pretty effectively I might add), case studies on what to test for, common pitfalls, and on and on.

I almost don't want to tell anyone about it, because I want to have the edge. It's that good.

In online marketing a landing page is a page that appears when a potential customer clicks on an advertisement and displays content that is a logical extension of the advertisement or link the visitor clicked on. There are two main types of landing pages, reference and transactional. When designing a lead capture, or transactional landing page, there are five main factors that must be considered: headline, offer, attention getter, content, and forms.

I had never heard of Tim Ash before and I have minimal information on Landing Page Optimization but after reading this post I think I will check out this book and see what additional information it has to offer.

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