For years now, the squeeze page has practically been the lingua franca of the online marketing world. Whether you’re in real estate (and actually, the real estate industry in particular has leaned particularly heavily on squeeze pages), banking, e-commerce or anything else, the conventional wisdom has been to target tightly focused groups of consumers through these web pages/marketing tools.
These pages do OK at helping marketers identify which keywords or keyword phrases do well in terms of attracting targeted traffic and at least if they’re well designed, at gathering email addresses or other contact information from these visitors. However, there are much better methods of doing keyword research than creating a separate squeeze page for each of your keywords. Additionally, building and maintaining these pages represents an investment of time and money which isn’t likely to produce a worthwhile return.
The squeeze page is dead – it just doesn’t know it yet and neither do the marketers who still use this direct marketing-style methodology in their list building efforts. I know there’s probably at least a few of you out there reading this who still use them and are wondering what exactly is wrong with squeeze pages.
As it happens, the answer is plenty. They’re unappealing to consumers and increasingly, they’re seen as undesirable pieces of virtual property by the search engines as well. When you’re trying to market your business with a tool that turns off both your target market and the search engines, it’s clear that the time has come to abandon ship. I’ll explain in more detail below.
They’re Completely Unappealing To Readers
You’ve seen a squeeze page before – and chances are you’ve hit the back button on your browser almost immediately. These pages almost universally feature incredibly unattractive cookie cutter designs and copy which is generally nothing but sensational hype. That alone is enough to turn off most readers, not to mention that squeeze pages seem all too often to be riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. Put simply, they don’t look professional by any stretch of the imagination – but they do look professional enough to fool many business people who are new to the medium of the web into using them at least for a while.
Think of it this way – if you got a flyer in the mail that looked like one of these pages, would you be in a hurry to contact the marketer to sign up for their mailing list, let alone actually do business with them? Probably not.
As a general rule, if it looks too awful to be true, it’s just what it looks like and squeeze pages are a prime example of this. They lack any kind of credibility with your prospective customers, especially when you’re in the real estate business. These pages make you look like the online equivalent of a shady used car salesman, not the kind of person that people want to do a real estate deal with. There are other things about squeeze pages that turn off your potential customers, but since there’s some crossover with this and the SEO shortcomings of the format, we’ll get back to that a little later on.
Google Slaps Squeeze Pages
It’s true: squeeze pages are nothing less than poison as far as your performance in the search engines is concerned. Google and other search engines have been working on ways to discount the rankings of these pages, which are rarely the kind of content that users are actually looking for when they use the keywords which these sites target. It comes down to what it always comes down to when search engine rankings are the issue – relevance. A webpage designed to entice visitors to fork over their contact information simply isn’t that relevant to many, if any actual search engine queries, no matter how much content you try to cram onto the page.
Speaking of the content, this is something which has changed about squeeze pages in the last couple of years. Once these pages started being penalized by search engines for their lack of content (“classic” squeeze pages, after all, feature little more than an opt-in form), marketers started turning them into the online equivalent of the long form sales latter – in other words, something no one wants to read, especially not page after page. This unappealing content has led to a further decline in the ranking of these pages in search results, making them even worse marketing tools than they already were.
Squeeze Pages Can Sink Your Main Site
Let’s get back to that subtitle about Google “slapping” squeeze pages, because this is one of the most important points I’d like to make here today. If your squeeze pages either link to or are part of your main site, they’re more than likely causing a slump in your main site’s search engine ranking, making you less visible to your market online. In other words, the exact opposite of what you’d hoped to accomplish. If these pages link to your site, you can be penalized for these links from unpopular sites in what Google considers to be an iffy online neighborhood – and what are the three most important things in real estate? Exactly.
Another way that squeeze pages can drag down your online presence is through having a large percentage of duplicate content. Many businesses throw up dozens of squeeze pages which are basically identical other than the targeted keywords for that particular page. Even if you make an effort to rewrite the content on these pages, there’s only so much you can do without putting a disproportionate amount of time or money into the effort.
So if squeeze pages are out, what are real estate professionals to do in terms of online marketing? There’s plenty of options, all of which are better choices than building a series of squeeze pages. I won’t go into them all here, but as always on the web, it’s all about good content which is geared towards readers first and search engines second – when your market sees you as credible and reputable, they’ll beat a path to your door and happily sign up for your email list. And where the market goes, the search engines will follow; but no one’s flocking to squeeze pages.