👤 Who’s this for?
- Founders or marketing managers who work on a product with a strong self-serve funnel and a variety of use cases. You want to grow PQLs and have evidence organic search will be a key channel.
- Search-focused feature pages can (almost) replace external tools if a portions of your product are available without an account.
- Kapwing has used search-focused feature pages to scale SEO traffic, and it continues to be a top channel for driving product-qualified leads.
- There are 6 types of pages that we most often create. I’ll share what those pages are and how to approach them.
The advent of product-led growth has made it so most products have far more entry points than ever before. “Try before you buy” gave way to genuinely valuable free plans and trials that let you do much more than kick the tires before making a decision.
It’s fundamentally changed how we market software. Today, I’d like to cover one specific dimension of this change in more detail: search-driven landing pages.
With so many ways to discover and try your product, search-driven landing pages have, for some companies, almost become a replacement for building external-facing tools. Why build a completely separate tool if we’re already making large portions of our product readily accessible, or even free to use?
Below I’ll walk you through how I’ve approached feature-focused landing pages that grow organic traffic; in a future newsletter, I’ll cover how I approach opportunity sizing for all search-focused work.
When do search-focused landing pages make sense?
This approach works best with a
product-led growth motion (no, I refuse) self-serve funnel where a meaningful part of the product is either available without an account or available to try for free, and when the core product solves many different use cases.
For example, Kapwing is a full-featured video creation platform with a solid free plan and a web-based editor that’s available—with some limitations—without an account. That makes the product a good fit for this approach. I say that not to dissuade anyone, but to mention the potential ceilings up front.
Many companies can create a dozen or more search-focused landing pages for acquisition, but if you want to scale to hundreds of pages, that is the type of product and go-to-market motion that works best.
Why invest in search-focused landing pages?
1. Stronger commercial intent than editorial content
Feature or tools-focused landing pages catch searchers who are at least solution-aware—they know enough to know that a product exists. As with all pages further in the customer journey, you’ll see this show up in last-touch performance data, like last-touch conversion to PQL, attributed Retained Active Customers (RACx), or whatever you’re measuring.
We track overall PQLs and last-touch session-to-PQL and use this data to inform new page creation and page updates, too. I’ll cover how that works in detail in the next newsletter.
2. Clear path to scale and impact
If this approach to growth truly fits your product, you can do it forever. Any limitations you’ll hit are lifted with new features going live. And, even though I’m sharing examples from products with an especially strong fit, there are probably more page opportunities available to you today than you think.
Add to that, it’s simple to opportunity size, measure, and operationalize this work. Whoops, I veered into marketing jargon for a second there. Once more: It’s easy to estimate how many customers you could earn, it’s easy to measure the customers you actually earned, and it’s easy to assign out the work.
3. Speed to impact
Assuming the majority of your pages are built around features within your existing product rather than standalone external tools, landing pages are quick to create and should take less time than your average longer-form blog post.
At Kapwing, we built two page templates and a basic internal CMS to get pages published, and every page starts in a similarly templated Google Doc. Decisions do need to be made along the way (e.g., can/should we target “free” variations with this page?), but you want to make every step unquestionably clear.
4. Naturally build links over time
A landing page that makes a portion of your product available, or that shortens the path into a specific feature within your product, is hard to discern from an “external” tool you’ve built. To most searchers, they’ll feel like the same thing.
It’s for this reason that these pages tend to earn links just like traditional tools pages do. To be clear: if a tool is immediately accessible from the page and free to use, you’ll probably earn more mentions and links. But even walled-off tools are good fodder for the endless number of tool round-ups written by bloggers and other web publications.
5. Less exposure to SGE (?)
This is only a prediction, or maybe a hollow hope. However, it seems like traffic to tools and feature-focused landing pages is less exposed to Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE), an upcoming change that could reduce click-through rates for certain queries. Who knows how things play out, but commoditized “What is?” queries that are dominated by editorial SEO feel much more at risk.
Contrast that with landing pages for tools: users still want to click through to complete the action with the tool regardless of what information is generated. SGE will affect what pages get surfaced and how searchers will decide what to click, but for tools, the click likely happens all the same. (Unless it’s e.g. a simple calculator tool, in which case… tough times ahead?)
6 types of search-focused landing pages
1. Standalone features
The most self-explanatory page type, though it bears exploring. Standalone pages cover clearly defined features in your product critical to a specific use case. These pages can range from the broadest way to describe an entire platform (e.g., “Customer Support Software”) down to a core feature within the product (“Knowledge Base”).
Fair enough. But there are a few things you can do to get more mileage out of these pages:
Select short-term and long-term keywords. This means picking a set of keywords feasible to rank for on a timeline short enough to matter for the business, alongside a longer-term keyword that represents the best possible opportunity for the page.
For example, it was much easier for Kapwing to get traction with “Online Video Editor” before setting sights on the longer, more arduous climb for “Video Editor.” The key is to select keywords that already show a high degree of overlap in their respective SERPs, signaled by a similar set of pages ranking for each term.
Design on-page experiences for competitive terms. Yes, link acquisition is essential for these pages. But what’s in your most immediate control is the page experience. You can go pretty far with a standard template and a simple button to “Try the tool,” but don’t underestimate the value of a custom experience for your most valuable landing pages that target the most competitive keywords.
Luc Levesque, Shopify’s Chief Growth Officer, has said before that it’s not crazy to assign a team’s worth of people for a mission-critical keyword. Is it any wonder that some of Shopify’s keystone tool pages continue to get significant updates to this day?
2. Feature synonyms
Synonym pages offer a great opportunity for teams that haven’t explored landing pages outside of their core feature set. Usually what happens is marketing teams create one page for each flagship feature and, if they have SEO experience, choose a relevant keyword for each page.
However, there are two overlooked considerations here: (1) customers frequently describe the same problem in different ways, and (2) Google sometimes interprets similar search queries to mean decidedly different intents. End result: Searchers want the same solution, but Google surfaces very different results for each query.
Examples of this are found even in relatively new product categories. For example, we noticed searchers coming into our site via both “AI Highlights” and “AI Clips” queries but found they were ending up on the wrong pages. The current search results may be different, but the intent seems clear: users are looking for AI-powered tools that pull out short segments from long-form videos.
We have that capability in our (soon-to-be-released) Find Highlights feature, so we created pages for “AI Video Highlights,” “AI Clip Maker,” and so on to cover all the entry points.
3. Product outcomes
When a searcher uses a verb or action-based query, you’re just as likely to see articles in the SERP as you are to see tool pages. However, when that’s not the case, the SERP is usually dominated by landing pages that describe product outcomes rather than market a single standalone feature.
One example is the query “Repurpose Video.” Google shows both tools and articles in the SERP, but every link in the top 5 is a feature page. Yet, a “Video Repurpos-er” doesn’t describe a well-known type of tool, but rather an outcome that’s possible with multiple tools.
With Kapwing, you can repurpose videos using some mix of resizing, cropping, trimming, subtitles, and so on. You could clip highlights with AI or hand-edit clips yourself, the old-fashioned way.
There’s no single tool because there’s no single way to do the job.
Companies often miss these queries or assume articles are the only way to fulfill the intent. I say this because if you want to find less competitive, up-and-coming keywords for landing pages you’ll need to brainstorm, not just research your competitors. And while you’re brainstorming, make sure not to forget the verbs, actions, or outcomes a searcher might use that are solved by your feature.
4. Feature rollups
Feature rollups are pages that bundle a set of features together and package them as a standalone product. They’re not dissimilar from product outcomes, but the difference is searchers do have a specific product in mind—there’s no ambiguous verb here, they search directly for a product.
Again, sometimes searchers run queries for things that are hard to precisely draw a line around. What, in your opinion, is a “Video Enhancer“? Surely, it’s some sort of editing tool that improves the fidelity of a video’s footage or audio. Google interprets searchers’ intent to mean a varied set of features (e.g., upscaling, audio cleanup) rather than something specific—not as broad as a “video editor,” not as narrow as a “video resizer,” but a bundle somewhere in the middle.
That’s what these pages do: they roll up a number of connected features and package them as a distinct product experience. Though these features may not have a line cleanly drawn around them inside your actual product, you’ll need to draw the line on your landing page to meet searchers.
5. Longtail variations
What’s the most valuable page on Shopify’s website? Hard to say, but for new customer acquisition the Business Name Generator page must vie for the top spot. And although this main or “hub” page likely carries most of the contribution, the dozens of spoke/longtail pages are no slouch, either.
For every popular vertical or product category on Shopify, a separate page exists within the Name Generator subfolder. Of course, there aren’t separate functioning tools for “Beauty Name Generator” or “Apparel Name Generator,” they’re all one tool. The only difference is found in the searcher, as they decided to filter down their query based on the exact solution they wanted.
That’s what longtail variation pages are for—when searchers want to disqualify tools that aren’t a good match to solve their specific problem. The thing is, a general-purpose tool might be a good fit for their problem after all, or maybe it has the unique feature they’re looking for. The thing is, a searcher doesn’t know that when running the query.
We’ve found examples like this at Kapwing, especially for our flagship video editor. The reason pages like “Collaborative Video Editing” or “4k Video Editor” exist is because we know searchers are trying to filter down from a general “video editing” concept to find tools that fit those qualifications. Fortunately, Kapwing already has both real-time collaboration and the ability to upload and export in 4k. And with these focused longtail pages, searchers are able to find and understand that, too.
6. Bets on the future
These aren’t actually a distinct type of landing page, but rather a way to prioritize page creation that goes against the currently available data. By data, I specifically mean the current keyword data available for the term or click data coming into your site.
For example, the Kapwing team was early with their “AI Video Generator” page. It was published back when AI-generated videos were more likely to make you laugh than stare in awe.
That early move helped the page build links before the search term became hyper-competitive. You shouldn’t be surprised to hear that “AI” represents a significant short-term opportunity to take these sorts of bets. But, it’s already gotten quite competitive. For some AI-based keywords, well, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.
How to opportunity size search-focused landing pages
In a future newsletter, I’ll fully cover how I opportunity size and then prioritize which landing pages to make first, based on both the available search and traffic data and historical conversion data.
Join the newsletter to get that post sent to your inbox. If you have any questions about what I’ve covered here, just shoot me an email: greg<at>ciotti<dot>co