When helping clients create new fantastic PPC landing pages on their website, we are often asked what the SEO impact will be. For example, we regularly use existing content on a site as a starting point for crafting our own better performing pages which can lead to concerns about duplicate content.
The most effective way to reassure clients is to keep these PPC landing pages entirely separate from the main site structure so they have no impact at all on SEO. In order to do this, we use “orphan” landing pages.
The page is an “orphan” because it isn’t connected to the main website via any “parent pages”. Therefore, it drives traffic into the main website, but typical website visitors can’t navigate to it. Visitors can only arrive at it when directed there by paid search (or other paid channels).
We also DON’T want Google to show these pages in the search results, but we DO want these pages to be recognised by Google for ‘Quality Score’ purposes.
Therefore, we want Google to CRAWL but not to INDEX these pages. This means we’ll get the proper information feeding into the Quality Score, but the page won’t be listed in the SERPS or affect your SEO ranking.
The simple way to do this is to use a “no index” meta tag:
<meta name="robots" content="noindex">
This command allows Google (and other robots) to access the content, but simply asks them not to index it. There is more detail on how to do this on the Google support page here.
If this is a little late for you and now you have some PPC landing pages that you would like to remove from the Google listings, then you can add the meta tag as above, but you also need to log into your Webmaster tools account to tell Google to remove them. See more here.
Also, don’t forget that you could choose to take a different approach and use these new PPC landing pages to help with SEO, especially if your website lacks content. These landing pages could sit further on in the user journey and provide an effective option for more specific, relevant topics which may then help to pick up ‘long tail’ traffic from organic search.
Your PPC and SEO teams should be working on this together to work out the best solution for you.