Landing pages or how to create landing pages that convert is an intriguing and debatable topic. Depending on visitor expectations and the relevance to the topic covered can make your pages candidates for high bounce rates (higher than 50%) vs. a successful conversion rate of 5-15% for pages that hit their mark.
You can never tell where traffic will either (a) congregate or (b) land on your site (until you test your offer), which is why quickly communicating the key benefits to the visitor is essential to engage emotional triggers from the onset (3-5 seconds of skimming is the rule of thumb).
Once you manage to earn their attention, you must funnel that attention until a conversion objective is achieved. We can surmise that traffic arrives either through direct traffic, referrals or search engines and context is important to the visitor to send the right signals for website user engagement.
Under this premise, each page is yet another opportunity to give the visitor what they need (whether that is information, products, services or entertainment). In any capacity, engagement translates into an even more useful metric worth pursuing, true website authority, which is the real objective of SEO.
Despite your best efforts to coral traffic, people have their own free will and method of how they surf and traverse pages and what objectives they have for when they initiate a search. If your page and their objective are conducive, then higher conversion is typically the result.
Is is the best idea to target competitive keywords with landing pages?
The obvious answer depends on the strategy that best describes your business model. Funneling reader attention to one specific conversion objective is the goal of each page. This is for two reasons (1) you want to send a clear signal to search engines that relevance is on topic to ensure a higher relevance score and (2) you want to minimize higher bounce rates (over 60% means your page needs work).
Granted, with the occurrence of keywords stemming over time, even though you may have intended that a person will only find you for the specific keywords in your site, or keywords that the page is optimized for, there is a broad match factor that impacts search relevance.