Landing Pages Explained

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What is a strategic landing page? I have discovered that many businesses do not fully understand. When setting up their pay-per-click marketing campaigns, they search for the most relevant “landing page” on their website. While this is better than simply sending pay-per-click visitors to their home page, it still misses out on a significant opportunity for converting more of their paid search traffic.

MarketingSherpa.com in their excellent how-to “Landing Page Handbook” defines a landing page as, “the page a person lands on after they click on an ad banner, search request or link in an email.” Although this definition doesn’t clearly state it, it hints of one of the many important strengths of pay-per-click marketing – the power to control the specific landing page visitors see after clicking through an ad.

Strategic landing pages effectively designed for pay-per-click marketing campaigns are not hindered by the algorithmic requirements of search engine optimized pages. They’re commonly not designed with extensive link navigation but instead focus intensely on building relevance around persuading a visitor who searched on a particular keyword to act on a primary objective like a sale, opt-in, membership subscription or download.

It seems that many businesses consider their existing website as the only presence from which to work with and they force it to serve multiple purposes. But as the saying goes, ‘Jack of all trades; Master of none.” If you find your paid search struggling to convert and you’re currently using your existing website as the landing page, then stop and start using separately developed landing pages. Group your paid search keywords into relevant themes based on appropriate groupings from your customer’s usage perspective. Then create landing pages starting with best practices for each keyword theme. Setup a campaign tracking system and add some level of testing process whether a more advanced experiment using multi-variant or basic A/B split-testing. You’ll achieve greater success from your paid search campaigns.

And as a bonus, you’ll probably increase your quality score on Yahoo Search and Google Adwords. Did you know that your landing page relevance is one of many quality factors used by Google Adwords and Yahoo Search to calculate your quality score? I’ll discuss it further next time.

About the Author

Kevin Gold is Director of Internet Marketing at iNET Interactive, a social media company operating prominent online communities for technology professionals and technology enthusiasts. Kevin is a frequent contributing author to multiple publications including Search Marketing Standard, Practical eCommerce, DIRECT, Entrepreneur.com, ConversionChronicles.com, About.com, and On Target (Yahoo! Search Marketing newsletter).

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