PPC Landing Page Optimization

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Tweaking a poorly performing PPC campaign may get you thinking about revising keyword choice and match types, writing new advert text or implementing better targeting techniques. One of the first things it should do, however, is kick start a landing page optimization strategy.

You may have the most appropriate keywords, be targeting the best possible traffic, with perfectly crafted advert copy, yet be losing conversion after conversion because your landing page is not up to scratch. Making changes at page rather than campaign level is a sure fire way to convert good clickthroughs into great sales figures.

1. Are you meeting expectations?

When a user clicks on your AdWords PPC ad, they have certain expectations about the page they are being transferred through to. If you’ve flagged up things such as the web’s biggest selection of a certain item, free shipping, a downloadable brochure or handy e-book, it’s essential that this promise is repeated in a prominent position on the landing page. A cohesion of messages creates synergy between the PPC advert and the product or service itself. If you fail to meet these expectations by showing only a small selection of goods, don’t provide the promised downloadable brochure, or choose not to display the e-book in a prominent position, your landing page will fail to resonate with the reader. The result is a higher-than-necessary bounce rate or far fewer conversions.

2. Do you have a call to action?

Even those browsers clicking through with the clear intention of getting in contact or purchasing from your website can falter if a clear call to action is not presented on the landing page. Hiding contact forms or ‘buy now’ buttons amid unnecessary on-page clutter dilutes the impact of the call to action.  Adding a very clear call to action — such as a large button — will increase website conversions by giving the reader a clear path through to the next stage of the conversion process.

A common mistake made by PPC advertisers is to point ads at brochure pages and then assume the visitor knows what to do next. Make your desired behavior very clear — for a catalog page, something as simple as increasing the size of the ‘buy now’ or ‘add to cart’ link or image can make a notable difference.

If your landing page has more than three or four paragraphs of text or is otherwise quite ‘busy’ due to graphics, make sure you scatter your calls to action throughout the page. Don’t leave your PPC visitor with the need to scroll back up and down the page in order to take action.

3.  Have you actually stuck with testing?

Testing performance is a pretty simple piece of advice, but it’s surprising how many advertisers let this basic good practice guideline fall by the wayside after the first flush of enthusiasm has passed. Testing a landing page’s effectiveness can be as simple as trying two different titles or as complicated as changing form layout, number of fields, content length, and style.

Getting the most out of your landing page will often also hinge on how visitors got there in the first place, so while you’re in a testing frame of mind, you could also test the messages used within the ad text. Typical parameters include changing titles, the inclusion of different offers, and use of varying calls to action and value propositions.

4. Don’t forget your ‘Thank You’ page.

When your landing page is sufficiently optimized and performing well, there will be lots of traffic going through your site’s ‘Thank You’ page. This is the page that is shown to visitors after they have completed your form or downloaded the brochure. This page should also be looked at in conjunction with your landing page, as it is your last opportunity to up-sell or cross-sell your products and services to that particular visitor on that visit.

The most common ‘Thank You’ pages are just that – very simple pages that thank the visitor for having filled in the form/downloaded the brochure. The visitor is left with no other incentive than to head off to a search engine or navigate directly to another site. This course of action is sometimes unavoidable because the user has got exactly what they want from that visit, but that’s not always the case. Adding more elements to your ‘Thank You’ page could extend the site visit and result in further conversions.

About the Author

Rebecca is the managing director of search engine optimization agency Dakota Digital a full-service agency offering SEO, online PR, web copywriting, media relationship management, and social media strategy. Rebecca works directly with each client to increase online visibility, brand profile, and search engine rankings. She has headed a number of international campaigns for large brands.

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3 Comments

  1. Rebecca; Great post. Just went through this myself, in fact. After two years of smooth running, my AdWords account started to drop in performance. I reconfigured the entire account, added 400+ new KWs, and now it's humming along again, even better than before. It's all described here: http://agentgenius.com/g-rants-insanity-more/real-estate/basic-adwords-lessons-learned/ When you get a chance, check out one of my landing pages and let me know what you think. There are 50 of them down the right hand side of my site. Here's one: http://www.atlantarealestateinfo.com/windward.php The goal is to click on the button in the middle, under the photo. Thanks! Rob

  2. Great post Thanks a lot for sharing this information have really proven to be helpful. I really enjoy reading easy articles leading straight to the point.

  3. Rebecca, Finally someone that acknowledges of all the key points - testing or as we like to say - always be testing ( http://www.abtests.com/ ) is the key to making your landing page work. Have you by chance surfed by Performable ( http://www.performable.com ) yet? Rex