Google uses Landing Page Optimization

by Thomas Ballantyne February 10th, 2011 

Google is always testing. They are as much of an internet marketing company as the next website. They are for-profit. So they like to tweak their pages for better optimization… and tweak their pages they do. At this point in the game Google's tweaks are usually very minor and will often go unnoticed by most. So what is Google testing now? How are they increasing their landing page conversions? What's their CRO strategy?

Landing Page Optimization By Google

Landing Page Optimization Testing #A

As small and innocent as it may look… That little triangle/arrow is a conversion rate optimizing machine. As subtle as it seems that arrow is gently suggesting "Click Here". Not a bad idea. Well that same little arrow shows up on the first ORGANIC result as well.

No sponsors or advertisers here… Just the first organic result. So the message is, "Hey I am your blue triangle buddy. You can trust me."

Landing Page Optimization Testing #B

Here we have a new edition to the PPC. Brilliant I might say how Orkin pest control is actually using this as a call to action link. Keep it simple stupid. Very direct. Very clear. "Schedule Pest Control Service" Now the links themselves showing up in the sponsored section are not new. Nike's got the sponsored spot showing internal page options as well. But they are not using a call to action that Orkin is testing. Again, brilliant move by good ole Porkin pest control.

Landing Page Optimization Testing #C

Now this last little test is so very subtle that you may miss it. Look closely at the the section above marked C. Now look at this ad:

Google Landing Page Optimization testing Ad vs Sponsored Links

Ad vs Sponsored Links. Slight change in text. The word ad is more descriptive, but it's shorter and draws less attention. Sponsored Links, however, doesn't shout out "Hey I want to sell you something!".Just keep your eye on that as Google is still testing their conversions based on this very small text change.

Additional Google PPC update

Most recently Google added additional headline space to their ads (a.k.a. sponsored links)!

That title looks so much more like a regular organic listing. Nice and long. Fills the whole page. Basically they are wrapping the text from your ad in with the title. Should mean more clicks for both Google and the advertiser.

Google Conversion Rate Optimization

Probably the best move Google made was when they changed the background color from yellow to that very subtle pinkish purple color. Yep… blends right in with the results.

Google Boost Does all your Local Optimization for you!

Honestly, as a local pest control guy, I am thrilled about Google Boost. This PPC is more than just a click. It's a whole marketing package all wrapped into a PPC spot with your reviews and phone number available for immediate satisfaction. Just look at that beauty.

Cons:

  • Automatically managed
    Boost manages everything and figures out where to show your ad
  • Pay only for success
    You only pay when potential customers click on your ad
  • Now that sounds sooo easy. Business owners don't have dig through the swamps of PPC analytics, with all the CTR, CRO, Quality Score, … blah, blah…. Click here, and walk away. PAY ONLY FOR SUCCESS! But whose success? Google's success or the Business' success? As attractive as this sounds, you end up with no control over keywords or the bidding for the click. Google gets to set the price. Sounds a bit like the fox guarding the hen house. Not that Google Boost won't work, but just know the risk.

    And take note, they are testing these ads for CRO (conversion rate optimization) as well.

    Notice the Blue Pin Drop Now has the letter A in it.

    In the organics you will find a red pin drops with letters. So here in the Boost PPC section they are testing the blue pin drop with a letter in it, thus making it appear to be more organic. Works great, minus the fact that if you click on the map to the left, which also carries the blue pin drop, you will be taken to a maps page that no longer displays the boost ad. #fail

    Google's Landing Page Optimization

    All of these things are just little ways that Google is practicing Landing Page Optimization. Which tell me that that if landing page optimization good enough for the Goose, then it's good enough for me.

    Thomas Ballantyne

    Don't mind me, I'm just the Pest Control Guy. Thomas Ballantyne

    Pest Control SEO

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    2 Responses to “Google uses Landing Page Optimization”

    1. Steven says:

      Great article Thomas. It is always the subtle things that make a big difference. I didn't even notice the links you point out in B, mainly because I avoid looking at purple sections.

      • Thos003 says:

        Pest control is always about the little things. =)

        You also bring up a great point… You train yourself to ignore the ad section, so occasionally breaking that section up with something new… like the maps on the right… will also bring better results.

        There was an interesting session on PPC testing at SMX advanced were the presenter showed that testing 2 ads actually gave a better CTR than picking just the one winner.