You Optimize Your PPC, But What About Your Landing Pages?

by Robert Brady February 21st, 2012 

parachutist

Ever wondered what goes through the mind of someone who manages pay-per-click advertising campaigns? Here is a small snapshot:

What actual search queries are my ads showing for? [runs SQR]

Are my bids too high/low? [checks avg. position]

Which ad title is performing better? [views ad performance for last 30 days]

What sites are my display ads showing on? Remarketing? [runs placement report]

Whats my conversion rate and cost/conversion on that new campaign? [checks last 7 days on new campaign]

Whats my ROI? [checks Google Analytics]

With all that happening on a daily basis, its easy for someone to spend hours analyzing and optimizing their PPC campaigns. But what about your landing pages?

Landing Page Optimization (LPO)

Every PPC advertiser has to realize there is a chain of relevancy that must be maintained to achieve maximum conversions. Each link of the chain has a specific purpose:

Keyword " This is the first step in qualifying the click. You are looking for search queries that indicate a problem for which you have a solution. Do this right and your ad should only show for mostly relevant searches.

Ad Copy " This is where you weed out unqualified searchers and get the click. Ads dont need to close the deal, they just need to prime the pump and get the person to click the ad. Dont ask too much of your 130 character PPC ad.

Landing Page " Here is where the heavy lifting happens. You have their (mostly) undivided attention. You can use text, images or video to emphasize why they should choose you. You can place multiple calls to action on the page. Here is where the magic happens.

As you can see, the landing page is where you have the most flexibility and the most potential. So how should you go about optimizing your landing pages?

First, look at the entire process from the customers perspective. If you searched the keyword Utah jazz tickets and saw an ad for tickets to a jazz festival, would you click the ad? Of course you wouldnt. Youre going to click the ad that says Buy Utah Jazz Tickets " February ticket packages on sale now! because it establishes relevance by stating exactly what you want AND the sale is going to get you to click the ad. Since the ad mentioned a sale on February ticket packages, you would expect the landing page to feature those packages. But how should the landing page deliver that information? This is where we start getting into the fun part of landing page optimization.

Starting Your Own LPO

From the above example, we know that the landing page should feature the February ticket packages on sale, but what else should be on the page? Here are a few questions to ask about your landing page:

Should the navigation be simplified? Removed entirely to avoid distraction?

What other offers are being promoted on the page?

How many calls to action are on the page?

Is the most desirable call to action emphasized most prominently?

How easy is it for a click to convert?

In my experience the best landing pages are simplified (navigation, number of offers, CTAs, etc.), feature a single CTA and make the first step in the conversion process very easy (and tell the user exactly how to accomplish that step).

Test, Test, Test

As you start optimizing your landing pages, test the old page against the new page. You can do this in AdWords by creating two copies of an ad that have identical copy and changing the destination URLs. This is the simplest way, but you can get a more fancy with A/B testing. The key is to let your customer decide which landing page is better through voting with their information & dollars.

Robert Brady

Robert Brady is the head PPC wizard at Righteous Marketing, a Google AdWords Certified Partner and Microsoft adExcellence Member. He manages PPC accounts for both small and large businesses and offers a PPC training program for the DIYer.

Righteous Marketing

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4 Responses to “You Optimize Your PPC, But What About Your Landing Pages?”

  1. Sean says:

    This is a great point. I never understood how marketers can spend so much time optimizing their PPC but then not just of the extra step and optimize the landing page. It's just a little bit of effort that could pay off pretty big with a backlink and maybe some related content. Thanks for the article Robert!

    • Robert Brady says:

      @Sean – I agree. I used to manage PPC clients at an agency and DIDN'T do landing page optimization. I soon got blamed for the poor results and realized that if I didn't get involved in the landing page experience that no matter how good the clicks were, I would be the fall guy.

  2. Dan Keller says:

    So many questions to ask, there is so much to a successful SEO campaign. I am in the middle of testing several landing pages for one of my online businesses and am using and a/b split test and it is hugely insightful. After only 1 week it is becoming clear which page is converting better. Do you recommend a specific time frame to test or do you think one or two weeks is sufficient?

    • Robert Brady says:

      @Dan – When doing an a/b test on your landing pages there are two main things you want to consider before declaring the winner. First, have you given it enough time? You want to run the test at least one week to eliminate bias due to the day of the week (weekends vs. weekdays) and if that week had a holiday or other out-of-the-ordinary aspect you'll want a couple weeks to ensure that doesn't skew the results. Second, do you have enough data. That question is answered by a simple statistical significance test. Just do a Google search for "statistical significance calculator" and you'll find a couple good ones on the first page where you input how many visitors you've had, how many conversions, etc. and it will tell you, at a specified level of confidence, if the results are statistically significant. Then you'll know you have a solid winner.