According to the global online marketing research firm The Search Agency’s Quarterly State of Paid Search report, tablets and smartphones combined to account for one-third of all total clicks on Google in the third quarter of 2013.
This marks an enduring trend, as search on mobile devices continues to increase its market share over desktop. Across all search engines, smartphone click volume rose by 50 percent, while click volume on tablets increased by 63.4 percent. Overall, the number of paid impressions across Google, Yahoo, and Bing increased by 37.1 percent, while the number of paid clicks increased by 16.2 percent.
The growing trend towards searching with mobile driven technology helps to underscore the important role custom landing pages play in running any successful pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. Creating and using the right landing page can improve your PPC campaign’s conversion rates while also lowering your cost-per-click (CPC). The overall goal should be to create a landing page that closely relates to the ad content of whatever products or services you are marketing. This will help to reduce bounce rate and raise your Quality Score and Ad Rank with Google.
Improving Your PPC Campaign
Creating a successful PPC campaign means more than just inserting the right keywords into your ad text to attract potential customers. The next step in creating an efficient PPC campaign is where many online advertisers falter; not understanding the importance of what happens post-click.
Approximately 80 percent of PPC traffic routs to one of the following types of pages:
- Business homepage (most common)
- A registration or sign-up page
- A shopping cart
- A product detail page
This means that only 20 percent of traffic generated by PPC campaigns go to promotion specific landing pages, which shows just how undervalued these types of pages are to advertisers.
A PPC campaign that takes potential customers to one of the above pages after a click has to overcome several obstacles to post a conversion, your landing page’s Quality Score being among the biggest.
Better Landing Pages = Better Quality Scores
Where your ads appear during a keyword related search depends on your Ad Rank, the main components of which includes maximum bid, quality of your ads, keywords, and website landing page. Combining these factors together, Google arrives at an ad’s Quality Score. The higher your Quality Score, the better your Ad Rank and ad position. Ads with higher Quality Scores also have a lower CPC, providing you with more ad impressions and clicks per advertising dollar.
PPC campaigns that don’t redirect to dedicated landing pages for their ads feature several notable drawbacks relating to performance and Quality Score:
Homepage– A business’ homepage seems like a natural fit for a landing page, as the point of any PPC campaign is to drive traffic to your website. However, unless you feature a one-page website, your homepage probably isn’t the most germane page on the site to your campaign ads.
Lets say you run a small boutique, for example, and a search for “fall dresses” triggers an impression of your ad on Google. A potential customer clicks on your ad – costing you money – but instead of being directed to a landing page that features your boutique’s selection of fall dresses, the customer finds herself looking at a homepage that showcases clothing for fall, winter, and spring. Not immediately finding what she was searching for, your potential customer hits the back button without spending the time required to navigate your website to find what she wanted. Sale lost, but cost for that click was already incurred.
Linking your PPC ads to a homepage can become especially problematic when attracting mobile users to your website. Whether you use a mobile site for smartphone interactions – which a recent survey by the app developer Iroha Ltd suggests are becoming less popular among smartphone users – or take visitors to your full website, trying to get first time visitors to navigate your site using their iPhones or Androids can be problematic.
In both cases, featuring a landing page that relates directly to what triggered an impression of your ad can help increase your chances of turning that click into a conversion.
The portion of an ad’s Quality Score that relates to the landing page is largely determined by how well the content on a landing page matches with your ad text. By creating a custom landing page, you can tailor the content to relate specifically to your ad text, giving you a strong 1:1 relevancy ratio. Conversely, homepages that feature multiple messages based around different services or products offered may produce a weaker relevancy ratio – such as 1:3 or more – decreasing the value of your landing page and its Quality Score in the eyes of search engines like Google.
Registration Page– Sending traffic directly to a sign-up or registration page from an ad serves as a terrible conversion strategy – too hard a sell without much supporting information. Rarely will you find a potentially qualified client or customer willing to blindly enroll in a program or service without first researching what you have to offer. This requirement for information only increases your need for a landing page that relates directly to whatever triggered your ad impression. So even if the point of your PPC campaign is lead generation, you still need the right landing page to maximize performance.
Additionally, the metric Google and other search engines use to determine Quality Score place a premium value on original and relevant content, both of which are likely to be missing from a page that primarily features blank information fields that need populating.
Shopping Cart– Much like a registration page, it’s presumptuous to assume that someone will purchase a product without first having the option to research it and your brand. A cart page is also unlikely to feature any more information than a product name and description, making it difficult for Google’s testing metric to determine the purpose of the page, further lowering your Quality Score.
Product Details– A product details or specs page offers little original content, which Google stipulates as an important factor when determining Quality Score. If you sell products that are not unique or if you have hundreds of products for sale, you’re probably not going to be able to differentiate these products from each other enough to improve your Quality Score.
Furthermore, product detail pages come across as bland and uninteresting to consumers and feature no real call to action. If your landing page only offers consumers complex technical jargon, you’re more likely to confuse them rather than convert them.
Tips for Creating a Successful Landing Page
Keep in mind the factors used by Google and other search engines when factoring Quality Score as the key to creating any successful PPC landing page:
- Use original content when creating a landing page, making sure the focus of the page’s content also closely relates to the campaign’s ads and keywords. The more narrow your focus – exact matching subject matter, phrases, and words used in the ads – the higher your Quality Score will become.
- Break up the flow of your landing page’s content into a clear hierarchical structure. This will enable Google’s metric to add value to important titles and sub-headers found on the page.
- Use exact matching phrases within headings on the landing page. Keep in mind that code markings such as title tags and header tags found in the HTML version of your landing page increase the relevancy of the words and phrases found within to search engine metrics.
- Don’t overuse keywords. While keywords are an important part of creating a successful landing page, overusing them can make the content of your page sound derivative or poorly worded, which could scare off potential customers. Odds are against you tricking search engine metrics into adding value to a landing page by repeating the same keywords, so focus on quality content and optimal keyword placement instead.
Once you’ve created a landing page, you may want to consider testing different versions of the page until you achieve the highest possible Quality Score. You’ll find that altering an offer specific landing page much more cost effective than trying to change your site’s homepage to achieve higher Quality Scores.