Looking for a quick set of best practices about landing pages for search ads? Check out this guide to create the perfect experience on your site.
If you start with Google ads, the efficiency of your landing pages can pay off well with more conversions and lower cost-per-click on your ads. Let’s dive into how to create a good landing experience for users coming to your site from your paid search advertising.
Follow the below set of rules and practices and your paid campaigns should see a boost in engagement, conversion, and, eventually, lower cost per action.
What are the goals for my Google ads landing page?
Let’s start with the goals for your page. Your goals should be clearly defined and measurable. You want more lead generation, increased web traffic, more freebie downloads, more demo bookings, etc.
Who is my target market?
You should be able to list out the key targets of the landing page. If you want to target marketing people, you need to narrow down the types of businesses you want to target. Do you want to target web designers? Will your page be for wedding videographers? Your page should be designed to appeal to each specific demographic group you’re targeting.
If you see that there are more target audiences, you may need several landing pages to be custom built for each group. From your planning, you will figure out what is the best for your business.
What do my target audience search online?
What are the most popular search terms used by consumers looking for your products or services online? Do you want more leads or sales? Are there any other keywords that could be driving customers to your site? Knowing how often certain keywords appear on the web will help you determine if you should invest money into advertising campaigns to target them. Use keyword research tools like Ahrefs and Semrush to understand the search volume and cost per click for such keywords. We will talk about keywords again below.
What’s my offer?
Your product or service should be clearly defined before you launch your campaign. You must answer the question “What makes your offer unique?” You can do that in many ways, but here is an example: We provide a new subscription service that includes hours of training that teach graphic designers how to get started with motion design. Our offer is unique and our competitors don’t provide any similar subscription and training.
What is my competition doing?
You need to be aware of what other marketers are doing. To do that, you’ll want to use tools such as Ahrefs, Semrush, SpyFu. These tools allow you to see how well each competitor is performing, and what keywords are driving traffic to their site. You can also see their top pages that drive organic and paid traffic. You can also see what keywords your competitors are using in paid search and see approximate ad spend.
What’s my message?
Your promise to the potential customer or marketing message should be clear and concise. In order to make sure that your ad copy is as compelling as possible, think about what kind of emotions you want to evoke in your customers. Think about what you want them to feel when they see your ad. Try to imagine how you can get them to act now.
After the above exercise, come up with words that resonate with your target audience.
For example: If you’re offering food delivery services or coupons to professionals, be sure to include words like “busy schedules” or “no time to cook” or “healthy food choices”. If our meal delivery service is targeted to college students, make sure to focus on words like “inexpensive ready-made meals”.
Your landing page should be optimized for both search engines and humans. You want to ensure that visitors understand what’s happening before they leave your site.
What are my top keywords?
We are in the paid search world. So we should prioritize among the keyword groups we have for the campaign. Therefore, you should focus on using your top keywords first. Then, come up with a second tier of keywords that might help you get more traffic or conversions. Finally, think about how you could make your ad cheaper by targeting different keyword phrases.
If you are a hands-on professional running your own Google ads, here are some campaign management tips that help create more relevance between your landing page and your ad groups.
Use Dynamic Keywords Insertion in your ads. Then use the top keywords from the ag group on your landing page. Google Ads are all about matching pages and relevance. So the more coherent you make your landing page content with your Google Ads, the better your Quality Score.
Also, customize the URL of your landing page and insert one of the top keywords in it. Make the URL readable.
What is Google Ads Quality Score?
Quality score is a diagnostic tool from Google that measures the quality of your paid search ads. A high quality score indicates that you’ve made sure that your keywords match what users are searching and you’ve served the users the best relevant experience possible on your landing page. You should always try to get the highest possible quality score.
How will I measure the results?
You need to set up your preferred analytics tool before starting any promotion campaign. Setting up your preferred analytics tool allows you to monitor your ads and landing pages in real time. You will need to set up the analytics tool to register visits, pageviews, etc. You will also need to set up conversion tracking to be able to measure the impact of your campaigns.
Now that we covered the basics, let’s focus on more specific elements to include in your Google ads landing pages. Making landing pages relevant to users’ search queries is a no-brainer. Google Ads loves when there is a perfect match: user search query, relevant ad copy, relevant landing page. What are the other important elements that go beyond keyword matching? Let’s explore these below.
Why is landing page optimization important?
If your customers aren’t moving beyond the first page, then you need to rethink your landing page. Landing pages should be easy for visitors to navigate, otherwise they won’t buy anything or they won’t perform the action you’d like them to do.
If your landing page isn’t converting visitors into customers, then it could be costing you money. Remember that paid search clicks may cost a lot. As you already figured, landing pages should always be designed to match the needs of the visitor. If a landing page is ill matched to the person viewing it then there is a high chance that they will leave without converting.
Your landing page should contain as much content as possible about your product or service. Make sure that visitors know everything there is to know about what they’re buying before they buy it. Include plenty of pictures and videos, because photos and videos attract attention.
Some marketers like when their landing pages allow only one flow, down the funnel to the conversion. This is not necessarily right. Your landing pages should be optimized for conversions, but also contain links back to your website. These links help search engines understand what your webpages are about, and improve your ranking.
Be relevant and consistent
Send users to a custom landing page instead of a generic home page. Don’t send them to your homepage because it makes it harder for them to find what they want.
Your landing page should be optimized for conversions. A good way to do that is to be relevant and consistent. You already learned about the need to match the keywords used in the ad text to the keywords used on the landing page. You also want to use the same call to action throughout both the ad copy and the landing page copy.
Your landing page should use the same value proposition as your ads. This helps tie together the trustworthiness of your site. Whether it’s the discount or free shipping or other offers, they should be highlighted on your landing page. Make sure that your call to action on the page is very conspicuous and stands out well.
Your visitors may be interested in other products on your site, but you want them to stay focused on what you’re selling. That means keeping irrelevant and superfluous information off your pages.
Stay on brand
Your landing page copy must be specific and relevant to your business. Your copy needs to reflect your brand identity. Make sure that your landing page copy stands out from other pages on your site. You need to also make sure that the tone of your copy reflects your brand personality.
Make the page trustworthy
Trustworthiness is difficult to build and easy to lose. Here are some valuable tips about how to build it on your landing page.
Your landing page should be straightforward and easy to understand. Use the natural language without too much lingo. You want to make sure that potential clients know exactly what you offer before they get started working with you. Make sure that everything is spelled out clearly, including any additional fees or costs associated with the service.
Include your contact information as well as making it easy to find. Your customers should always feel comfortable contacting you if they need any assistance. Spell check your pages before publishing them. Check to ensure that your grammar and spelling are perfectly correct.
Display prominently customer reviews or testimonials. Showcase product reviews if you can. These help you build trust. Don’t remove bad reviews. Keep it all natural. Let’s be honest: 5 out of 5 stars looks too artificial.
Your website needs to provide a clear explanation of how personal information is handled. Customers want to know what kind of data you collect, why you’re collecting it, and whether you’ll share it with others. You also need to make sure that your site clearly states that you won’t sell personal information.
Use popups sparingly on the page. It’s fine to have them, but don’t be intrusive. Many people think popup ads are annoying because they interrupt what someone is doing and ask them to read something before continuing. But if done correctly, popups can increase sales, as long as they’re not misleading. Make sure your landing pages contain everything needed to convert visitors into buyers. Don’t exaggerate or lie about anything.
Displaying your company’s certifications, awards, and other insignia on your site shows that you take pride in what you do. Your customers should be confident that you know what you’re doing and that they’ll get great results if they work with you. Keep things as simple and straightforward as possible. Don’t use flashy designs or unnecessary graphics.
Make the navigation easy
Your landing pages should be easy to navigate. Customers should know exactly how to get to the information they’re looking for. Bullet points and lists are great ways to do this. They help customers understand the most important details about your business quickly and easily.
No need for long introductions – get the point fast. Your prospective customer wants what you offer now, not later. Keep your sales pages short and sweet. Give your visitor plenty of room to read your text without having to scroll down. Be sure to include lots of visual elements such as images, videos, and graphs.
Shareability is key for any blog post, article, but especially for landing pages. You want users to share your content because you’re providing them with something useful, interesting, entertaining, educational. Don’t forget to include social sharing buttons on the page.
Make the landing page load fast
Page speed is essential to getting higher rankings in Google. Pages that take longer to load get lower quality scores, hurting both you and your business. Users are impatient, and they’ll leave your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Yes, you need to optimize your website for page load speed to get better results. You can use this free tool to evaluate the speed score of your landing page: PageSpeed Insights. You’ll be able to see if there are any issues slowing down your site.
Your website must be responsive across multiple devices. Test your page out on different mobile devices. The page should be functional even on the smallest screens.
Make forms simple
Make forms on your landing page short. Include only the minimal amount of fields that you need to interact with users in the future. If your business is online only and you sell digital assets, you don’t need to collect users’ home addresses or other information that you don’t ever use.
Don’t forget to include a Thank-you page if you have a form on your landing page. Thank-you pages (or also confirmation pages) represent a tool to confirm that the signup has completed successfully. You want to thank the user for the action taken.
Thank-you pages are also great ways to reinforce the message or direct the user to another place on the site. In order to make sure your thank you page does what you want, you need to test different versions until you get the right combination of text, images, colors.
One ad group, one landing page
Ideally, you’d be obsessed with the relevance between your ad group or campaign and the landing page. To go to the extreme, you may need to create one ad per page to see what works best. You should also be sure to test different types of ads to determine which ones bring more traffic and which convert better at a lower price.
Yes, this tip may be an overkill as it requires more resources, but our experience shows that it can pay off very well in the long run.
Use realistic visuals and images
Your website should include images and video as well as text because visitors expect visual content. Showing your products in action makes them easier to understand.
Include images with people. Humans love looking at other humans. People love smiling. So why not use pictures of real people with smiles? These are very powerful. Customers will feel more comfortable talking to you if your website uses images of real people.
Don’t just use any pictures of smiling people. Make sure that the faces you choose really do convey your brand messages. Remember that the face is often the first thing visitors see, so if you’re trying to sell something, your photo needs to be clear about what you offer. And remember that you want to avoid using too many different types of faces, as this may confuse or distract visitors.
Create a visual flow on your landing page if you use multiple images. Make sure your page has a clear visual hierarchy. Start with an eye-catching header graphic or video. Then include several smaller graphics or videos below that. Finally, add text links to other pages. Don’t overwhelm users with too much content.
Treat spacing on the landing page as a visual tool. Your page should be easy to read. Include ample white space around your content. Don’t crowd your page with too many pictures or other graphics. You want your visitors to focus on what you’re trying to say or sell.
Make creative calls to action
You should always include a call to action button somewhere on every page of your website. Call to action buttons (CTAs) should always be prominent, especially on pages where users might hesitate to take action. Make sure the CTAs are easy to see and understand.
People often struggle to see CTAs because they’re placed too low on web pages. Placing them above the fold might make them harder to read. Instead, consider placing your CTA below the fold, but still visible and not too deep in the page. You may need to test different placements to determine which works best for you.
Thanks for reading this article to the end. Here are some examples of landing pages that we believe work well for their respective brands: 19 well-converting landing pages, 10 real-life examples of landing pages, more examples.
Send us a note if you need a second opinion about your Google ads campaigns. Our 10+ experience in managing Google Ads will come handy and help your business get better results from your paid search.