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A good landing page is one that reinforces ‘conversion intent’ by providing enough information to persuade customers to convert, but most importantly it has to be relevant to the paid ad that the user has just clicked on.

When shoppers enter a very specific phrase, such as a make and model number of a product, it suggests a clear intention to purchase, and so the landing page has to send the searcher straight to the product page and make it easy to complete the purchase. 

Looking for a replacement printer earlier today, I came across a couple of examples where landing pages are failing to deliver content that is relevant to the ads clicked on.

In this first example, I searched for the exact printer model I wanted, and found this ad from Sainsbury's:

Sainsbury's PPc ad

However, after clicking on the ad, this is the landing page I saw. Not only does it not show me the model I searched for, but the page is devoid of any kind of printers at all. Even if the printer I searched for was unavailable, Sainsbury's could at least have shown me its range of related products:

The Amazon ad (also shown above) promised to deliver the exact printer model I typed into Google. but only sends me to a generic page showcasing the entire HP product range. 

This means I have to make the effort to browse or search again to find the product I want, and the one that the ad promised to deliver. In both cases, seemingly relevant ads have failed to send me to the right landing pages.  

When I have already suggested a clear purchase intent by typing in the exact model number, this seems to be a missed opportunity, as well as a waste of a click.

PC World provides a much better example on this search for an alternative printer:

The ad delivers me straight to the product page for the printer I searched for, allowing me to see details of the product and select to collect it from my local store or buy it online, though in this case the item is out of stock: 

Delivering relevant pages and connecting the landing page to the paid search ad will increase your chances of getting the sale, especially when customers have entered a very specific product into a search engine. See this article for more tips on PPC landing pages.

Graham Charlton

Published 29 September, 2009 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (10)

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Simon Cooper

Whilst on the whole this is exactly what you should be doing with your PPC campaigns for long tail/product specific terms, it is worth testing what happens when you land the user one page up, as per the Amazon example.

Have you ever walked into a shoe shop knowing exactly what size, colour, and style you want, but still take time out to browse lots of other shoes?  The same is often true online.  It can be nice to give the user a choice.

What needs to be done is a thorough test of various landing pages, and identify what page provides the best conversions and ROI from your customers and various different keywords.  Only then will you truely know.  The one thing that is a definate in PPC is the need to test, test and then test again.

about 7 years ago


Sam - Impact Media

Thanks Graham - this really does reiterate the importance of dedicated landing pages.

about 7 years ago



I agree, specific product pages are best, although with stores offering thousands of products with new ones being added everyday it can be a struggle to keep PPC campaigns up-to-date. That's where other tools come in which allow you greater control over product feeds.

For example, if you change the price of a product the PPC ads will be automatically updated thereby matching the landing page. Alternatively, if the item is out of stock then the adgroup/terms can be paused altogether which solves the above problem you encountered with a blank page which has to win the award for worst landing page ever.

about 7 years ago

Adam Tudor

Adam Tudor, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at The Black Hole

Sometimes you can judge the stage the visitor is at in their purchase cycle by the keyword they come to the site through - for example, including model numbers and specifics in your referring keyword is usually a sign they know what they're looking for = direct product link.  Brands and more general terms can work well going to range pages, but as always test test test!

Good post though - I'd also stress the importance of landing pages - They can sometimes have as much impact on the performance of a PPC campaign as the keywords and ad copy themselves, if not more.  

Unfortunately I've seen too many marketers focus 80%+ of their efforts on their ppc campaign and not enough on their point of landing (and the performance of that page).  With solutions like Google Analytics (free!) you can easily be measuring performance of your landing pages, and making changes and tests to maximise your PPC spend - and all changes you make will effect anyone that reaches that page, so in some cases you can reduce the CPA across a few channels with some minor page fixes.

about 7 years ago


Doug Stewart

Good intro to ppc landing pages. If you take this one step further, you can also match your ppc ad text to the headlines or sub heads on your landing page. You'll find matching the text of the ad clicked on with the page more precisely increases conversion rates.  

about 7 years ago


Alan Mitchell

While I agree that taking users through to a relevant landing page is important (as I also point out in my study of PPC relevancy), using product-specific landing pages - even if the user has qualified their search - may not be the best approach.

Taking users to a category landing page, where the user's product is included among others on the page, can have the following psychological benefits:

  1. User has to find the product themself - when they do so, they gain a sense of satisfaction that they have achieved something, which could result in a greater tendency to buy due to a 'feel good' factor
  2. Users don't feel pressured that they are being 'forced' into buying one particular product, which could relax them and create a better environment for purchasing
  3. Users can see other similar products, so can compare similar products they might not have previously thought of - this could increase time on site and therefore tendency to buy
  4. Multiple products on the page, instead of just one, creates credibility and authenticity - which is always good for conversion rates

Although relevancy is important with landing page choices, I'm not sure deep-linking is all it's cracked up to be. Give medium-linking a second thought.

about 7 years ago



Great post - thank you. Especially now that small and medium businesses are starting to learn about conversion optimization, seo, ppc etc what you're saying here becomes more and more relevant: these smaller companies can't always afford to create a seperate landingpage for both seo and ppc. Nor do they have the volume to properly test for conversions. So they have to be pragmatic - create landingpages that ideally serve both purposes and create them using best practices from research that enterprises have paid for. Your table is a helpful guideline. Furthermore I believe that through smart use of modern web technology (ajax and the like) one can obtain the information density required for SEO while still keep the page targetted enough for PPC visitors. I'm working on a concept for this and will report back when this is ready :)

about 7 years ago


Jasmine Wilkinson

Good post, and a total no-brainer to me. As a consumer, the only thing I am going to do as a result of being promised something and then totally let down in the space of one click is .. hit the back button. One of the golden rules of good search marketing - and why the algorithm rewards it - is relevance - which actually is really about HONESTY. Give people what they are looking for, and what you say you are going to give them. Couldn't be clearer, I say ...

about 7 years ago


Terry Hogan

Lots of valid opinions here. Lets face it, we all try different things for different situations and outcomes. If you are doing PPC, the idea from a business viewpoint is to make money in either the short, medium or long term, whilst keeping the consumer and your partners happy.

For a short burst tactical campaign, we tend to limit the choices a consumer has on the landing page- even to the point of making it difficult to do anything other than the action we want to happen. So for selected campaigns, we list the cheapest product per brand and land the consumer on an enquiry form with enough detail to convert to enquiry, and a limited choice of similar product. We are saying 'These are the best deals on the market, if you don't like them, that is fine but we have given you exactly what you have asked for'

We use only one or two keywords per ad, they have to match exactly  so you don't annoy the whole world. An example might be 'cheap new XYZ product'

This results in excellent goal conversion, but might not work if the product was mid-price. Who wants an OK deal? The customer said they wanted a cheap new XYZ- not an expensive one.

For more general campaigns- for example to increase share of the market and page views, we might land the consumer on a relevant page with some choice from a broader, short tail search, eg 'Used widgets' might land on a general used widget search page

This delivers additional page views, a little branding, lower actions- but still generates margin. And who wants to advertise on a site that converts brilliantly, but only has 100 visitors? So this type of campaign delivers the middle ground of some transaction, great user journey, and lots of page views.

Then there is the 'catch all' campaign-its cheap, the words don't necessarily convert, but they increase your site traffic and show your brand to relevant consumers who might not convert this visit, but will hopefully return in the future if they are happy with your site. You'd like these to be low cost or free, and you may not be able to control where they go or what they do, but as long as you get a little margin- it's fine.

We tend to land these people on a generic home page, because often the search is so obscure, we don't actually know what they want or can't manage the volume of words effectively.

These comments are based on a wide ranging site with lots of products. If we had a site that only sold ten products or had one action, I would change my campaign accordingly and use the first style of campaign plus a social media/PR element to drive extra visitors.

Its all about results for everybody. Consumer gets result- he/she is happy, advertiser gets results, he/she is happy, site owner gets results, he/she is happy.

about 7 years ago



Great read, thanks for sharing. So many mistakes are still being made when appointing landing pages. The results can be significant when relevant landing pages are connected to the correct paid search ad. As Simon pointed out already it is important to split test the various landing pages. Almost all web analytics software offers split testing nowadays. The power of split testing is the focus. Using Logaholic Web Analytics (available from www.logaholic.com) as my preferred tool, I have been able to easily set up tests. It's simple but powerful and also allows me to easily set up a sales funnel, track the conversion and much more.

about 7 years ago

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