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As Econsultancy highlighted earlier this month, Google has introduced the most significant changes to its PPC algorithm for some time.

We’re all aware of how important click-through rates are in determining your Quality Score but Google’s recent update now places greater emphasis on the importance of landing pages.

Alongside the undoubted effect such pages can have on improving conversion rate we’ve compiled Top Ten Tips for anyone looking to either build or choose the best possible landing pages for their campaigns.

1. Provide the best experience

We like to use the phrase, “think humans and the robots will follow”. This means providing the best possible experience for your users in terms of site navigation and usage etc.

Speed is becoming a growing factor not only in the Google algorithm (see this post from Matt Cutts last year) but tests by Google and by Amazon indicate users are increasingly using speed as a determining factor in where to purchase.

You can see how fast your site loads on Google’s Developers site

2. Would you buy from you?

Get someone impartial to take a look at your site, what does it communicate in the first three to five seconds? Does it give a feeling of trust? Is your brand immediately obvious? What about purpose?

Without these things being clear you’ll struggle to achieve the conversion rates you want.

3. Make it clear

Are you using call-to-action buttons and images to make it clear what you want the users to do? Do you want them to call you, send an enquiry, make a purchase or all three?

Clarity on the desired action will help maximise conversion rates and make your site more effective.

4. Make it easy

Once you’ve made it clear to users what you want from them, make it easy for them to take that course of action. If you want them to buy something, make the purchase journey as simple and straightforward as possible by making calls to action obvious, keeping the basket/checkout process hassle-free and ensuring that any other information they might need (such as returns, FAQs etc) is easily available.

5. Fulfil the promise

Be sure to think about what users might have had in mind when they clicked on your ad. Did you promise a special offer? A certain product? Make sure that you confirm whatever expectations might have been set before. 

Disappoint them and they will be sure to leave.

6. Synchronicity

From keyword, to the ad, through the landing page, your messaging and tone of voice must be consistent. This will help very early on to build trust and set expectations, improving the possibility of conversion.

7. Be specific

Always be as specific as possible. If the user is searching for a particular product then deep-link them to specific product pages. Admittedly, this is not always possible, but the ability to save user’s valuable clicks will reap rewards.

The fewer clicks it takes to get to a conversion, the more conversions you’ll get.

8. Keep It Simple, Stupid

Of course, the K.I.S.S. principle was always going to feature somewhere. Finding a balance between this and tip seven is tricky but, it can be done. Don’t worry about filling every available space.

Sometimes leaving the important elements with room to stand out is the best design decision you can make.

9. Use dynamic keywords

Trial the use of dynamic keywords on your landing page. This allows you to get away with creating fewer versions of a page and using a field in the referring URL to populate text on the page.

You’ll then create super relevant pages that can help boost quality score and cut the minimum CPCs required to participate in the auction. After introducing dynamic keywords for one of our clients we’ve found that the average minimum CPC was cut by half. It also has the added benefit of making your site appear more relevant once a user clicks through.

10. Why me

Be sure to tell your customers why you should buy from them, rather than someone else. It’s not enough to assume that they know – and even if they did, a reminder of your USPs and stand-out qualities is no bad thing.

Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive but, when you start to get things right the results will be obvious. Allied to improvements in conversion rates, the cost savings generated via relevancy and improved Quality Scores will have the combined effect of making your campaigns exponentially more efficient.

If you have any other tips to share we’d love to hear them.

Arianne Donoghue

Published 17 November, 2011 by Arianne Donoghue

Arianne Donoghue is Head of PPC at Stickyeyes and a contributor to Econsultancy.

2 more posts from this author

Comments (4)

James Gurd

James Gurd, Owner at Digital JugglerSmall Business Multi-user

Hi Arianne,

Do you have any good case studies for the use of dynamic keywords for multiple landing pages? Or stats that demonstrate increased conversion
, AOV etc as a result?

It would be useful if you could divulge some stats.

Thanks
james

about 5 years ago

Arianne Donoghue

Arianne Donoghue, SEM & Social Marketing Manager at Mamas & Papas

Hi James!

Thanks for your comment. We do have several case studies that cover off what you're asking but are restricted in data sharing due to client confidentiality.

However we recently completed a dynamic landing page test for a client which gave some really positive results. We A/B tested a sample of 468 keywords - going to both the original page and a page which dynamically inserts the keyword.

Over 250 of the keywords saw increases in Quality Score - some significantly so. Before, the combined Quality Score of all the terms was 2,252 - an average of 4.8 - with an average minimum bid of £1.20.

On the new pages, the combined Score increased to 3,206 (an average of 6.9) and the average minimum bid fell to £0.68.

On average every keyword increased by a Quality Score 2 and the average CPC required for the auction fell by 43%.

No detailed stats yet on conversion (waiting on back-end data) - but the massive efficiencies in themselves are fairly compelling even if conversions stay where they are.

What sorts of results have you seen from similar tests?

about 5 years ago

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William King

The most important point that you have discussed is fulfillment of promise that you do with your customers. Provide all those facilities and services that you have promised with them. If you are not able to do so then it will be really hard for you to survive in that market for a long time.

about 5 years ago

Tomás de Teresa

Tomás de Teresa, SEO Consultant at DETERESA.com

Very useful tips, in particular de use of dynamic keywords. Now it's necessary to take into account the landing page not only for conversions, but for quality score.
Thanks!

about 5 years ago

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