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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.
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.