AdWords Tips

How to Create the Best Landing Pages for Your Google AdWords Account

By Ben Cohen April 17, 2013 Posted In: AdWords Tips Comments: 25

Creating Quality PPC Landing Pages

You can have an SEM account with hundreds of thousands of keywords that each have fantastic click-through rates (CTR) but without quality landing pages, you will never fully optimize your CPA and never reach your true money-making potential.

Great Landing Page Example

Landing Page Layout via Unbounce

I have put together some guidelines to help you create the best PPC landing pages for your AdWords account.

New! Try WordStream's FREE Landing Page Grader

1. Establish your goals.

The first step in creating quality landing pages is to establish your marketing goals to decide what you are trying to accomplish. Do you want sales, form fills, mailing list registrations, sign ups, etc.?

Once you have established what you are trying to accomplish with your campaigns and ad-groups, do some competitive research. Check out your competitors’ landing pages and look up some templates to see how you can design your pages.

2. Consider your target market …

Think about who is coming to your landing page. Consider their demographics, location, interests, etc.

3. … And how they got there.

You should not use the same message to target viewers from PPC that you would use if they came from social media or email nurturing campaigns. Considering how your viewers got to your page should influence and change the messaging you use to close them.

Grade your landing pages today!

4. Create dedicated landing pages for each ad group (if possible).

In a perfect world each ad group would have its own dedicated landing page. However not all of us have the time or resources to do this. My advice is to do your best.

Start with one landing page per campaign. As you have the time to build a new page, add it in and slowly convert your ad groups to all have specific targeted landing pages.

5. Don’t lead traffic to your home page.

People are inherently lazy. The more hoops you force them to jump through the less likely they will convert. That means less leads, less sign-ups, less sales, less $$$$. Instead of leading people to your homepage, test out driving traffic to a more targeted, conversion-optimized landing page (see below).

6. Optimize your landing pages for conversions.

Here’s how:

  • Keep the page clean and easy to read. Don’t overload your visitors with all the information in the world. Keep it short and sweet and give them exactly what they are looking for.
  • Make it easy for your traffic to convert and give them multiple ways to do it. The goal of a landing page is to build trust and have your traffic convert.
  • You don’t need your visitors’ entire biography. Instead try asking only for the information you need most. This will appear as less risk to your visitors and will lead to higher conversion rates.
  • Use clear calls to action along with arrows and catchy text while avoiding a  “scammy” look. Depending on your marketing goals you should consider putting your phone number at the top of the page, adding a form directly to the page, or allowing a purchase to be made directly from that page.

7. Always Be Testing – “Coffee is for closers”

Best Landing Pages

If you have ever been in sales or seen the movie Glen Gary Glen Ross you will surely remember the acronym “A.B.C. – Always-Be-Closing” and the Alec Baldwin quote, “Coffee is for closers.”

Take these two sales terms to heart. Your landing page is your last chance to close the sale. But unlike traditional sales you do not have the flexibility to try different angles like any good salesman would.

Your solution: “A.B.T. – Always-Be-Testing”. In the same fashion you would test out ad text, A/B test landing pages using Google Experiments (the tool formally known as Website Optimizer). This will allow you to change and test single variables such as headlines, imagery, body text, and calls to action evenly over time.

8. Avoid Common mistakes during testing.

The biggest mistakes I see made in regards to testing are not allowing your tests to run for significant amounts of time and stopping after one test.

Stay patient and pull in as much data as possible before declaring a winner, then use that data to set up ongoing tests against the winner to find and display the best possible advertisements and effective landing pages you can.

9. Allow visitors to share.

Finally, you are not in this alone. The strongest messages will not come from you; they will come from your customers. Make it easy for them to brag about their purchase and share their experiences by adding links to all types of social media. The most successful companies in the world do it, why shouldn’t you?

Creating excellent PPC landing pages can be tough. If you follow my best practices above you will lower your CPA and increase your cash flow.

Every industry is different which makes it difficult to put together the perfect guide. So I ask you, what is the best landing page you have seen? What has worked for you? Join the conversation by sharing your experiences below!

Ben Cohen is a Customer Success Specialist at WordStream and supports WordStream’s managed services team on numerous accounts. That means his days are full of training and consulting clients on their PPC accounts. Born and raised in Boston, Ben has not wandered far from home, having studied Marketing and Management at the University of Maine, Orono. Ben is also a diehard Boston sports fan. When he is not out hiking New England, you can find him at America’s most beloved Fenway Park. Go Sox!

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Comments

Wednesday April 17, 2013

Mark Sharpe (not verified) Said:

I am finding that a great looking squeeze page with navagation on the right is working well. My goals are to get as many signups as I can and convert with an email campaign. Yes It still works. Great Article! Thanks,Mark. 

Monday April 22, 2013

Ben Cohen (not verified) Said:

You are right on Mark. I have seen squeeze pages work great! 

-Ben

Thursday September 19, 2013

Ultimate CPA Landing Page (not verified) Said:

Squeeze pages are great for capturing emails, but pre-sell pages are the best to actually close a customer on the prodcut you are promitng then and there. Depends on your objective. 

Thursday April 18, 2013

Guaranteed SEO (not verified) Said:

Hii Ben, I loved your post. I personally feel that, this simple step by step procedure surely help not only to all, but also, specifically to newbies to get the awesome landing pages in order to improve the ROI.

Thanks for sharing nice article!!!

Monday April 22, 2013

Ben Cohen (not verified) Said:

Thank you!

-Ben

Monday April 22, 2013

Andrew Percey (not verified) Said:

Hi Ben,

Do you recommend creating landing pages directly on your web site, or using a 3rd party service?  What are the pros and cons you see to each approach?

For 3rd party sites, which ones would you recommend?  I personally like Unbounce.com for the well developed tools and InstaPage.com for the beautiful ready-made templates.  I haven't yet found a service that combines the best of the two.

Thank you!

Andrew

Monday April 22, 2013

Ben Cohen (not verified) Said:

Hi Andrew,

As with everything that has to do with PPC it is rather hard to give a definitive all encompassing answer. I would recommend doing testing, some more testing, and then even more testing after that.

If your landing pages aren't working you can choose to try a 3rd party service and test against those. Both methods have their pros and cons and every third party service is different. I recommend doing research on each and finding the one that matches your company the best.

The biggest take away from this article is "Always Be Testing". You will never know what works best for you until you try. So try switching out headlines, content, pictures etc. until you find the best combination for you. 

-Ben

Tuesday April 23, 2013

Michael Gocia (not verified) Said:

Hi , Ben It's really great post , this really helps many people in designing their landing pages . For newbies it's really helpful  they can understand easily as you have explained in an step by step procedure . Thanks for sharing with us.

Wednesday April 24, 2013

Ben Cohen Said:

Thanks Michael, I am glad you enjoyed it!

Thursday April 25, 2013

Doug Noll (not verified) Said:

My problem is that I have done everything in this article plus a bunch more and have lousy conversions. I have great engagement, low bounce rate, long page durations, multiple page views, but no sales. It's driving me crazy.  I am running three ad groups each with different landing pages. I have tweaked the landing pages dozens of times trying to find the magic formula. If any one knows of a landing page guru, send me the guru's contact information. I need help.

Thursday April 25, 2013

Erik Gebhardt (not verified) Said:

Hi Ben,

Thanks for writing the article. You mention one mistake is not letting tests run for a significant amount of time. How long do you recommend?

Erik

 

 

Thursday April 25, 2013

Ben Cohen Said:

Hi Erik,

I do not have a specific number as it differs for every account. What I do use is statistics. There are a lot of great spreadsheets out there on the web that will make the analysis easier.

You mainly want to look for a confidence score. The confidence percentage I typically work with is 80%-90%. I dont feel you need to waste anymore of your time or money waiting to be 90%-95% confident within adwords. 

Here is an example of a calculator I have used in the past. With some help from a couple math-wiz clients I have a simplified version that I use now. I would be happy to send that over to you if you send me a personal email at bcohen@wordstream.com

I hope this helps,

Ben

Tuesday June 25, 2013

Dmitry Minyaylov (not verified) Said:

Thanks Ben, 

I had the same question about running exeriments. From Google's Experiments page there is this additional information: 

"experiments can run up to three months. If, however, there is one page that is clearly outperforming the others, the experiment stops early. After your experiment ends, all visitors see the original page until you replace it."

Thursday April 25, 2013

Herman (not verified) Said:

i'm guilty of sending visitors to the home page and like the idea of a different landing page for each ad group.
Do you have egs of high converting landing page and a step-by-step tutorial on Google Experiments?

Thanks

Thursday April 25, 2013

Kevin (not verified) Said:

Great tips. I do a lot of real estate lead generation, and location-specific landing pages work great. Never, ever direct clicks to the home page!

Monday August 19, 2013

Will Smith (not verified) Said:

Kevin,

 

I'm interested in your services. If you'll leave your email and/or phone number, I'll reach out.

 

Thanks.

Will

Thursday April 25, 2013

Rolands (not verified) Said:

Good article. But bad picture, :). This pic is used everywhere in similar articles now. This is good for a cases when all you need from a customer is to get him signed up for a something. Whatever it is, software trial, or e-mail newsletter. But what if you have B2B web, with a products, which same time is also used by a existing customers who come in to check it's spec, etc? And primary goal is to let them "ask price, enter a sales cycle"? Not even a buy, I am talking about complex sales cycle B2B products. In that case, customers want rich product page with a lot of information. And this is why the only thing in article I would argue with, is this:

Keep the page clean and easy to read. Don’t overload your visitors with all the information in the world. Keep it short and sweet and give them exactly what they are looking for.

And yes, that also means SEO optimized page is not already good landing page? Or let me ask like this: Can GOOD Landing page also be optimized for SEO? I guess no right? 

Or - do we create different pages then for SEO traffic, PPC, and product pages? So, 3 pages for each product what you have? 

A lot of questions, and I guess formal answer is "that depends on your case, establish your goals, etc". But does it helps? :)

 

Friday April 26, 2013

Ben Cohen Said:

 

Hi Rolands,

Thank you for your feedback. You are right about B2B products with long and complex buying cycles.

People want and need more information. My guide is not intended to be followed exactly. So when I say keep it short and sweet, all I mean is that by keeping your page clean and easy to read will reduce bounce rates.  Then add in all the nessicary information. Nothing more, nothing less. You don't overload them with more content than they need. Use hyperlinks to lead people who want further information to another clean page that is also optimized for conversions.

In the end, you don't need to go crazy with landing pages but you should put some time in to make sure you do what you have the resources for. Obviously the closer you can keep your landing pages to your marketing goals then you should see more conversions. 

It truely does change depending on your business and your goals as there is no magic bullet but the best way to find out what works for you business is to do it. Give it a try and be commited to testing. 

-Ben

Friday July 19, 2013

victor198902 (not verified) Said:

Thank your for your post

I have test some landing pages for different ad group.And found we can create the Topic page and lead to products page

.especiall in the Holidays。we can create the Promotion pages.

 

 

Wednesday August 07, 2013

Jason (not verified) Said:

Thanks Ben for your help this afternoon and for passing me on this article.  Landing pages can be frustrating!  I'm not sure wether to send people to a "Dead End", basically a page with no NNavigation, links or places for the potential lead to get lost, or to send them to a specific page within my site that has more information but could be a bit more overwhelming.  I guess it comes down to testing!

Look forward to chatting more with you about how we can bring down our CPA.

Thanks again,

Jason at My Costa Rica

Tuesday August 13, 2013

Terry Nicholson (not verified) Said:

Hi Ben

Read your post with interest. One question I have:

Point 9 you say "Allow visitors to share" which I understand, but isn't there a risk in adding social buttons to a landing page as it can cause the user to wonder of into "social world" and then they don't do what you want them to, i.e. convert.

your views would be appreciated, I have just become a customer of wordstream and intend to fire up my Adwords, so its an important point to me.

regards

terry

Monday September 30, 2013

Ben Cohen (not verified) Said:

Hi Terry,

 

You bring up an excellent point and I have had this arguement with colleagues a few times. If you were to include social media links then make sure they launch in a new tab or simply allow visitors to like or share the page. Otherwise it really depends on what your goals are. Determine what you are trying to achieve and how you want to get there. If social media fits into that scheme then absolutely include it. I would recommend testing to see how it affects your bounce rates/ conversion rates on the page. 

 

Also remember that someone who likes your page on facebook can be targeted again through free posts and can be a great way for you to convert people who wouldnt convert immediately. 

Wednesday December 11, 2013

William (not verified) Said:

Could you do an article on best PPC Landing page to sell products?

Friday March 14, 2014

Matt D. (not verified) Said:

Hi Ben,

Great post, very informative!  What do you suggest when the goal is simply to get the page visitor to pick up the phone and call?  We don't sell anything on our site, and we spend a lot of time and training on sales scripts and customer service, all performed over the phone.  Would a landing page help?

Thanks for any thoughts!

-Matt

 

Thursday May 01, 2014

Ben Cohen Said:

Hey Matt,

Thanks for reading!

I would definitly suggest a page. I would include strong Calls to Action to drive phone calls. I would also consider adding some sort of a call tracking service. It can go a long way to tracking your CPA.

-Ben

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