Landing page optimization for Paid traffic

In January 13, 2017
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I spend a lot of time evaluating  Paid campaigns. In fact, when a new client comes on board we go through an audit process.  I am the one who actually reviews the paid campaigns and universally there are major holes.

Sometimes these glaring holes are in the campaign settings itself. For example, we were consulting with a day spa who offered bikini waxes. They targeted the keywords “bikini” and the word “wax” individually (broad phrase no less). Good luck with that!

It might not always be with their campaign itself though. More and more people are becoming comfortable with managing their own paid ads account. The challenge here though, is your landing page needs to be optimized around your campaign as well.

This is where 90% of campaigns miss the mark. Ads are sending visitors to the home page, or to non-relevant back pages. Even if they are going to relevant back pages, those pages don’t have the right messaging or aren’t optimized themselves.

When we consider how  to design our PPC marketing campaigns, we often think about our budget, ad copy and how to catch our audience’s eye. When we do capture their attention we want one thing and one thing only – conversion. So then why is 80% of PPC traffic directed at homepages?

While this may seem like a natural progression to us – the marketers who know our brands – our customers suddenly find themselves faced with a lot of content, but all they really wanted to do was buy a product or learn more about a service.

Nothing can turn people off from your brand faster than leading them down a path that doesn’t supply the content they were promised. This makes your brand untrustworthy from the beginning.

So why are we making it hard for our potential customers? When we funnel our PPC traffic into our pre-existing pages, we not only confuse them, but we also disrupt our ability to track our highest conversion points.

These customers tend to wander, and this lessens our conversion totals. When some consumers do get to the shopping cart, we have already lost their path and our ability to specifically attribute them to our PPC campaign.

Are you ready to start running PPC ads that convert? It all comes down to…

Creating an Ad-Specific Landing Page

For all the reasons listed above, you can now see the flaw in sending PPC to existing landing pages. One point we have not mentioned is that when your ads are funnel traffic to any of the common pre-existing pages, you will hurt your quality score.

The reason: a higher score will reduce your cost per click and your advertising budget will go much further. A specific and highly-targeted landing page will receive a higher quality score than the old faithful pages.

Optimizing Your Landing Page

So let’s say you create an ad-specific landing page and you still aren’t converting. Are you optimizing your content just as you would for pure SEO purposes?

All too often, we place PPC and SEO in separate parts of our brains, when we really just need to effectively tie them together.

Ideally, you want to see your PPC and organic conversions performing at nearly the same rate.

While you don’t want to stuff the content with your keywords, you certainly want to include words that your potential customers might consistently include in their searches. You want to appear in more searches, because they will lead to more highly-targeted traffic.

Aside from simply creating your page to appear organically, you must also create it to convert.

Don’t forget SEO basics, including creating a keyword-focused title tag, a meta description that will entice click-throughs on your page and, of course, relevant keyword-based content.

Ensuring Messaging is Consistent 

Once traffic begins to flow to your landing page as people begin to click the ads, you want it to be seamless.

If you throw your audience into an unclear or non-matched messaging page, it’s like having them follow a map to the destination of their choosing and then dumping them in an entirely different country. If your message doesn’t match, you are asking your potential customers to click that back button as fast as humanly possible.

So how do you make sure your ad copy and landing page messages match?

Start by making the large headline on your page consistent. Just like the map analogy, this headline serves as the city sign that assures web travelers their maps led them to their only destination.

You have a very small window of opportunity (only a few seconds) before the customer decides to stay or go, so make the best use of that time. An easy-to-read headline will make them feel like they arrived to the best place for them in that moment.

Stating Your Unique Selling Proposition 

You want to keep your page focused and clean, so use your content to get the main points across. Why does this person need your product or service? What’s your unique selling point (or what sets you apart from the competition)? Make sure your ad’s selling proposition is backed up here.

Developing an Effective Call to Action

Your call to action (CTA) is the most important part of preparing your landing page for conversions. This is where you steer visitors into taking the actions you intended for them all along.

This may be capturing a lead, making the sale or having them register. Whatever action you want from visitors, you need to state this clearly and tell them what to do next. Act as their tour guide down the funnel you are hoping to take them.

Don’t leave room for distractions; simply navigate them seamlessly towards the finish line.

In order to get traffic to convert at the highest level, it’s wise to keep your CTA to one-per-particular ad campaign. You may run some ads in the hope of creating a sale and others for capturing leads. Ads can be targeted specifically for those in the product research phase or “buy now” customers. However, combining these two messages will lead to unnecessary confusion.

You not only want to lead with your CTA, but you should also close with a repetition of it. This is especially true if you are working with a click-through page.

What should your call to action look like? It can be a button, form or click-through. Of course, in order to know what will convert best for you, we recommend testing, testing and testing some more! Even if you find that a button converts better than a form, test the button size, location and color. This may lead to further increases in your conversions.

Showing Clear Focus

Have a specific ad group set just for this landing page. This will ensure your traffic is sent to a very clearly-focused page.

Not only will you want the message to be razor sharp, but you want it to be 100% relevant to what you have promised in your ad. You must meet the expectations of both your customers and Google.

Everyone’s favorite search engine wants a clear path from your keywords to your landing page’s messaging. In turn, this will raise your quality score.


To recap – you want to create a targeted paid campaign with specific ads and keywords. Then, create a very specific landing page offer to match the ads and keywords you have in your paid campaign. Make sure the copy matches what the visitor was looking for, and have very specific calls to action.

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