Relevance is the most important factor when you are advertising on the Internet.
The more relevant the keywords are to your ad text and your product or service, the more likely the ads will be to get clicked on by users who are actively searching for you and your business.
The landing page is the page specifically designed as the entrance point for the users that click on your ad or contextual link and its job is to convince them to perform the relevant call-to-action which you want them to.
But the biggest downfall of any Adwords or advertising campaign in general is when users land on poor quality or irrelevant landing pages.
Spending money on Adwords and other advertising campaigns without having a proper landing page is like throwing money down the drain.
Landing pages are one of the key components as part of your overall marketing strategy which you should strive to get right. After all, the primary purpose of landing pages is to turn visits into conversions.
The landing page is where all of the magic happens after you’ve spent hours of SEO work and spent hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars just to get visitors to your page.
It therefore makes sense that you do as much as you can to convince your visitors to do what you want them to do once they hit your landing page.
What makes an effective landing page
Landing pages are the key last step to your advertising campaigns and the crucial first step for your visitor’s experience when they arrive to your site.
The quality of your landing pages affects more than just your conversions.
For instance if you have an Adwords campaign, the Quality Score is a Google variable which determines where your Adwords ad will show up on a search page and how much you will pay per click.
A high quality landing page will obviously have a higher quality score and hence a lower cost per click which will also improve your Return On Investment (ROI) because your conversion rate will be better.
Conversely if you have a low quality landing page, you’ll spend more money per click and suffer lower conversions.
Below are some factors which Google deems important in determining the quality of a landing page but which are also a good practice to get into when designing your site’s pages in general.
By taking precautions to satisfy the qualities below, you will go along way in helping improve your site and Quality Score with Google.
A landing page has to be explicitly relevant to the keywords you use in your particular ad or link.
In other words a generic page such as your home page would not be considered a good landing page unless you are hosting a one-page site. (Note: Google has been known to dis-favour one-page sites in the past so if you are thinking of undertaking this practice you should do it at your own peril)
For instance if you send somebody who has just clicked on an ad specifically about “cat grooming accessories” to your generic pet-care homepage, you are not providing them with the specific information they need and you may lose them from your site.
In other words, if you force somebody to search for what they are looking for once they arrive on your site after clicking an ad which promised certain information, then you will only confuse and frustrate them and eventually each visit will lead to a dreaded page bounce.
Even worse, if you are running a google Adwords campaign, your ad may be penalised as being less relevant than your competition, or your Adwords account can even be suspended in extreme cases.
The best landing page for the scenario above is that when somebody has clicked on an advertisement about “cat grooming accessories” they will be taken directly to your page which showcases all of your cat grooming accessories.
In this case the user has received exactly what they asked for but it doesn’t mean that they can’t visit other pages in your website – because a good landing page also has navigable items which offer your visitor pathways to other areas of your website. (see more about navigability below)
But the main essence of your landing page is that it specifically provides the information which was promised in the keywords of your advertisement.
It’s always a good idea to provide original content on your landing pages.
When you provide original content, you are helping to differentiate your landing page from the rest of your competition.
Offering something relevantly unique to your site’s visitors can greatly sway the conversion rate in your favour.
The same or similar looking landing pages with the same old content don’t provide much value to web searchers and Google will eventually mark down such sites accordingly by demoting their position in search results.
An important factor for any web-based business is to build trust with your visitors.
One of the best ways to do that is by being transparent.
Make sure that you are clear about the purpose of your business and website and also how you handle any private information which you might be collecting during your interactions with your visitors.
To create a site conducive to feelings of safety, security and trust, you need to make sure that you provide information about data security, privacy policies and clear terms and conditions.
Your landing page should offer this transparency in the form of easily locatable links or menus.
When a visitor arrives on your site’s landing page, apart from being presented with the content they were promised when they clicked the ad or link, they should also be able to easily navigate their way around the page and even your whole site if they so desire.
Your visitors should not be expected to work too hard at performing the call-to-action which you asked them to do. For instance if they came to buy cat grooming accessories, then the buying process should be easy, painless and self evident via the use of things such as clear information and buttons and images.
Also if they wanted to explore other items unrelated to their initial search – such as “dog leashes” instead of cat accessories, they should easily be able to navigate to your other products or information pages.
Clear menus and links or banners in your sidebar or footer are a great way to offer a pathway to your other pages. This way, even though the visitor was specifically looking for “cat grooming accessories”, you are still providing them the option of being able to navigate to another part of your site which offers other products and avenues into different areas of your sales funnel.
When your visitors struggle to find what they are looking for they will get frustrated – and frustrated visitors don’t convert to customers very easily.
So next time you are creating a landing page or revisiting your current landing pages, see if you can add the above qualities as part of your page’s construction.
Apart from being good for your landing pages, the above factors are a good common sense approach to any page on your website because they help enhance your readers’ experience and hence improve your favorability with Google.
Check out our eBook on how to create landing pages that convert.