Searching Beyond the Paid

Friday, June 15, 2012

Picking a PPC Landing Page

Countless articles and blog posts have been written about setting up and managing PPC campaigns.  From keyword research, to ad copy development, to account structure, to networks, geotargeting, and on and on, there’s a plethora of info about dealing with the inner workings of the various PPC engines.

In all that detail – and let me be clear, all that detail is critically important – it’s easy to forget that keywords & ad copy are only the first step in a long journey to a conversion.

I’ve heard it said that the best PPC campaign in the world can’t fix a crappy website or a crappy landing page.  And I’m here to help you choose the right landing page for PPC success.

Choose the most relevant page for the query.

The most relevant page is almost never going to be your website’s homepage.  The exception to this would be branded terms that don’t give any additional info about what the searcher is looking for.  So if the search query is “brand X,” then the homepage is better than deeper pages that may not be relevant to the query.

But most search queries aren’t that vague.  Nearly every non-branded query is going to give some idea of what the searcher wants (and if it doesn’t, maybe you shouldn’t be bidding on it!).

Use this info to choose your landing page.  If the query is broad, you may want to use a category page as the landing page.

Let’s take the example of a clothing retailer that sells designer jeans:  Nordstrom.  (If you were at my Intro to PPC session at SES Chicago, this will sound familiar).  If the query is “designer jeans,” then don’t send them to the home page:

Instead, you’ll want to send the visitor to your jeans category page:

Often, though, the query is more specific.  People might search for “women’s seven for all mankind jeans,” for instance.

In those cases, give the user what they searched for!  Land them on the “Seven” category page.

Granted, they’ll still need to do some browsing on your site to find the exact pair and size they’re looking for, but it’s certainly better than dropping them on your home page, which may not even mention the product they looked for!

I know that once you see these examples, it seems obvious – yet I see countless PPC campaigns that either send all their traffic to the home page, or use a category page for specific queries (or vice versa).  Your visitors already performed one search - don’t make them search again!  By picking the right landing page, you’re giving yourself the best shot at getting that sale or lead.

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