Is Your Landing Page Experience Below Average?
Optimising landing pages for organic results through SEO methods are often seen as the key priority for many webmasters, but there are benefits that can be seen through your PPC activity too. Paid Search and Organic aren’t a million miles away from each other. The outcome of each channel is the same: to get your content seen by a user and provide a clear route to conversion.
The Formula Behind Your AdRank
Ultimately, Google’s aim is to provide relevant search results that closely match the user’s query. PPC requires attention on landing pages to give your campaigns the best performance opportunity while keeping your cost per click at a cost-effective level. Google uses the following formula to determines your ad position with your quality score factoring heavily in the equation:
AdRank = Max.CPC Bid x Quality Score
This formula suggests there are two ways to ensure your ads rank high within SERPs. Either increase your bid to one higher than your nearest competitors bid or improve the quality score against your keywords.
While quality score has many metrics which impact it, the three most important are Ad Relevance, Expected CTR and Landing Page Experience. You can view each metric by simply adding the relevant columns at keyword level in your Google Ads account. Google considers pages as ‘below average’ status when it identifies there are changes to your website’s landing page experience that you may want to consider. But the question remains: what should you do if you see your landing pages are ‘below average’? This where the worlds of PPC and SEO collide…
Consider your on-page content, is it truly relevant to the keywords you’re targeting? Yes, there are only so many ways that you can write about a particular term, but it’s still important that you take targeting into account when choosing the most relevant landing page for your campaign.
Let’s consider a term such as ‘Summer hats.’ Terms of this nature naturally start to increase in search volume towards the middle of the year, so you need to ensure the page is optimised towards this. A good example would be a page relevant to ‘hats’ which many online retailers will already have. This may seem like the most logical landing page to choose, but to Google, this page is optimised towards ‘hats’ and is therefore likely to negatively impact the quality score for the keyword ‘Summer hats’.
When it comes to onsite technical optimisation, we work closely with our SEO teams to ensure we’re giving the best advice possible to our clients. From many years of SEO experience, we’ve found that it’s crucial to make sure that Google knows without a doubt that the landing page used to support your campaign is related to the keyword. Using the same example as above, you must ensure your page titles, headers and body content contains ‘Summer hats’ or close variants such as ‘hats for Summer’.
Landing page loading time is paramount to success, particularly for mobile. Did you know, you can lose up to half of your users if your mobile landing page speed is higher than 7 seconds? That’s a huge chunk, especially when you’re paying for each click! With average CPCs increasing across many industries, you don’t want a third of your users to be closing the page before it even loads. We encourage all of our clients to check their mobile landing page speed, download a free report and read through the recommendations carefully. It could be something as simple as reducing the image file sizes or taking care of a resource heavy widget that dramatically improves your mobile performance so it’s definitely worth looking at.
Is your site responsive? If not, you’re missing out big time. More than 50% of Google searches are carried out on a mobile device and you’re being left in the dust if your website doesn’t perform as users expect on their smartphone. We’ve been hearing about the year of mobile for a long time, well it’s now happening with mobile searches overtaking desktop devices. This is another important organic ranking factor and not something that should be ignored.
Let’s say you’re running a seasonal promotion, or for whatever reason, you don’t want to make any changes to the landing pages on your main site. No problem. You can duplicate a page, update the content and save it in a different directory. If you look carefully at some of your competitor adverts, you may see they use specific URLs such as /ppc/landing-page. If you add a no index tag to this page, then there is no danger of it organically ranking so you’re optimising your PPC journey separately to the rest of the website. Clever? We think so too.
In certain cases, users behave differently when clicking an advert. This is often a sign that they are in the lower stages of the buying cycle and are expecting quick and efficient results relevant to their query. It’s a good idea to consider this when designing a PPC landing page, making all the key actions as easy as possible. Something as simple as ensuring your contact form is above the fold on mobile makes all the difference. Our CRO team specialise in creating high-performing landing pages for exactly this purpose, contact us today to find out how we can help you.