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Landing Pages as Game-Winners: 5 Optimizations to Seal the Deal
The first 46 minutes of a basketball game are important, but the winner is usually crowned in
the final 2 minutes. This is known as “crunch time,” when the elite players shine by showing
their ability to close the deal. Your landing page is similar, at least in the sense that it’s your
closer: the final step where a searcher decides if he or she wants to convert. Here are 5 ways to
improve your landing page to ensure the best chance at closing the deal in the clutch.
81 Points or 40 Points with 18 Assists – What Is Your Goal?
The first step towards optimizing landing pages is establishing a goal. Depending on whether you
are a lead-gen or ecommerce advertiser, these goals can range from driving a direct purchase,
signing up for a trial, or downloading a white paper. Take a step back and think about your
business model. What are you ultimately hoping to gain from paid search? Establishing a clear
goal in the beginning will make future optimizations such as website layout and design much
easier, since those will all revolve around this initial goal. Your landing pages can be the biggest
determinant of conversion rates; don’t let the lack of a simple conversion action scare away
Don’t Turnover the Ball at the Last Second
While the landing page is your closer (because it closes the deal on each conversion), it also
factors into how high your ad ranks through Google’s use of Quality Score. Load speeds, errors
and 404s, and security certificates can all affect Quality Score, forcing you to pay more for a
strong position on the search engine results page.
Even more importantly, these issues will cause potential customers to bounce from your
website after arriving to your landing page. I can’t think of the last time I made a purchase on a
website that did not completely secure my payment information. By making sure your website
has appropriate load speeds, no errors or 404 pages throughout the site, and a security
certificate to keep payment information confidential, you ensure that you’ll have a chance to hit
a game winner instead of turning the ball over at the last second.
Best Regular Season Record, Lose the Finals – Relevancy & Perspective
The platinum rule for landing page selection is that the page should reflect the depth of the
user’s search. You should aim to show the user the widest selection of products that responds to
his or her search query, and nothing more. For example, if someone is searching for Nike
basketball shoes, you shouldn’t take them to your website’s homepage, unless that’s all you sell.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t take them to a specific product page, like Nike Hyperdunks,
unless that is the only basketball shoe you carry. This is where perspective is key. Place yourself
in the searcher’s shoes; which page would you like to be taken to?
Is Your Landing Page an All-Around Player?
To consider your landing page an all-around player, it needs to incorporate two main themes:
clear and concise content, and a single primary call-to-action. The first theme relates to the
content of your website. You should have a clear and concise value statement so visitors
understand the purpose of the page immediately. Your value statements should differentiate
you from your competition and highlight why a consumer should be loyal to your brand. Value
statements can include the number of years you’ve been in business (establishing
trustworthiness), or your extensive inventory of products (competitive advantage).
The second theme revolves around a single primary call-to-action. For lead-gen businesses, the
landing page should usually revolve around a lead generation form to collect data, while
ecommerce businesses will have an “add to cart” or “purchase” button. In any case, make sure
that the primary call-to-action is easily distinguishable from the rest of the website. Use
whitespace, color, contrast, and directional cues to highlight the primary action you want the
user to perform (which should be the goal you set in Part 1). By following these optimizations
for your landing page, you’ll turn your one trick pony into an all-around player!
Play Small Ball or Dominate the Paint – Switching Up Your Lineup
You may think you know which landing page is better just by looking at it, but you should always
prove your intuition with hard data. A/B testing landing pages requires a significant amount of
conversion volume to produce a statistically significant test. To get enough data, you can run the
landing page test across multiple ad groups or even the entire account to observe overarching
There are a few guidelines to keep in mind when setting up and performing an A/B landing page
test. First, remember to separate brand from non-brand, as these groupings represent two
different types of consumers with widely varying performance. Second, isolate the variable.
Make sure you’re using the same exact ad copy for each ad, and only change the landing page.
This ensures that the landing page is the only difference between the two ads, and that you can
attribute any differences in results to that variable.
Finally, use conversion rates as the primary factor in determining which landing page wins. You
might see differences in total conversions or ROI, but conversion rates are typically the best
indicator of a page’s ability drive sales or leads. Test your landing pages from time to time, and
you’ll find the ideal lineup for success!
At the Buzzer
You’ve already spent countless hours researching keywords and writing compelling ad copy.
You’ve even already paid for the click on the ad. Your landing page can be the difference
between winning it all, or losing Game 7 of the NBA finals. Stop missing out on potential
conversions, and get these 5 optimizations implemented. The ball is in your court.
By Jimmy Ho|May 10th, 2016|Business Strategy, PPC Optimization|