Since Google Ads is the preferred advertising platform for most companies in the United States and around the globe, most marketers accept that leveraging their ad exchange is part of the cost of doing business. What we shouldn’t accept, though, is the misguided belief that we have to spend a ton of money on Google Ads to see any tangible ROI.
Instead of throwing good money at poor performance, keep reading to learn how you can build better landing pages that generate more conversions, thus improving your PPC quality scores while seriously decreasing your digital ad spend.
What Are PPC Quality Scores?
The pay-per-click quality score is the numerical value (1-10) that Google assigns to each individual keyword. This score determines your ad rank and the amount of money you must spend to achieve your desired position on a search engine results page (SERP). Coincidentally, it’s also far and away the most overlooked and underrated paid search campaign metric.
PPC quality scores are based on several elements that are factored into Google Ads’ algorithm, including:
Previous account performance
Keyword relevance within an ad group
Ad copy relevance within an ad group
The quality and relevance of your landing pages
Notice a trend?
Relevance is critical to achieving higher PPC quality scores. And when your quality scores are higher, you’re bound to drive more traffic. When that happens, you want to make absolutely sure that your PPC landing pages are optimized to generate as many conversions as possible.
Why PPC Landing Page Conversions Are So Important
The first and most obvious reason that PPC landing page conversions are so important is that they enter new contacts into your sales funnel. This begins the customer journey and empowers you to deliver personalized content and campaigns to nurture them throughout the entire experience. Tracking their interests and understanding their motivations helps you deliver against their unique needs and creates opportunities that build pipeline for your organization.
There’s another, less obvious reason these conversions are so vital: they improve your PPC quality scores. While most advertising platforms (including Google Ads) keep their algorithms under lock and key, we know that engagement plays a major role in keeping quality scores high and cost-per-click low. So if you’re able to create landing pages that drive traffic and conversions, you’ll get more out of digital advertising with less spend and maximum performance.
Improve Your Landing Pages; Improve Your Quality Scores
We know from experience that if you follow the tips below to create better landing pages, you will:
Earlier, we talked a bit about the importance of relevance throughout the paid search continuum, but this topic deserves more detail. In fact, relevance is such an essential part of successful paid digital advertising that certain ad platforms actually refer to quality score as “Ad Relevance.” So, what is it?
Put simply, ad relevance is the degree of consistency in your ad campaigns — from keyword through conversion. This means that every progressive stage of these campaigns must use similar messaging throughout the entire program to ensure a high quality score.
For example, if your goal is to drive conversions related to “Financial Planning,” you’ll want to include that phrase in your list of keywords, in your advertisement, on your landing page, and even on your “Thank You” page following a form submission. In addition, you should add similar keywords to each ad group and also use those terms in your ad and on your landing page.
In this case, you might consider phrases like:
Wealth management planning
Financial investment advice
Financial risk management
Managing investment assets
Notice how each keyphrase is closely related to the primary (“Root”) keyword, “Financial Planning.” Adding these additional terms will help you cast a wider net while still remaining highly relevant to your target audiences.
Once those potential prospects type their search for “Financial Planning,” they’ll expect to see that and other related phrases in the ads that greet them at the top of the SERP. And the same goes for once they click through the ad to the landing page, which is where you can go a little further in depth to educate and inform your audience with enriching content.
Add Content to Enrich the Landing Page
Now that you’ve chosen your keywords and dedicated yourself to a consistent experience throughout each ad group’s digital advertising journey, it’s time to beef up the content of your landing page(s). Doing so will help you expand on what you’re promoting — creating a more thorough experience for the user, driving more pipeline via conversions, and significantly increasing your quality score (thus improving ad rank and decreasing ad spend).
Before you go writing the great American novel on your PPC landing page, take a step back. The goal isn’t to bloat your word count and stuff keywords; the goal is to enrich the content on the page to make it as relevant as possible for your potential customers.
That said, you should keep your most pertinent messaging above the fold, including:
Primary header, which should include your primary keyword
Subheader and/or brief intro. copy that includes either your primary or secondary keywords
A list of bullet points with copy relevant to your offering
A video or image of the asset, product, or service you’re promoting
A concise form with brief explanatory copy above the fields and a prominent CTA below them
Placing these elements above the fold is paramount because most users have short attention spans and are looking for only the most important content to encourage them to submit their contact info.
But to further improve the user experience and better promote your gated offer, you need to add additional content below the fold of your landing page. Using the primary and secondary key phrases in your respective add groups, write copy that details specific aspects of your gated offer. Not only does this improve your users’ understanding of what they’ll receive in exchange for their contact information, but it also gives you a golden opportunity to seamlessly place highly relevant keywords throughout your site, which will boost your quality score.
Another proven tactic is to add anchor links in your above-the-fold bullet points that move users down the page to the relevant content block when they click. This creates a super convenient and intuitive user experience that gets your potential leads exactly where they want to be without distraction or hassle. It also further cements the relationship between the keywords in your bullet points and the corresponding keywords in your below-the-fold content blocks.
Eliminate Navigation and Simplify the Conversion Process
Surprisingly, there’s still some debate about whether or not you should include navigation elements in your PPC landing page, so let’s put that to rest. Other than highly specific, extremely rare circumstances, you should not include navigation elements on PPC landing pages.
The reasoning is pretty simple:
The goal of a PPC landing page is to generate a conversion
Adding navigation elements encourage visitors to move away from the page
Using paid advertising budget to drive clicks to your website (rather than conversions) is a colossal waste of money
Including a link to your homepage in your logo above the fold is fine to avoid making your visitors feel trapped on your landing page. But including traditional navigation elements will defeat the purpose of the page — and the entire campaign — which is to grow your marketing lists via form submissions.
Speaking of which, you’ll also want to keep your web forms brief and direct. Use as few form fields as necessary. In most cases, a first name and email address should be enough to get the ball rolling with your subsequent nurturing campaigns. If you are willing to trade volume for value, you can include additional fields to learn more about these contacts — such as phone number, industry, income, or whatever you deem most helpful or relevant.
One more note on form fields: The number of fields you use can be directly associated with the funnel stage you’re targeting. For example, for top of funnel leads, you should try to use fewer fields. With bottom of funnel leads, however, you can use additional fields to help qualify the leads and provide Sales with prospects who are primed to buy.
Create Better Landing Pages With Act-On
Now that we understand why landing pages are so important and how to optimize them for conversions and better quality scores, you need to decide which platform you want to use to bring these assets to life.
As an integral part of our best-in-class growth marketing automation platform, Act-On’s Landing Page Composer helps marketers of all skill sets and experience levels design, build, test, and launch engaging landing pages quickly and easily. Features include:
Dozens of stock templates
Simple HTML design options
Drag-and-drop content blocks
Branded asset storage for later use
Sticky navigation bars
Mobile optimization with responsive design
Use these landing pages to generate paid advertising conversions, promote your product, services, and content on your website, or even create customer surveys to get great feedback directly from the source.