Good marketing is about standing out, and standing out is about doing things differently than everyone else. In the world of search engine marketing, one of the biggest opportunities to stand out is by writing engaging ad copy. Let’s take a look at one strategy for writing ad copy that stands out when you’re faced with competitors all using the same messaging.
If you are currently running an AdWords campaign, or even considering it, a thorough review of your destination urls (landing pages) is very important. Google, for example, calculates the page load times for landing pages used in pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns and factors that into the overall Quality Score they assign to keywords in the campaign. Quality Score is an important factor in where ads will be displayed when they are served by the AdWords auction-based system. Google multiplies the Quality Score and the max CPC for each keyword when assigning a ranking to all ads that are considered relevant for a particular search query. There are other factors that play a part in determining Quality Score of which some you have little or no control over (historical clickthrough rates) and others where you have direct control over (landing page load time).
Google recently introduced a new service called Page Speed Service to help test and optimize web page load times. While I am hesitant to recommend turning over the optimization of web pages to Google, if nothing else, it is an excellent service for those who may have previously been unaware of their landing page load times. In addition, it gives users insights into what degree of improvement they could see if they were to implement proper changes to their website pages to help improve page load times.
The next time you are optimizing your PPC campaigns, or if you are just starting out with a new AdWords account, be sure to test your landing page load times before you decide on the best place to drive your paid search traffic. The decisions you make now will directly affect how much you have to pay for placement in Google’s sponsored links. If you are not sure of your landing page load time, here is a link to the testing service: http://www.webpagetest.org/compare. The test takes a few minutes to complete for each url you enter, but the wait is worth it, as it could save you money in the long run with your PPC campaigns.
Paid placement traffic and SEO traffic are two different beasts, so why do we often send both sources of traffic to the same end result? Paid placement marketing campaigns provide something that SEO doesn’t, you have complete user experience control. By not exercising that control, you could possible be handing your business over to your competitors. Landing pages can cater to visitor’s specific needs as spoken by their search queries. Below are a few ways that you can best capture your PPC (Pay-Per-Click) audience with a landing page.
Calls-to-action. Websites often don’t have strong calls-to-action available within a click. Keep in mind visitors don’t like to guess what to do and who you are, they want to know immediately. Adding a prominent call—to-action on your landing page will help increase conversions. Tell visitors what you want them to do, don’t just assume they know. Include a brief contact form that will allow you to capture leads without detouring potential customers.
Copy. On average, most websites have an overwhelming amount of content. You need a tight correlation between visitor’s search queries and your website content to engage and capture potential customers. Most consumers are looking for a quick answer to their questions and don’t have the time or patience to read through pages of content. Illustrate your most prominent information in a bulleted or numbered list. Be sure to incorporate your PPC keywords in your landing page copy. This will not only help improve your Quality Scores, but will also help potential customers better connect with your content.
Simplicity — The key to successful PPC landing pages is to keep the user from getting distracted. Limit your navigation and users ability to leave the page or get confused and frustrated. One page with simple, straight-forward content and a relevant form is enough information. If visitors need more information before converting; give them the option to view your full website. You don’t want to distract your paid placement visitors from what you want them to do. Less is more.
Load Times — If it takes more than 10 seconds to fully load your website, that’s to long. It should take less than 5 seconds and could affect your Google Adwords Quality Score. Numerous images, or animated graphics and large flash files, could hinder your load times and if visitors have to wait for a flash animation to load before they can get information about your services, they’re more than likely not going to stick around or even come back.
Always go back to the old school marketing and sales mentality of K.I.S.S (keep it simple stupid). Avoid clutter, reduce the amount of content that you display and make the calls-to-action prominent. Control the user experience.