Building landing pages for paid campaigns is much more of a science than it is an art. And while the design esthetic is still essential, if you’re not strategic about the information that makes up your PPC landing pages, you may very well be wasting your time (and your money).
In this post, I’ll teach you about PPC landing page best practices and industry standards. I’ll also walk you through the anatomy of a landing page that’s designed for paid advertising and share some resources that will help you get started.
What is a PPC Landing Page?
Before I dive into the why, I’ll start with what makes PPC landing pages different. Unlike your typical website landing page, a PPC page should only be found when a user clicks on a paid ad. In other words, pages designed for PPC campaigns are typically hidden from search engines and only accessible by a PPC ad click. They also contain less “extra” information and internal links than a typical website page, in an effort to limit distractions for customers that might prevent them from completing a conversion.
Here’s a look at how PPC landing pages compare to your typical website page:
Want to learn more about PPC as a marketing channel? Head on over to What is PPC? Pay-Per-Click Explained.
Why Dedicated PPC Landing Pages are Worth the Investment
PPC advertising is relatively straightforward. What you put into it is what you get out. That said, carefully crafted campaigns, targeting, and ads can only take you so far. Regardless of whether you’re the mastermind behind your PPC strategy or you outsource your paid efforts to an agency, there’s only so much optimization that can be done to improve your conversion rates.
If you want to take your campaign strategy to another level, this is where dedicated PPC landing pages come in! By creating landing pages tailored to your ad groups, you can improve your Quality Score, decrease cost-per-click (CPC), and increase conversions.
7 Factors that Make a Solid PPC Page
Now that you understand the value of ad group-specific landing pages, let’s dive into the anatomy of a PPC landing page design.
1. Page Title
Your PPC landing page title must authentically match the ad copy that drove the user to the page in the first place. If there’s a disconnect between the ad copy and the page title, users are more likely to bounce as soon as they click on the ad.
When creating a PPC landing page title, it’s important to keep it simple yet informative. Users should be able to understand the gist of what the landing page is about just by looking at the title. When in doubt, use the Blank Sheet of Paper Test to ensure that your title gets your message across.
2. Concise Headlines and Supportive Copy
Don’t waste time writing detailed copy about your products or services. Keeping your headline and supportive copy short and to the point is key. Users should be able to scan the headlines with ease while picking out the information that’s important to them.
If you’re not entirely sure how to best optimize landing page copy for scanners, check out this article from the NNGroup, which covers their research on fundamental scanning behaviors.
3. Trust Indicators
This is the time to leverage your best testimonials, notable press mentions, client logos, and positive user reviews. Another way to show trustworthiness is to highlight certifications that will resonate with your target audience. Whatever they may be, adding trust indicators to your PPC landing pages can show users your dedication to your customers and reinforce your expertise.
The element of trust alone can make or break a sale. And if people don’t trust you, they won’t purchase from you.
4. Clear Call to Action
Clearly defined calls to action (CTAs) are a crucial part of a PPC landing page strategy. CTA copy can’t be vague. Avoid using statements like “learn more,” “buy now,” or “subscribe.” When it comes to placement, make sure that the CTA is visible and featured above the fold. If a user has to scroll to reach the CTA, there’s a greater chance they won’t convert.
5. Accessible Form Fields
Forms must follow accessibility best practices. This means that form input fields should always be visible to the user. While this rule may be obvious, it’s very common to see forms with hidden or missing labels.
Furthermore, it must be clear to the user which input fields are “nice to have” versus “required.” If this information is not clear and the user fails to fill out a required field that results in an error message, they’re much more likely to get frustrated with the process and leave your page.
6. Compelling Images or Video
Compelling visuals may help users get a better understanding of your product or service. Regardless of what your offer entails, pairing descriptive headlines and supportive copy with a visual cue is always valuable.
When designing your PPC landing page, take a look at your image and/or video inventory, and choose a few assets that help get your offer value over the finish line.
7. Negative Space
Unlike the regular pages of your website, you’re not trying to get your PPC page to rank in the organic search results. Meaning, you don’t need to cram as much information as humanly possible onto those pages. Keeping your layout simple and clutter-free is essential. You’ll want to incorporate negative space (also known as white space) into your landing page design.
Think of negative space as a breathing room for your users, or a pause between your selling points. When information is broken out into meaningful and clearly-defined sections, it makes it easier for the user to consume the information on the page.
PPC Landing Page Elements to Avoid
Knowing what elements to leave out from your PPC landing page build is equally as important as knowing what to include. Here’s an overview of the elements that I recommend skipping:
- Main menu
- Internal links*
- Information that doesn’t pertain to the campaign ad group
*Note, you should always include your company logo, with a link back to the homepage, at the top left corner of the landing page. If there’s no way to visit the main site from your PPC landing page, that can be a major pain point as well.
By including this type of information on your PPC landing pages, you’re creating distractions. In this instance, distractions are opportunities for your target audience to deviate from the conversion goal and explore your website further, negatively impacting your conversion goals.
How to Build PPC Pages from Scratch
Now that you have a handle on what you should—and shouldn’t—include in a PPC landing page, you can start building them.
Start by determining the number of pages you’ll need; you will want to create unique landing pages that align with your different ad groups. A well-structured ad account should have clear and tightly themed ad groups with specific keywords. Work with your PPC strategist to identify these themes. From there, you should be able to see how many pages are needed, and the general content that will be included in each of them.
It’s important to note that one unique landing page per keyword variation won’t be necessary. Google understands the similarities, and your page content should include these variations. In other words, you don’t need to spin up a new page for every keyword that you target; this would create unnecessary work and the feeling that your landing page creation will never be done.
Keep in mind, you don’t have to start from scratch. It’s fine to repurpose content from existing landing pages. However, you’ll want to make sure the information you end up repurposing for your PPC landing pages is easy to scan and digest without the context of the original page it came from.
And don’t worry if you don’t have internal design or development resources. There are plenty of tools out there that you can use to build landing pages. Here are a few that I recommend:
All of these options are easy to use and offer pre-made templates to choose from that have been tested already.
What’s Next? Optimize PPC Page Performance with Testing
When it comes to paid campaigns, the work never stops here. Once you’ve got the foundation down, it’s time to test! One of the most important ways you can optimize the performance of your landing pages (and your overall PPC strategy) is by testing new things. And these don’t have to be major updates or revisions; even the smallest tweaks can be impactful.
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