Landing page design is the creation of webpages purely for advertising or marketing campaigns, with the primary goal of converting visitors into customers or subscribers.
However, whilst digital marketers have made the landing page this very specific type of webpage, technically speaking ANY page in a website that a user can land on, through organic search for example, is a landing page. Quite literally it is the first page that a user lands on.
The Difference Between a Landing Page and a Landing Page
So, what is the difference between a landing page in the first instance above, and a landing page in the second scenario?
What we should be saying here is that one is a Pay Per Click (PPC) landing page, whilst the other is an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) landing page.
One is designed specifically for PPC campaigns. Because the visit is paid for, and there is a cost per click, it is important that a visitor converts. This is particularly critical for highly competitive and high-cost keywords. When Google AdWords, as it was back in 2003, first started, clicks were as low as £0.02 per click. However, as the value of AdWords became realised, cost-per-click (CPC) started to climb, particularly for the extremely competitive and lucrative keywords.
The other is any page in a website. It could be the home page, contact page, “about us” page, a product or service webpage, or even a blog post or informative article. Every single page in any website is a potential landing page.
Why The Difference in Approach?
That is an excellent question.
PPC landing page design is a particular discipline in itself – Once the click has been made, there is a cost to the campaign owner. Most paid clicks are a reasonable price, but as this cost moves upwards, so does the imperative to convert.
For example, on a budget of £1,000 a keyword term costing £5.00 per click, and a product with a markup of £50.00 profit per sale, your PPC campaign will get two hundred clicks. To break even you need to convert twenty of those visits, or 10% – 1 in 10 of your two hundred visitors needs to know that they have come to the right page, so you need to design and build a landing page that converts. A conversion rate of over 10% is required here, so 20% is really your baseline. Remember your marketing agency’s fees too, they will have their digital retainer to be paid, so the higher the conversion rate, the greater your return on investment.
Any other web page that incidentally is a landing page, may have a quite different purpose. Your “about us” page is informational, providing company information, your news pages may announce company activities, or awards, staff pages detail the profiles of your workers… All these pages will have been optimised to perform for their exact purposes and the search engines, Google, and Bing, will recognise your SEO efforts. These pages are not designed for selling though, so they need to convert in different ways – inform, create awareness, entertain, enlighten etc. Organic traffic is “free” other than the cost to create and optimise, but ultimately, you’re not directly paying for clicks to this sort of content.
That is the effective difference between PPC landing pages and SEO landing pages.
SEO your PPC Landing Pages
We have spoken about Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) before. This is the discipline of optimising landing pages to convert, as we mentioned, primarily for PPC campaign pages.
What we are here to discuss is the other angle – how SEO is often overlooked in the design of landing pages. The reason for this is that the traffic is generated by the PPC campaign, run through Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising (Bing Ads), or a social campaign, with visitors driven to your page via LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter for example. A user types in a search and the PPC platform delivers the right ad to the user. There is no direct need for SEO because you are not trying to get organic traffic, your ad platform positions your ad dependant on the amount you’re willing to bid for a click.
Yet one key aspect of any PPC campaign is the landing page quality score (QS).
Google Ads assigns a quality score based upon:
- Expected CTR (Click Through Rate)
- Ad relevance, and
- Landing page experience.
In Google Ads, these factors are ranked:
- Below average,
- Above Average.
The PPC experts managing your campaign, like Clever Marketing, aim for above average in all departments. The combined score of all these factors is a number from 1 to 10, and the higher your QS score, the better your campaign performs – that means, you pay a better price per click and your ad ranks higher than your competitors’ ads.
Expected CTR and ad relevance are important, but let’s focus on the landing page experience.
Improve Your Landing Page Experience
The majority of PPC clients who come to Clever Marketing are usually looking for better management of their Google Ads campaigns. We usually improve expected CTR and ad relevance quite quickly, achieving at least average in each, preferably above average. The landing page experience takes a little more time.
First up, the landing page design needs to be right. Your landing page should be fast to load, on-brand, appealing, engaging, clear to understand and use, and serve the purpose of encouraging users to fill in a form, pick up a phone and call you, download a whitepaper, or even buy a demo or a full product if that’s the sort of campaign you’re running.
We’ve skimmed over these extremely important points for now, they’re addressed in greater detail elsewhere. But you should ensure your webserver performance is top-notch then conduct CRO.
From an SEO perspective, conduct the usual on-page SEO, as if you were optimising your content for organic traffic. Run through all the items you would as if you were SEO’ing a regular web page:
- URL – make sure the URL is optimised, to include your keywords, remove “stop words” and be readable by people wherever possible
- <title> tag – This is the title of your document, it must be unique, include your keywords and brand if possible/appropriate. You have just 50-60 characters to achieve this.
- <meta description> tag – The content of this tag describes your page – do exactly that, describe what your page is about. You have 155-160 characters in which to write a relevant, punchy, and appealing heading. The relevance of the keywords in here, with the target terms you are targeting in PPC, is vital.
- <h1>, <h2>, <h3> tags – Hopefully you’ve structured your web page to start with a single <h1> or heading 1 tag, then follow with <h2> and <h3> tags as appropriate. Try to use your keywords, or main subject, within your heading tags. Use variations and synonyms in h2 and h3 tags if you’re concerned about the keyword count. Overdoing the keyword mentions can look “spammy” so you don’t want to look like you’re “keyword stuffing” your page.
- <body> copy and features – Write appealing and engaging content, mix up blocks of copy with appropriate supporting content types such as pull quotes, testimonials, FAQs, charts, tables, video, and images. You’ll have already thought of this when designing your landing page, so much of this should be in place. Again, use your relevant keyword term and synonyms as required.
- Images – Make sure your images are correctly sized, optimised for filesize, and that you correctly name them – the filename, including again your keyword or describing the image, is a tiny but helpful option to follow. Add a descriptive alt attribute to your image tag and add a tile attribute if your system allows you to add it.
- Optional extras – Hopefully you’ve conducted technical SEO on your website, so double-check your landing page is as fast as possible. Reduce scripts, crunch your images, and run tests to identify any issues you may have missed.
By conducting both CRO and SEO, your PPC will benefit. The landing page experience metric in Google Ads should improve to be above average and this will move your Quality Score upwards.
We regularly take up management of PPC campaigns with below average scores and QS of 1-4. With our in-house PPC experts’ experience and skills, we usually score at least one above average score and earn QS of 5-10.
Our loyal PPC clients stay with us for years because we’re so good at earning such a good return on investment.
Clever Marketing is a PPC agency in Berkshire, Hampshire and Surrey. Our PPC team is complemented by SEO, content, and web design & development experts.