John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher and this is Digital Marketing Madness. This broadcast is brought to you by McDougall Interactive. We’re a digital marketing agency in Danvers, Massachusetts. Today my guest is Bob Rustici — he’s our Paid Search Director at McDougall Interactive.
Bob Rustici: Hey John! How are you doing?
John Maher: Good. Today we are going to be discussing landing page best practices. We’ll start off with the obvious question, Bob — what is a landing page?
What Is A Landing Page?
Bob Rustici: Obviously, this is a good question to start out with. The way I look at landing pages, it’s the beginning point of the journey with your engagement with the website. Not necessarily the home page. Often it’s the interiors. You can actually go in Analytics and find out typical landing page starting points.
John Maher: Right.
Bob Rustici: For my particular purpose in this discussion today, it’s really focused on PPC. A landing page is not necessarily part of the website. They can actually be sub‑directories, customized pages that we have sort of developed in concert with the web developers.
John Maher: A landing page in general is whatever the first page is that somebody lands on when they come from somewhere else. Whether it’s from another website or whether it’s from a search, something like that, or from a paid search ad. But in this case you’re talking about, specifically, pages that are created specifically to be landing pages for paid ads.
Bob Rustici: Yes.
John Maher: As you said, they don’t have to be on the navigation of the main website. They might not even be able to be found at all by somebody surfing through your website. They are only found by clicking on one of these ads and going directly to that landing page.
Bob Rustici: The best way to look at it is, it’s the first step of the journey.
John Maher: Okay.
Bob Rustici: It can be the last step. It all depends. Very often a lot of people treat landing pages as a singular page, and you start and stop, basically, there.
The Benefits Of A Landing Page
John Maher: They might not even see the rest of the website at all. So what are the benefits of the landing page?
Bob Rustici: Including PPC terms, the benefits can be, it can increase your conversion rate. Because you’ve already in PPC identified the search terms they’re coming in through. You can map very quickly to what their intent was. You can actually see a very high conversion rate.
You can also see an improved quality score because you are sort of customizing the search terms to that landing page. Very often people create multiple landing pages. It can have the benefit of higher conversion rate and better quality score which also means lower cost for your clicks.
John Maher: How do they end up with a lower quality score?
Bob Rustici: Google is looking at the relevancy of the terms. If they see that your landing page has a lot of that same terminology that they do from your ads, they give you a higher quality score. Which you often can’t control in organic scenarios of going to the regular website.
John Maher: Right, because maybe you don’t have a page on your site that’s maybe geared toward exactly that keyword that you are targeting in a paid ad. Whereas when you create a landing page that is separate from the website, you can make that landing page and tailor it exactly to that keyword, or that set of keywords, that ad group maybe, that you are targeting.
The keywords that you are using in the ad itself, you can include those on the landing page. Maybe they wouldn’t make a lot of sense as a regular page on your website. But they can make a lot of sense coming from a paid ad. Are there best practices in creating a landing page or design?
Landing Page Best Practices – The Conversion Trinity
Bob Rustici: Yes. They are a lot of different theories out there. There are actually a lot of consulting groups focused just on landing pages. Very often they kind of go in concert with conversion optimization because that sort of goes hand‑in‑hand with landing pages. The first landing page principle, I think, in some ways for a best practice, is kind of focusing on what they call the conversion trinity.
You have relevancy, value declared, and you have a call-to-action. So you want to make sure that your landing page says, if I am talking about dog food today, or benefits of dog food, when I land to that page, it leads with “these are the following benefits of our dog food today”.
John Maher: That’s the relevancy.
Bob Rustici: That’s the relevancy. And the value is, you get a really healthier dog, a happier dog, a great companion. You can start building on something emotional and then a call-to-action of “okay, you get a coupon to try a free sample”, or something in that nature.
John Maher: Right.
Bob Rustici: So you really kind of tie that sort of conversion trinity in there. So from when they start the ad you kind of talk about what you can do, free samples, and wonderful beneficial dog food for you today.
When they get the landing page, all of that kind of reinforces everything and the call-to-action is sort of they’ve already been anticipating that they’re going to get that, and it is very clear.
John Maher: You said that before, people might not even click through to the main website at all. Because, really, you are tailoring this landing page so that they can find all the relevant information that they need to make a decision to convert right there on the landing page. You’ve tailored it that way.
They come to the ad, the page that they see, the pictures, the text, the headings, all of that is relevant to what their original search term was and what the ad that so they are going to get.
And then, as you said, you are including the value. You’re giving them a reason to want to buy from you or fill out a form, or something like that. Then you are giving them that call to action. OK, act now! And, in a lot of cases, these landing pages then generally convert better than just sending people to a website page?
Landing Page Conversions
Bob Rustici: Yes. Because you can really kind of get in to, just go back to the dog food, if I’m saying dog food for small dogs, dog food for large dogs, you can now do that little minutia, that sort of finite sort of changes where the picture or the graphic shows a small dog. And it actually talks about the health benefits in there, and very often, sometimes, in websites they can’t do that. Or even if they are saying “benefits of dog foods for German shepherds”, you can actually tune to there. You can have an infinite number of landing pages that really map so closely to your ads.
John Maher: And if you add all those pages on your website, maybe some of the content is duplicated and you are going to end up with issues there and, in search, Google will kind of knock you for having duplicate content.
Bob Rustici: I often set my landing pages to a “no follow”, or do not let them be discovered by the search engines, because I could actually cause problems for SEO purposes. Which is actually an important point, because you do want to — In PPC, I want to get down to that granularity but I don’t necessarily want to cause damage to the overall SEO efforts.
John Maher: All right. That is excellent advice, Bob. Thanks for speaking with me today.
Bob Rustici: All right.
John Maher: And for more information about Digital Marketing, visit mcdougallinteractive.com and subscribe to this broadcast on iTunes.
Thanks for listening, I’m John Maher, and see you next time on Digital Marketing Madness.