Hey there, fellow marketer! If you're struggling to make your Google Ad campaigns run like a well-oiled machine, then this post is for you.
It's no secret that running successful Google Ad campaigns can be a game-changer for your business. But here's the cold, hard truth: if your landing pages don't align with your ads, you're leaving a pile of money on the table, and worse yet, you’re spending more money on your campaigns than you should, and likely more than your competitors.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
Here’s a salon and spa advertising its hair services. This is the page potential customers are directed to from the search ad for hair services (the menu at the top is blurred to protect the innocent):
This might be interesting for branding, but this is a horrible landing page for reasons we’ll discuss below. This page has very poor alignment with the ad for hair services and what the landing page offers.
Remember this with advertising, friends: the first goal is always to sell and maximize profit, not to brand. The Internet is a direct response advertising medium. People are goal-oriented on the web and seek to accomplish a goal, not leisurely browse.
Prefer to watch a video? Click Below.
Now, let us venture further into the realm of landing pages that align with Google search ads - this is where true conversion magic awaits. These powerful strategies hold the key to unlocking unparalleled conversion rates, trumping the mere redirection of users to a homepage.
For landing pages, we must create a seamless user experience, crafting pages that not only enthrall but also align perfectly with the ad that brought them there. Imagine a seamless transition that leaves your prospects in awe, eager to take the next step toward conversion. Where every hesitation to buy your product or service is removed by your landing page.
Why is landing page alignment essential for Google Ads campaigns?
Landing page alignment is important for Google Ads campaigns because it ensures that users who click on your ads are directed to a highly relevant and informative landing page that fulfills their search intent. This leads to a better user experience and increased likelihood of converting users into customers, which all leads to more sales, increased profit, and better margins.
Matching your landing page to your ads is crucial for maximizing conversions.
The Role of Landing Pages in Conversion Rate Optimization
Landing pages are designed to deliver a clear and concise message to the user, encouraging them to take a specific action. Landing pages are then closely aligned to the ads and keywords.
By directing users to a targeted landing page, you can provide a relevant and focused experience tailored to the user's search and intent. This approach is more effective in driving conversions because it eliminates confusion and allows users to find the specific information they are looking for, leading to a higher likelihood of conversion. Remember, the internet is a direct response medium, and consumers are goal-oriented so help them achieve their goal!! (here's a related post: how to ensure your campaigns are delivering the most of conversions possible)
Home pages are typically poor landing pages.
Home pages are general, not specific to one topic or keyword. When a prospect lands on your Home page, they have to click through menus and links to find what they are looking for, making them work harder to achieve their goal.
Landing pages should reduce friction in the sales process, not create friction.
But how, you ask?
Relevance Between Ads and Landing Pages
When potential customers click on an ad, they expect a seamless transition from the ad's message to the landing page's content. Some refer to this alignment as “maintaining scent.”
If your landing page meets some of the visitor’s expectations, you’re in the game. And the level of success now depends on how well your page aligns with the visitor’s expectations and how well your page sells.
Discover How Our Agency Can Drive More Leads and Sales To You
SEO - increase traffic and leads from Google
Content Marketing - from a data-driven topic strategy to awesome content
Paid Ads - Google Ads and Paid Social Media
Let’s review another example.
Look at this ad for non-laser tattoo removal:
The above Google Ad led users to this landing page:
So there’s a whole lot wrong with both the ad and the landing page. But lets focus on the landing page (The ad issues here are whole different blog post).
Does this page have a good alignment with the ad?
The first thing that happens when a user lands on this page is a pop-up about Hydrafacial services. Was I looking for Hydrafacial? No!
This landing page is a jolt to the user. This page is not converting anywhere near as many site visitors as it could be, if it’s even converting any site visitors to leads or booked appointments. The conversion rate here is awful.
A lack of relevance between what the user sees in the ad and the landing page leads to confusion, disappointment, and, ultimately, a lost opportunity for a sale.
Here’s another example.
This ad has an “Excellent” rating from Google. This means the ad has a high level of relevance and diversity (meaning many headline and description combinations that will appeal to a diverse audience). So far, so good.
But hold on, take a look at these data
The two below keywords have extremely low-quality scores (QS) in this campaign. The quality score reflects the relevance of your Ads, keywords, and landing page to the intent of the search word or topic. Quality score is a on a 10-point scale with 1 the lowest, so this is Google's way of telling us that these keywords are not aligned well with the landing page.
How quality score affects cost-per-click
Stay with me here….
The implication of low-quality scores are (any score below a 5)…
All three of the above points will hurt your conversions leading to fewer sales, lower margins, and higher costs.
[As a side note, this is a common issue with franchise sites where the franchisee only has a single landing page - this hinders marketing, increases costs, and decreases conversions]
Create A Seamless User Experience
Users who click on an ad expect a cohesive and relevant experience when they arrive at the landing page. Not like our example above for the non-laser tattoo removal that had an irrelevant pop-up for Hydrafacial.
Ensuring that the messaging, visuals, and offers from the ad are consistent with the landing page content helps to build trust with the user, encouraging them to take the desired action. A cohesive user experience also helps to reduce bounce rates, keeping users engaged and on the path to conversion.
Customer-First Copy and Personalized Content
By crafting landing page content that speaks directly to the user's unique needs, desires, and pain points, businesses can create a highly compelling and persuasive experience.
Always remember any good strategy starts with the customer.
Personalized messaging and tailored content can take many forms, including product recommendations based on past behavior, dynamic content that changes based on user data, and targeted offers that speak to the user's specific interests.
How To Create Customer-First Copy: Profile Your Ideal Customers
Start by writing down your ideal customer segments - you might have one, or you might have five or more.
Let’s suppose you sell mortgage brokerage services (related post here on digital marketing for mortgage brokers/loan originators). Your VA customers are one set of customers, then you might have Millennial first-time home buyers as another.
If you’re a med spa (related post here on digital marketing for med spas), you have women who seek age-related skin blemish services and men that seek laser tattoo removal services.
If you’re a fast-casual restaurant (related posts on digital marketing for restaurants), perhaps you have the mother or father that’s too tired to cook for the family and wants a family pack to pick up during the week. And then perhaps you have a lunch-only business crowd.
For each customer segment, ask the following questions (we refer to this as a persona worksheet):
Next, you distill what you learned in your persona worksheet to create a landing page that speaks directly to your customer segments, including your copy, images, offers, calls to action, and more.
We have a more in-depth persona worksheet that we have each of our customers walk through - this ensures we align our ads and landing pages to the customer’s needs and pain points.
What NOT To Do On A Landing Page: Textual Content
Avoid talking about yourself as much as possible. Always start with the customers' needs and wants first. For example, avoid adding content such as:
If those features didn’t come up in your persona worksheet as important to your customers, likely nobody cares. And they especially don’t care if that’s the first thing they see. If anything, put that type of content near the bottom of the page if you have to at all.
Make sure you’re not just talking about yourself on your website. This is the equivalent of meeting someone for the first time and listening to them talk about how great they are - BORING. Customers want to know: What’s in it for them?
Designing Effective Landing Pages
Key elements for optimizing landing page design include:
Visual and Textual Consistency
Visual consistency with ad creative ensures that users are presented with a consistent and cohesive message from the moment they see the ad to the moment they arrive on the landing page. In the case of Google Search Ads, which are text, make sure the landing page content is consistent and seamless with the ad headlines and descriptions. If you have image extensions enabled on Google Search Ads, ensure he image used in the ad is the same or similar to what you have on your landing page.
Calls To Action
A clear and compelling CTA helps to guide the user toward the desired action, reducing confusion and increasing the likelihood of conversion. Calls to action include things like:
Mobile responsiveness is essential for your landing page. Depending on your niche, it’s likely the majority of your site visitors are on a mobile device. Thus, ensuring that landing pages are optimized for mobile ensures that users have a seamless experience, regardless of the device they use.
Utilize Persuasive Design Techniques
Persuasive design techniques mean creating a website or landing page that is designed to encourage customers to take action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form.
This involves using design elements such as color, imagery, and layout to guide the customer's attention toward the desired action. It also involves using persuasive language and messaging to appeal to the customer's emotions and desires, encouraging them to take action.
- 1Create Scarcity - Creating a sense of urgency by highlighting the limited availability of a product or service can encourage customers to take immediate action. For example, a website may use phrases such as "Only 3 left in stock" or "Offer expires in 24 hours" to create a sense of scarcity and encourage customers to make a purchase.
- 2Provide Social proof - Using social proof, such as customer reviews or ratings, can help to build trust and credibility with potential customers. Including testimonials, case studies, or user-generated content can also help to demonstrate the value and benefits of a product or service, increasing the likelihood of conversion.
- 3Add Clear calls-to-action (CTA) - Including a clear and prominent CTA that clearly communicates the desired action can help to guide the customer towards conversion. The CTA should be easy to locate and stand out from the rest of the website content. For example, using contrasting colors or bold typography can help to draw attention to the CTA and encourage customers to take action.
- 4Add FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) - Using FOMO is another effective persuasive design technique that can encourage users to take action. This involves creating a sense of urgency or exclusivity around a product or service. For example, a website may use phrases such as "Limited time offer" or "Exclusive access" to create a sense of urgency or exclusivity. This can encourage users to take action and avoid missing out on the opportunity.
- 5Develop a Visual hierarchy - Using a visual hierarchy in the design of a website can help to guide the user's attention towards important information or calls to action. By using size, color, or placement, the designer can create a clear hierarchy that emphasizes the most essential elements of the page. This can help to increase the effectiveness of the design and ultimately lead to increased conversions.
Analyzing and Optimizing Landing Page Performance
Key metrics to evaluate landing page effectiveness include:
All these metrics are captured by Google Analytics which you likely have installed on your site.
The conversion rate measures the percentage of users who complete the desired action, such as making a purchase, calling you, making an appointment, or filling out a form. For business-to-consumer services, typical conversion rates vary from 10% to 30% of traffic.
The bounce rate measures the percentage of users who leave the landing page without taking any action. High bounce rates don’t always indicate a problem, but often they do. Compare bounce rates between pages to get a better understanding of where you should be.
Time on page measures the time users spend on the landing page, which can provide insight into user engagement and interest.
Monitoring and refining landing page performance is crucial for ensuring ongoing success, as user behavior and preferences can change over time.
Examples of Google Alignment of Google Ads with Landing Pages
Below is a wholesale patio furniture store. Notice the quality scores on these keywords - very high. With high-quality scores, Google will reward our client with increased exposure and lower cost-per-click for those keywords, which means more conversions at a lower cost and thus higher margins.
And here’s the landing page the traffic was sent to. Remember quality scores on your keywords reflect the overall alignment of ads, keywords and landing pages.
This landing page scored well for those keywords because of the following factors:
So what do I do with my low-performing keywords?
How To Improve Low Quality Scores (QS)
- 1Review and refine your keyword list: Make sure your keywords are highly relevant to your ad group and the ad itself. Remove any irrelevant or low-performing keywords. As a quick check, just do a Google search for the keyword and look at the organic pages Google serves up to see if you're on topic and aligned.
- 2Improve ad relevance: Make sure your ad copy specifically mentions your keywords and provides a clear value proposition for the user
- 3Optimize your landing page: Ensure that your landing page is highly relevant to your keywords and ad copy, provides a positive user experience, and includes a clear call-to-action
- 4Conduct A/B testing: Test different variations of your ad copy and landing page to see which perform better and optimize accordingly
- 5Increase bid amounts: Increasing your bid amounts and budget can help improve ad placement and potentially improve click-through rates and conversion rates. Google rewards advertisers that are willing to invest more.
- 6Monitor and adjust your campaign settings: Regularly review your targeting settings, ad scheduling, and device preferences to ensure they are optimized for maximum performance
- 7Utilize negative keywords: Use negative keywords to exclude irrelevant searches and ensure your ads are only shown to highly relevant audiences. This is even more important if you’re using Broad match keywords versus exact match or phrase match.
- 8Focus on quality over quantity: Rather than trying to target as many keywords as possible, focus on a smaller number of highly relevant and high-performing keywords that provide the volume you need.
In conclusion, aligning your landing pages with your keywords in Google Ads is crucial for driving conversions and maximizing the performance of your campaigns.
By ensuring that your landing pages are relevant, informative, and provide a positive user experience, you can increase the likelihood of converting users who have clicked on your ads.
The benefits of this process are many:
By following best practices for landing page optimization and continually monitoring and refining your campaigns, you can achieve ad-to-landing page alignment that maximizes the effectiveness of your Google Ads. Remember, by prioritizing relevance and user experience, you can drive more conversions and ultimately achieve your business objectives.
If you need help managing and running profitable Google Ads campaigns, please reach out to me directly. My team and I have been running successful Google Ads campaigns for over 15 years and can help you grow your sales and profit.
Take the following steps:
- 1Schedule a no-pressure 15 min introductory call with us to find out if we're a good fit
- 2We will prepare and send you a proposal outlining our proposed scope of work and costs based on your business needs
- 3We'll schedule a kickoff meeting and begin work on your digital strategy