Search engines want to provide relevant landing pages to users, predominantly for two reasons:
- It's easier to justify the cost of advertising if users stay on the site
- Users continue to trust paid search results
If users stop trusting search results or advertisers get poor quality traffic, the search engine's business model is dead. It is of paramount importance for search engines to balance the needs of users and advertisers.
So search engines stack the deck in favour of advertisers who provide more relevant results.
It's clear that in many cases, simply sending traffic to your home page is not the answer. If users have performed a search, it's because they're looking for a specific product or service.
At the very least, users need to be directed to a category or product page that is related to the search terms. This at least will ensure a lower bounce-rate than if users are sent to a page completely unrelated to their search. As we'll explore in a later article, the bounce-rate is one of the most vital metrics you can measure.
An even more effective method of improving your bounce-rate (and your sales!) is by creating specific landing pages for your ad groups.
There's a vast difference between the requirements of home pages, category pages, product pages and landing pages. Each has a specific purpose, usually to more efficiently direct users to appropriate content within a site.
While a product page should usually contain a strong call-to-action or purchasing function, the very specificity of a product page will usually rule this out for the purposes of a landing page used for an ad group, rather than a product.
Further, product pages are typically arrived at after a certain level of navigation throughout the site - if a user has traversed more than 2 pages on your site and spent more than 30 seconds viewing your content then they're already invested in your products. A hard-sell on the product page may not be appropriate.
By contrast, landing pages are all about the hard sell.
Users that arrive by AdWords have had no warm-up to your products. If you've followed the steps in part 1 of this series, then you should know quite specifically what your users are interested in on a per-ad basis. Directing them to a specific landing page allows you to:
- Set the tone of the page
- Craft an introduction to the product that has emotional resonance
- Provide the necessary information to facilitate a purchasing decision
- Create a strong call-to-action to take advantage of the offer
Your conversion rates - the number of users actually purchasing your product, signing up for your newsletter or making enquiries - will improve, simply because you provide a page that was relevant to the search they performed.
They asked and you provided.
It gets even better. Google will actually reward your AdWords campaign for these kinds of optimisation strategies!
Stay tuned for Part 3 to find out how!