Best Practices for Optimizing a Landing Page for Google Ads

06 Aug 2020 Nancy Koskoshie
a visual notepad illustration of a landing page with a cup of coffee located above the top right corner

Incorporating the best practices for optimizing a landing page for Google Ads

You could throw a mountain of money into your Google Ads budget online and still get horrific results if your landing pages aren’t well optimized. Obviously, the first step is to understand and capitalize on Google Ads but a crucial part of this practice is mastering landing page creation.

A lot of otherwise smart and strategic marketers are surprised to learn that their SEM account filled with thousands of carefully selected keywords and sky high Click Through Rates (CTRs) isn’t producing simply because there landing pages were just sort of slapped together.

Thankfully though, with the help included in this quick guide and your PPC agency, that’s not going to be a problem for you any longer.

By the time you’re done with the inside information below you’ll have a much better idea of how to perfectly optimize your landing page with Google Ads traffic in mind.

Zero in on the key details we share and you’ll be able to bump your conversion rates pretty quickly (maybe overnight). Keep hammering away at these fundamentals and you’ll be on the path to online marketing mastery faster than you thought possible.

Let’s get into it.

Consistent CTAs

If there’s one thing that you really (REALLY) have to get good at – aside from crafting offers, course – it’s knocking your Calls to Action (CTAs) out of the park.

One of the biggest mistakes that new copywriters in particular make is forgetting to explicitly tell their prospect what the next step to take is on the landing page.

Far too often we just sort of hope that our marketing will have handled enough of the heavy lifting to get them to do what we want them to all on their own. There’s nothing wrong with that kind of thinking from a personal perspective, but it’s going to crush your conversion rates more than maybe anything else.

You need to make sure that your Calls to Action – buy now, pre-order now, subscribe today, click here, etc. – are ALWAYS included in the close section of your landing page.

Be clear. Be concise. Be direct.

Tell them what you want them to do and they are much more likely to do it.

Split Test Various Elements – Copy, CTAs, Structure, Design

The most successful marketers on the planet are constantly tweaking, testing, and optimizing all of their marketing materials.

Your landing page should never be “finished”.

It should always be in a constant state of being taken apart and put back together again with new headlines, new offers, new CTAs, new testimonials, new proof elements, etc.

You always want to make sure that you are looking for something that can give your copy a lift, split testing it against the original to see what works, what needs to be reworked, and what should be discarded and avoided from here on out.

Once you get a high performing landing page that you’re happy with you want to make it the “control”. From there start changing one component at a time – a new headline, new offer, new structure, etc. – to see if you can beat the control.

When you inevitably do, that winner becomes the control and you rinse and repeat the process all over again.

Loading Speed

Landing pages need to load as quickly as humanly possible – and ideally even faster than that!

Google has shown time and time again that even just a half second or full second delay can kill your conversion rate.

People are so used to having the links they click load instantaneously that they just aren’t going to wait for your page to take its sweet time. Especially when all of your competitors (ALL of your competitors) can be visited by clicking the back button and then finding a different link to try – one that might load a lot faster than yours did.

Optimize your images, your copy, and shrink your code as much as you can. Make your landing pages lean and mean and you won’t have anything to worry about.

Always look for ways to speed things up and you’ll be good to go!

Use Dynamic Keyword or Other Parameters

Dynamic keywords (or other dynamic parameters) that adjust on the fly depending on how your Google Ads visitor found your landing page can be a great way to turn “halfway decent copy” into home run, blockbuster style winners without changing any of the other core elements.

It’s important to remember that when you are pushing Google ads traffic to a landing page you’re usually dealing with cold traffic. Frigid traffic, even.

Most of the time these visitors are people that have never heard of your business, your product, or your service. Your landing pages the first interaction they have had with you – and it might be the last one you aren’t really relevant to their needs.

Dynamic keywords and other dynamic parameters can sort of adjust and tailor your landing pages to the express keywords they were using to find your marketing in the first place. It’s a great way to stack the deck in your favor, that’s for sure.

Social Proof Signals

Social proof is a huge piece of the marketing success puzzle.

People are always a little bit nervous about handing money over to complete and total strangers online, but are even more nervous to do so if they think they are the first person to buy whatever it is you have to offer.

Social proof – testimonials, social media action about your products or services, customer reviews, etc. – go a long way towards putting people at ease.

When they see that other people (people like them and especially prominent they are aware of) are happy with what you have to offer you immediately get a big bump of authority and credibility have had otherwise.

You can never have enough proof on your landing pages. Flood your page with proof and your conversion rates will skyrocket dramatically.

Easy Lead Generation Forms

Again, when you’re pushing Google Ads traffic to a landing page you’re talking about ice cold traffic.

The absolute last thing you want to do is give these strangers a reason to click away from your landing page, even if that reason is something as seemingly benign as having an overly complex lead generation form.

If you’re doing strict lead gen with your landing page – especially when you’re working with cold traffic – ask for their first name and their email address.

That’s it.

You can maybe (MAYBE) get away with asking them for their last name as well but sometimes that’s really stretching things.

With those two elements (their first name and their email address) you can do some really sophisticated marketing. Keep your forms simple and you’ll streamline your success significantly.

Mobile Friendly

Mobile traffic is already responsible for a huge chunk of visitors to most people’s landing pages and you need to be sure that your site is mobile friendly if not completely built on the back of responsive design principles.

This all circles back to making it as easy as possible for your prospect to engage with you, especially before they hand you any money.

You need to simplify things, you need to meet them where they are (on their laptop, desktop, tablet, or phone), and you need to make the experience a positive one – not one they have to fight through just to maybe give you money later down the line.

Knockout the core elements of great landing pages we highlighted above and you’ll start ringing your online register a lot more often!