As marketers, we want to make sure everyone who engages with our campaigns has a positive experience. I mean, no doy, right?
And with all the marketing content out there—some markedly better than others—we need to make sure anyone who arrives on one of our landing pages finds the exact info they need to accept our call to action, whether that’s downloading an ebook or signing up for a webinar.
Sounds simple—but you’d be surprised how many marketers don’t know Google is judging their landing pages.
When someone clicks through from one of your pay-per-click (PPC) ads, Google will rank and reward you based on the quality of your “landing page experience.” If they decide your landing page kinda sucks, they’ll be less likely to show your ads—and that means you’ll get fewer conversions.
Since Google holds all the cards (you know, because of that pesky 85% search engine market dominance), it’s best to keep our search engine overlords happy and learn which attributes they use to describe a good landing page experience.
So if you wanna be sure you’re getting the most bang for your PPC bucks on Google, stay with me as we cover the what, why, and how of a great landing page experience.
- Why use a landing page for PPC ads, anyway?
- What’s a landing page experience (according to Google)?
- Why is the landing page experience important?
- The attributes of a good landing page experience
- How can I find my Google landing page score?
- How can I build landing page experiences that Google loves?
Why should you use landing pages for PPC ads?
Although every page you publish on your site can technically be a landing page for your Google Ads traffic, it’s better to create a standalone page specific to each campaign. That way, the page can be completely focused on your campaign goal—generating leads, selling a product, or whatever else you’re trying to do.
For example, let’s imagine you’re promoting your best-selling sneakers for a back-to-school campaign—so you run some PPC ads, send out an email blast, and publish a series of social posts.
Each one of these pieces of content should point to a landing page promoting only your sneakers. There should be nothing on this page but these sneakers and—in terms of layout and content—this page should be different from that same pair of sneakers’ product page. The entire purpose is to drum up interest in your best-sellers and nothing else.
If you send people to a page where they have to sort through a bunch of different shoes to find the sneakers they’re looking for, your visitors might feel deceived and they’re more likely bounce from the page. And—yep—Google will perceive this as a poor landing page experience.
And don’t even get me started on campaigns that send clicks to their homepage. Oy vey.
So, what is a landing page experience?
In Google’s own words, the landing page experience status describes “whether your landing page is likely to provide a good experience to customers who click your ad and land on your website.” Google ranks the landing page experience with ‘above average,’ ‘average,’ or ‘below average’ based on the page’s quality.
Google uses this evaluation to determine whether your landing page is “clear and useful” and if it will help or hinder your chances of converting visitors. Whatever the intent of your landing page—lead generation, sales, or otherwise—it should correlate with what customers expect to see based on their search and decision to click.
In other words: Don’t tell me I’m gonna see cute kittens rollin’ around—then Rick Roll me. For marketers, that’s a no-no.
If you want to win even more brownie points with Google—and up those conversions, which is the ultimate goal—you’ll wanna match each ad with its own dedicated landing page. Going back to the shoe example: separate landing pages for busy moms, young adults heading to college, and teens who finally do their own back-to-school shopping can offer even more unique and personalized experiences as each audience will see messaging and graphics tailored to what speaks to them specifically.
Anything you can do to offer a dyn-o-mite landing page experience will not only help increase conversions, it will also help boost your online visibility. Win win!
Why is the landing page experience important?
If any of your landing pages are tied to a Google PPC ad campaign, they will be seriously scrutinized by Google. The quality of your landing pages directly impacts your quality score, which affects how well your ads perform.
What is a quality score, you ask? It’s a metric used by Google to assess the relevance and quality of keywords and ads. While only Google knows some of the factors that impact quality score, the other ones that you have the most control over include:
Google likes nice things wrapped in pretty bows (so to speak). So the more relevant your ad is to the keywords you’re targeting, the more likely it will be shown to users searching for those specific terms.
It’s all about the flow and experience for Google. Keep things relevant and on-point, and it’s more likely Google will present your ad (like a pretty present with a pretty bow) to its users.
Clickthrough rate (CTR)
A high clickthrough rate indicates that your ad is relevant and interesting to users, which further suggests that your keywords and ad copy are well-targeted and aligned with what people are searching for. Google rewards ads with higher CTRs by giving them better ad positions and lower cost-per-clicks (CPCs) because they think high numbers of clicks make for happy people.
Landing page experience
Big Brother Google is always watching. You’ve likely taken the hint by now that they want people using their search engine to have a good time—which is to say, to find what they’re looking for. If you convinced someone to click on your ad (or managed to rank your page for SEO), and then failed them when they reached your landing page, Google knows.
A lot is riding on your landing page. When users stay on your page and don’t immediately bounce, it tells Google they found what they’re looking for and that you created a positive landing page experience for them.
The good news is that size doesn’t matter. Businesses with smaller budgets have a fighting chance when it comes to ranking in SERPs. It’s not all about who has the biggest bidding budget—high keyword bids mean nothing without a high quality score to back ‘em up.
The attributes of a good landing page experience
You now understand the significance of the landing page experience and its impact on SERPs ranking, CPC, and ad position—so let’s review the main attributes of a good landing page experience.
Provide a clear call to action
The purpose of your landing page should be blatantly obvious when a user lands on it. Remove anything from the page that could distract from the call to action (CTA) and isn’t relevant to the reader’s needs—from outdated accolades to distracting navigation and drop-downs.
Your company won an award for Best Place to Work three years ago? That’s great—but will it help you sell more shoes? (The answer is no.) The more unnecessary elements you include on this page, the more likely your conversions will decline.
I can’t stress enough that a landing page serves one purpose and one purpose only: make a specific product or service shine. If you’re building a lot of landing pages (because you’ve got a lot of stuff to showcase), consider using a landing page builder or even templates to improve the process.
Listen, I don’t make the rules. I just report them.
Use original and engaging content
The content on your landing page should be a natural extension of the user flow that brought the visitor there. If someone clicks a link for pink toasters, your landing page should be all about fuscia-colored bread warming appliances.
Your landing page should match the messaging of your ads. Repeat the headline from your ad to reassure viewers they’re on the right page and expand on the information that led them to your landing page in the first place. Discuss the main features and benefits, include social proof through customer reviews, use high-quality images, and provide an obvious and single CTA where they can purchase their very own pink toaster. (And if writing all that copy seems like a total slog to you, you’ll love how an AI writing tool can do the work for you.)
Providing valuable and unique content helps build authenticity and trustworthiness and improves the landing page experience. And a better experience leads to higher conversions.
Ensure your landing page is optimized for mobile
Google receives approximately 8.5 billion searches per day, and 63% of those searches are from a mobile phone. You see where I’m going with this… If your landing page isn’t optimized for mobile, Google doesn’t wanna send traffic. They want their users to have a seamless and enjoyable experience regardless of their device.
Most landing page builders will automatically optimize for mobile, but it’s always better to triple-check and make sure (yourself) that everything looks good on smaller devices. A few tricks to ensure your page is mobile-friendly include keeping your copy short and to the point, making sure the page is clutter-free, and using sticky bars or popups.
Improve your landing page loading speed
Viewers want things fast (super fast), and slow-loading pages can lead to high bounce rates and disgruntled users. In fact, research indicates that 53% of mobile visitors will bounce off your page if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
One-one-thousand. Two-one-thousand. Three-one-thousand. Yeah—that’s three seconds.
You can easily accelerate page load times by compressing images, minifying code, and using reliable hosting with fast load times.
Use a copywriting framework (like AIDA)
Attention, interest, desire, action—affectionately known as “AIDA” in copywriting circles—is a popular copywriting framework used by marketers that can help structure your page’s content. It represents the four stages of the customer journey.
The first thing a reader should see when they hit your landing page is—you got it—something attention-grabbing. Use a bold headline or eye-catching video at the top of the page—though, of course, it should still represent what the page is about. Repeating the headline from your ad is always a good option as it reinforces what the page is about and why someone clicked in the first place.
As visitors move down the page, introduce them to interesting information about the product or service, like all the killer features or how it stacks up against its competition.
Next, you want to create the desire to sign up or buy something. Here you can tap into emotions and show off all the unique benefits of your product and convince them that your product or service will make them a happier, a more productive, a more [insert outcome here] person.
The page should end with a strong call to action that prompts visitors to take said desired action. And for the record, you don’t always have to default to “Click Here” for your button copy. Why not test what button copy works with your ideal customers? Believe it or not, CTA button copy can make a difference in your conversion rates.
Build trust with transparency
If you’ve ever quickly bounced from a landing page because your scammy-senses were tingling, then you want to ensure your landing page isn’t putting out that vibe.
And don’t be sneaky about the price. If your ad says your product is $10 when it’s really $10/month, people will bounce and most likely never return. The more transparent you are, the more people will trust your brand, and the higher your conversions will be.
How to find your Google landing page experience score
Cool. Now that you know the what and the why, as well as the attributes that make up a
good great landing page experience, you can start building your pages.
But don’t fall into the trap of “publish and forget.” Publishing is just the first step. Keep an eye on your landing page experience score, test, iterate, and continually improve the experience your visitors have.
If you have any ads running through Google, you can check your quality score like this:
|Log into your Google Ads account|
|Click the “Campaigns” icon|
|Then click on “Audience, keywords, and content” in the menu|
|Click on “Search keywords“|
|Next, click on the “Columns” icon in the upper right corner of the table|
|Find the quality score section under “Modify columns for keywords“|
|Choose the components you want to include in your quality score, like “landing page experience“|
Alternatively, you can use any of Google’s crawlers to isolate your landing page and discover how Google rates the quality and relevancy of your page. This can help you improve your page and elevate your overall quality score.
Build landing pages that Google loves
The landing page experience is critical in Google’s assessment of your ad performance and overall online visibility. As a marketer, creating high-quality landing pages that meet Google’s standards and provide a positive experience for your visitors is non-negotiable.
A good landing page should have a clear purpose and focus on one specific offer or message without distractions. It should use original, engaging content that naturally extends from your ad copy and captures attention.
Now all you need to crush it in Google’s digital books is the ultimate landing page builder. [*cough* Unbounce *cough*]
And to ensure you keep the search monopoly happy and stay on top of your landing page experience score, Unbounce provides actionable insights and data to help you fine-tune your entire campaign.
Check out our oversized gallery (size does matter in this instance) of high-converting landing page templates, and you’ll be well on your way to lower CPCs and higher SERP rankings.
Look! A kitten Rick Roll, just for you. You’re welcome.