How to Improve Google Pay Per Click Campaigns and Landing Pages

September 4th, 2009

Google PPC camapigns

I  decided to analyzed five (5) samples of Google Pay-per-click campaigns.  I  wanted to evaluate and share the basic best practices of Pay-per-click campaign setup (there’s more advanced tactics to take things further- we can talk about those in later posts though).

The two basic areas I wanted to evaluate are:

  1. If the samples had effective ad campaign copy that matched the keyword search term  I have chosen.
  2. If the ad connects well to the landing page and is the landing page effective from my point of view.

For the most part, the samples I have chosen needed the ad campaign as well as the landing page refined. This  exercise was an eye opener for myself on how many Pay-per-click campaigns and matching landing pages  need  optimization!

SAMPLE #1 -Furnitura Campaign with Search Term “Custom Sectional Vancouver”

For this sample I have chosen the search phrase: “custom sectional vancouver”  and decided to analyze Furnitura’s Adword campaign (screenshot below).

ppc_audit1

When I click on Furnitura’s Pay-per-click ad (screenshot above), I was directed to this landing page: http://furnitura.ca/home-furnishings/custom-sofas.html (screenshot below).

ppc_audit2

This entry page is not terrible but not great either. The page is clear to me that it is focusing on custom sofas with the page title (close to what my search phrase was). It was good that I was not directed to the home page or an irrelevant inside page of the site. But what this page is lacking is what to do next.  It needs stronger copy reiterating the custom work they do and what is the process for ordering.  It also directs the site visitor right back out of its site to external sites (manufacturer sites), which I think is not a very good practice for a Pay-per-click landing page.

  • I would add a very strong call to action under each manufacturer category blurb and repeat it down the page. They have links under each paragraph, which actually directs me right out of the site into the manufacturer’s site. So technically they are paying for Pay-per-click traffic that may very well leave the site after this entry page. The call to action should replace those external links, something of the sort “call or visit our showroom today!” with a link to the contact us page and/or map on their site. There’s a subtle call to action at the very bottom of page, but it should be repeated below each manufacturers description.
  • I am also surprised that they don’t really enhance a call to action to visit their showroom with a large button on the top of page as well.
  • Maybe an alternative solution to directing users to the manufacturer’s sites is that they bring in separate sub pages for each manufacturer and highlight 5- 15 styles and not direct them to the manufacturer’s site at all.  At least not on the main landing page.
  • I would also consider adding in the page title “custom couches and sectionals” if the search term “sectionals” have enough volume to justify it. I am assuming that it is a popular term, but I would investigate more.
  • I would also break out a separate campaign or do dynamic insertion of the keyword “sectional” within the Pay-per-click ad copy (title or description) to strengthen the effectiveness.
  • The Pay-per-click ad copy says “build the sofa you want” but nowhere on the landing page does it say/match that. The copy should on the landing page should reiterate the same message, reinforce it and explain it further (how do you actually build your sofa?).

SAMPLE #2 -Knock on Wood Campaign with Search Term “Custom Sectional Vancouver”

This next sample Pay-per-click campaign is the same keyword phrase mentioned in previous sample: “custom sectional vancouver” but I decided to look at a different advertiser: knockonwoodcanada.com (screenshot below).

ppc_audit3

When I clicked on the ad I was directed to the landing page (screenshot below): http://www.knockonwoodcanada.com/gen.php?gen=about

ppc_audit4

This entry page is not an effective landing page. I land on it and see “about us”. It is not relevant to what I want to find about custom sectionals in Vancouver – they need one specifically for custom sofas. Also, if I look at the Pay-per-click ad copy, I can tell that the click through rate may not be optimal because nowhere in the ad copy does it refer to couches or sectionals – it only states custom wood furniture.  I may only guess that they make couches and or even ignore the ad and assume they just make wood benches. LOL. This campaign and landing page both need serious work.

  • The most important thing I would recommend is to break out an entry page with a title “custom couches and sectionals” as well as Pay-per-click ad copy to the appropriate set of key words.
  • If they did break out an individual page with custom sofas and sectionals, they also need a predominant call to action on how to engage with them.
  • I noticed that they have a drop down navigation link that states “sofas” (which is not the landing page) but surprised to notice that they actually link outside to the manufacturers site from that link in the drop down! In and out of site, what a waste. I do not expect that.
  • Also another observation about their current landing page (about us), is that they are misleading the visitor with underlined copy; the user will get confused to them being hyperlinks! I automatically try to click on “Wide Selection And Customized Furniture”, thinking that I can dig deeper to find out more (scent path is broken).

SAMPLE #3 – Pure and Simple Campaign with Search Term “Jane Iredale Canada”

For this sample I have chosen the search phrase: “jane iredale makeup canada” and wanted to analyze the campaign for Pure and Simple (screenshot below)

ppc_audit5

I tried to click on the Pay-per-click ad for Pure and Simple (screenshot above) and I landed on no entry page! Ouch 404 error for this page url: https://www.pureandsimple.ca/files/products/iredale.html (screenshot below)….they are wasting their budget and throwing money out the window. I tried this a few days later and received the same error! Not good, maybe I should email them?

ppc_audit6

This is definitely not even close to being an effective Pay-per-click and landing page campaign. I hope in the meantime someone recognizes that the cost of this ad (which may be costing them close to $2 per click from my experience in this keyword and I know it has high volume searches) and recognizes that it is not bringing any conversions and try to rectify it soon.

I would do a few things to make sure this doesn’t happen:

  • I would periodically check my 404 reports on server and investigate  where and why they are happening.
  • Review Pay-per-click ads that have no conversions or lower than average. Some still may convert because the site visitor may hunt down the right page after clicking, but it can be higher conversion costs.
  • If someone on the web team changes the  category page urls  or the category name (which may change the url in the ecommerce platform) I would make sure 301 redirects are done or put a process in place and remind others that they need to tell me.
  • Or go back to Google Adwords, export a report on all urls and do manual click through tests to make sure they are all correct or fixed. I would recommend any PPC manager to do this part every once in a while if there are multiple people working on the site and somehow don’t communicate changes.
  • I would request an auto 404 report via email, so I can fix up any urls that match your Pay-per-click landing pages when they arise to be more reactive right away.

BTW – I hunted on their website and found the correct category page for Jane Iredale Makeup here: http://www.pureandsimple.ca/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=282&Itemid=27 (screenshot below)

ppc_audit7

So, if the Pay-per-click campaign did actually link to this page (screenshot above), I would say that it is a decent landing page and relevant. They can use a more predominant page title stating the brand (bolder and larger), a description of Jane Iredale makeup and clear buy now buttons or read more under each product. Also the top of the banner should state if they ship in Canada and US or both as well as the shipping costs.

SAMPLE #4 – Nature of Beauty Campaign with Search Term “Jane Iredale Makeup Canada”

For this sample I have chosen the same search phrase as the previous sample: “jane iredale makeup canada” and decided to analyze The Nature of Beauty campaign (screenshot below).

ppc_audit8

I clicked on the ad for Nature of Beauty (screenshot above) and was delivered to this landing page: http://www.natureofbeauty.com/xcart/brands-jane-iredale/ (screenshot below)

ppc_audit9rev

This landing page for the campaign (screenshot above) is a good entry page. I am delivered to a page that is clearly Jane Iredale Makeup.  I know right away that I can receive free shipping as well. It does have a clear page title and copy that talk about the line.

Since there is always room for improvement, what I would fix up on the landing page:

  • Maybe shorten the intro about the brand line, so that the visitor can actually see the products above the fold.
  • I would add “buy now” buttons under each product right on the category page vs., allowing the person to click on product then add to cart.
  • The Sign in button is below the fold on the left side bar that needs to be at the top of page. Repeat visitors may find it hard to locate.
  • Contact us and help is way down at bottom. Some people may have questions about the products; they should consider having an online chat and place it in a better spot above the fold.

SAMPLE #5 – Le Petit Spa Campaign with Search Term “Eyebrow Threading Vancouver”

For this sample I have chosen the keyword phrase: “eyebrow threading vancouver” and decided to analyze Le Petit Spa’s campaign (screenshot below).

ppc_audit10

Note that the ad does not say anything about eyebrow threading, but it reads waxing instead, which is a different service from the customers perspective.

Regardless that the ad that is not relevant, just assume I choose to select the ad for Le Petit Spa and was delivered to this landing page: http://www.lepetitspa.ca/waxing.htm?gclid=CLT4yeW45ZsCFRBbagodWi5W4w (screenshot below)

ppc_audit11

This PPC ad and landing page is not effective. The ad itself (before clicking on) did not even mention threading, which is a different service than waxing. But also when the user clicks on the page, the ad and page title does not reflect “threading”.

The Pay-per-click ad should actually link to the existing “threading” page on the website since it has a stand-alone service page: http://www.lepetitspa.ca/threading.htm

I’ll bet you that the original ad that is being served on Google is missing out on click throughs. Click through of the ad will increase if the keywords “threading” was actually in the PPC ad copy. But the click throughs that it does get, may frustrate the visitor because they get delivered to the waxing page as well. They may or may not go further and hunt for threading (which is actually on the left side navigation).

Le Petit Spa needs to break out this term and do a separate title and ad copy and link it to the correct threading landing page. Also if they used the threading page as the landing page, they should consider a clearer call to action like a large button with “book now” mid page or near the top. It would replace the small text at the bottom of the page “click here to book your appointment”, that we don’t really see on the page.

Here’s the existing threading page that is not being used as a separate campaign and landing page:

ppc_audit12

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One Response to “How to Improve Google Pay Per Click Campaigns and Landing Pages”

  1. Matthew Hunt on September 23, 2009 2:40 pm

    Shannon Yelland,

    Nice post fellow CND. Great work. I’ll share on Twitter. :)

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