Creating a first-rate landing page isn’t always easy. The task becomes even more demanding if you’re looking to incorporate paid landing pages, as well as SEO-focused ones. Although they can be effective, traditional SEO landing pages don’t always have the best conversion rate. Therefore, it’s vital to understand the differences between these and paid search landing pages.
Landing pages are the first part of your website that a user lands on after clicking a link. They may have arrived here by clicking a link in an email, a social media entry, or paid advert. Whatever channel a visitor has come from, a landing page should be designed to promote a particular response. This can include purchasing a product, signing up for a service, or sending details to further an inquiry.
Creating an effective landing page requires careful thought and consideration. Rather than redirect paid traffic to standard pages, you should seriously consider investing in dedicated paid landing pages. Landing pages should be customized to the individual, providing information aligned with search intent.
SEO Landing Pages vs. Paid Landing Pages
There’s room for both landing pages in your SEO efforts. However, to get the best returns from either approach, you’ll need to understand the pros and cons of each. The main thing to consider is that search intent varies between organic and paid users.
If someone is using keywords with clear intent, such as “cheapest” or “best,” it’s clear they’re looking to complete an action or make a purchase. This cross-section of users place a higher value on landing pages and are likelier to click on ads.
Those users less interested in completing a transaction will search with long-tail keywords. Generally speaking, these users are likelier to click on organic results than paid ones.
Unfortunately, you need to cater to both sets of users. This can prove problematic, making it harder to monitor behavior and conversions. Furthermore, it also complicates things when it comes to content creation. One of the best things you can do is redirect paid traffic to dedicated landing pages.
Do You Need Dedicated Paid Landing Pages?
Unsure of whether you need to invest in dedicated paid landing pages? A simple way to determine a need for paid landing pages is to assess how well your organic pages perform.
Analyze Existing Data
This first step takes a lot of effort, but it’s essential in determining whether you need paid landing pages. In addition to metrics like keyword rankings, you’ll need insights into user behavior and more expensive analytics data.
Don’t be put off by the amount of work involved here. The effort will be worth it if your findings make a case for paid landing pages. If not, you’ll still have a massive inventory of data to steer your organic content in the future.
What to Focus On
To kick things off, target analytics data and focus on page performance. Ideally, you’ll want to capture trends over time. If your website has been live for a while, break things down into intervals—track changes over three-month periods and annually.
Next, it’s time to think about page views. If you’re operating an eCommerce platform, page view data can be used to identify any KPI shortfall. If the gap is considerable, you can assess the worth of pursuing new keywords for organic search against investing in paid search. If traffic growth goals are unachievable in your set timeframe, refocusing on paid traffic is the way to go.
The best paid landing pages need to be streamlined and designed to encourage visitors to act in a certain way—the more complex your landing page, the higher the bounce rate. Anything between 50 to 70% is considered average for a landing page. However, you want to drive toward the 30-50% range for the best conversions.
Time on page is another helpful metric. If users spend several minutes on your pages and those visits aren’t translating to conversions, your page content needs work. Although you want to avoid overloading organic pages with complex information, you can capture visitors’ attention with rich content and internal links.
Getting a handle on what point of the buyer’s journey your visitors are in is vital. Are visitors hitting internal blog posts or testimonials before heading to product or service pages? Understanding this will highlight what content you should work on to drive conversions.
Organic conversions driven by return visitors won’t benefit from paid traffic. The likely outcome of sending paid traffic to these pages is a high bounce rate.
User Behavior Insights
To understand what content your visitors value the most, you’ll need to explore event and goal tracking. Correctly implementing this will save you time and resources on the content your users aren’t engaging with.
Have you invested considerable time in internal links? Organic landing pages use internal links, but dedicated paid landing pages should avoid them. The goal of paid pages is to keep visitors engaged with the end-stage conversion point. If you’re thinking of repositioning your organic landing pages for paid traffic campaigns, limit internal links to high-value pages.
It’s also useful to see how your visitors are interacting with forms. Although vital, forms are a problematic page element that can deter users and impact conversions. If form abandonment rates are high, they’ll need a rethink. Keep things simple and ensure forms only request the bare minimum to complete a transaction.
Use Visualization Tools
Many people prefer visualization tools to confirm user behavior. Click tracking and mouse flow lets you accurately monitor how users interact with your site. In extreme cases, you may decide to explore session recording.
Does User Behavior Align with Your KPIs?
With your data collected, you can start delving into more detailed analytics. Now’s the time to start looking for repeated patterns in user behavior. In some cases, you might find that users are interacting with your content exactly as you’d hoped. If user behavior is ideal, you can confidently redirect paid traffic to your existing organic landing pages.
However, this scenario isn’t likely. You’ll most likely need to map behavior against a particular point in the sales funnel. Once you’ve done this, you can craft a dedicated paid landing page to encourage the conversions you’re currently failing to lock down.
Paid Landing Pages Best Practice
If you’ve decided to progress with paid landing pages, ensure you adhere to best practices. First, remember that your page title needs to align with the ad copy that encourages users to the landing page. Any significant discrepancy between the two will likely lead to a high bounce rate.
Next, be concise when creating landing page content. Avoid overloading your pages with in-depth information about your services or products. A succinct headline and compelling copy should be all that’s needed.
You must avoid overwhelming visitors to paid landing pages. However, there’s always room for testimonials, case studies and other trust indicators. If you’re an accredited authority in a particular field, showcase your certifications. Can you showcase your credentials with press mentions? Here’s the perfect place to do so.
Any good landing page needs a clear call to action (CTA). For paid landing pages, this is even more crucial. Your CTAs should be instantly visible and above the fold, so avoid positioning it so far down the page that a user needs to scroll to find it. If you’ve invested in a dedicated landing page, your aim is to target a specific cross-section of customers with clear intent. Avoid vague messaging and ensure your CTAs are compelling with a clear direction.
We’ve briefly touched upon forms already, but it’s worth drumming home the point about form abandonment. As many as 70% of users will abandon a form entirely if it’s not accessible. Strip forms back to the bare minimum. Furthermore, ensure you’re being clear about which fields are essential.
Finally, give some serious thought to your paid landing page layout.
As this is a paid page, ranking factors aren’t important, so you don’t have to worry about ensuring every square inch is leveraged for organic search. This gives you the luxury of playing around with negative space, resulting in a user-friendly layout, more likely to engage your visitors.
Should You Invest in Dedicated Paid Landing Pages?
You should now have a clearer idea of the differences between paid and organic landing pages. If you’ve done your homework and mapped data against user behavior, you may find there’s no need to pursue paid landing pages. However, in most scenarios, landing pages will need to be tweaked.
In some cases, you may be able to modify existing organic landing pages to cater to a broad group of users. However, if visitors are using high-intent keywords to arrive at your site and your organic pages aren’t delivering, paid landing pages are the way forward.
The opinions expressed here by Guest Contributors are their own, not those of Rise Marketing.