Stretch Your PPC Budget By Optimizing Landing Pages

Finding dollars a little tighter this year is a common problem so learning new ways to stretch marketing dollars is more important than ever. Improving your PPC landing pages so they convert better is one dynamite way to improve your ROI.

Stretch your PPC Budget

Stretch your marketing dollars by optimizing your landing pages

With that in mind, here are a few tips for making your landing pages more effective. The goal here is to make your landing pages more persuasive, focused, and complete, and to provide the necessary testing feedback to measure the success of your efforts.

1. Make your the landing page Mobile Friendly. The number of mobile searches surpasses desktop searches for many industries and demographics. If you are spending money to send people to a page, the page needs to render well.

2. Include a call to action and place it ABOVE the fold. Your landing page can be long or short – you’ll need to test the page to know which works best for you, but always include a call to action above the fold.

3. Make the call to action look like a button and make it larger and brighter than you think you need. Text links have their place but they don’t draw the eye as much as a brightly colored button call to action.

4. It is still benefits not features. Those of us in marketing hear that expression all the time, but it is amazing how many pages include content that is all about features. Don’t tell me the statistics on a product; tell me how my life will be improved if I buy it. Remember it’s emotions that really motivate us to buy. We like to have the logic to explain to our friends why we purchased something, but most of us really buy a particular item because it fulfilled an emotional need.

Focus -You know the keywords and ad text that lead to the customer clicking on your ad. Now, make sure that you maintain that focus and lead visitors to the next step in purchasing on your site. Maintaining continuity by providing the proper focus to the landing page will help to keep those visitors on track.

5. Continuity between ad and the landing page is a must.. Inconsistent messaging can confuse a visitor. If they click on an ad with a certain value proposition, then the landing page should reinforce the appeal mentioned in the ad copy.

6. Remove unnecessary noise and clutter on the page. Too many bright graphics and excessive bold text can distract visitors. Links to other offers can de-rail customers from their purchase mission. When presented with too many options, visitors often get confused and leave a site or if distracted, they might totally forget why they entered your site in the first place.

7. Ensure your customer contact loop is working. Can the potential customer coming to your page contact you easily? Is the submission form working? How reliable is the VOIP number you are using? If a phone call is the preferred method for customers to contact you, is the phone number present on the page and easy to find? If you are using a phone number on the landing page, do you have a method to track offline conversions? If not, you have a big hole in your analytics.

8. Include Trust factors on the landing page. Specialized badges, Better Business and Chamber of Commerce memberships, testimonials, and a professional looking web site all convey confidence to the visitor that your site is trustworthy. Use trust factors on the page whenever possible.

9. Keep your SSL certificates up to date. Nothing increases the bounce rate on your landing page like serving potential customers an expired SSL certificate notice. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates are used by ecommerce sites to encrypt sensitive information during online transactions. If expired, the visitor is served up a frightening notice. Most visitors don’t know what the notice means and leave your page feeling very uncomfortable about doing business with you.

10. Test your landing page in different browsers. Designers often build landing pages in a hurry without the extensive testing program normally included in a site redesign. This inattention to detail can cause browser compatibility issues to sneak into your landing pages. For optimum user experience, view the landing page in Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari. A free tool that lets you view how pages render on different browsers is located at

Testing pages under different browsers is an extra step and takes time, but poorly rendering pages make a bad impression and can cost you sales.

11. Make sure analytics is installed correctly and capturing true performance. Analytics is only as good as the data you feed it. If you forget the analytics JavaScript on a landing page or include the JavaScript but accidentally enter a typo while dropping it on the page, the story your analytics is telling you may be inaccurate. We have seen both of these occur on big brand sites on more than one occasion. Test that your analytics is capturing conversions correctly or you may base your marketing decisions on incorrect information.

12. Conduct a usability test on the landing page with a live person from the target audience. Many times we put all the best practices to work and find pages still aren’t converting like we expect. One of the simplest ways to figure out what is going wrong is to pick someone from the target demographic and have them sit down with you and do an old fashion usability test.

Give the usability tester a scenario and a mission to buy a product from your website. Tell them to start with the ad and then arrive on the landing page. Have them talk out loud about how they perceive the page.

You can’t have an ego when you’re doing usability testing. Prepare for brutal criticism because you may find the copy you thought was so compelling is considered drivel by the tester. Or the tester may sit staring at your page lost about where to go next because the link you thought was so obvious is invisible to them. Usability testing reveals problems that your analytics may be hinting at, but don’t definitively tell you.

13. Use multivariate testing to test options on the page. You are never done fine tuning your landing pages. As you put out new pages, learn what worked on earlier pages but continue to try new things too. In this competitive market, getting even another percentage better can make the difference between success and failure. Google Website Optimizer is a free tool that allows the webmaster to perform multivariate testing. Software that did this used to be very expensive. Google provides the tool without cost and has made it straightforward to use.

If you put all these tips and techniques into play, I am confident that you will improve the overall effectiveness and convertibility of your landing pages and will help to make you paid search campaigns more profitable.

If you need help with your PPC marketing and landing page optimization, feel free to give KeyRelevance a call at 972-429-1222.

Google Enhanced Campaigns and Keyword Level URLs

Since Google announced their new Enhanced Campaigns initiative which combines desktop and mobile search advertising into a single campaign, AdWords advertisers have been working to upgrade their campaigns into the new system. Google recently announced that ALL campaigns will be automatically upgraded starting in July 2013.

One issue that came to light with the initial announcement was how to handle URLs that are specified at the Keyword level in an adGroup, in conjunction with a site that uses separate URLs for mobile visitors. In the past, one might run separate desktop and mobile campaigns, so mobile-targeted KW level URLs would be specified in a separate adGroup from the Desktop URLs. In the new configuration, the two are merged, so…how does one handle sending visitors to the right location?

Targeting Mobile in Enhanced Campaigns

When one sets up ads, one would normally set up one or more ads for Desktop visitors, and one or more ads for Mobile visitors, and the URLs for each can be hardwired to indicate the “preferred” audience. This is only done at the Ad level, though, and Keyword-specific URLs are left out of this targeting – until now.

Using ValueTrack Parameters to Segment the URLs

Google has a number of “ValueTrack” parameters that can be used to dynamically alter ad copy and/our destination URLs. The most popular of these is probably Dynamic Keyword Insertion (or DKI). DKI allows one to reflect the Ad Campaign’s Keyword in the title or text of the ad copy (or in the URL) by using the {keyword:[default text]} construct in the ad copy.
Google provides a number of other ValueTrack parameters, including an brand new one called "ifnotmobile" . Ifnotmobile is a complement to an older parameter "ifmobile", though the use of this older parameter has changed with the launch of the Enhanced Campaigns. These two ValueTrack parameters can be used to tailor the URLs to the specific platform with a high level of granularity.

Using ifmobile and ifnotmobile to Target the Right Landing Pages

The {ifmobile:[sometexthere]} construct is used to insert text into an ad or URL for mobile visitors only. In the past with standard (legacy) campaigns, this would be used to target mobile AND tablets, but in enhanced campaigns, tablets are treated like desktop systems: {ifmobile:[sometexthere]} is used for mobile platforms only, while the {ifnotmobile:[sometexthere]} construct is used to target desktops and tablets in Enhanced Campaigns.

Below are examples of how to apply this to a variety of desktop vs. mobile implementation approaches, including:

  • Mobile-specific subdomains
  • Mobile-specific subdirectories
  • Mobile visitors identified via a CGI parameter
  • a Mobile placeholder page for a non-mobile-friendly site

Note that sites which use server-side browser detection to segregate mobile traffic from desktop visitors likely do not need to use this approach, since all visitors could request the same landing page and the server would sort it out.

Keyword Level URLs and Mobile Subdomains

To implement this with a mobile subdomain for mobile visitors, one could set up the URL similar to the following. Assuming that is the main site, and that is used for mobile visitors, the Landing Page URLs could look like this in AdWords:


Thus, desktop and tablet visitors would visit, while mobile visitors would be directed to from the same ad or keyword URL in the AdWords account.

Keyword Level URLs and Mobile Subdirectories

To implement this when using a subdirectory set up for mobile visitors, one could set up the URL similar to the following. Assuming that is the main site, and that is used for mobile visitors, the Landing Page URLs could look like this in AdWords:{ifmobile:/mobile}/specials.php

Keyword Level URLs and a CGI parameter Specifying Mobile

To implement this when you have a CGI parameter set up to distinguish between desktop and mobile visitors, you could set up your URL similar to the following. Assuming that is used for desktop and tablet visitors, and that is used for mobile visitors. Your Landing Page URLs could look like this in AdWords:{ifmobile:mobile=1}{ifnotmobile:mobile=0}

These would resolve as: for desktop and tablet visitors and as for mobile visitors.

Specifying a Completely Different URL for Mobile Visitors

Finally, in some instances one may want to send a mobile visitor to a completely different path than desktop visitors. Perhaps the site isn’t generally mobile-friendly, but it does have a single page that is mobile-optimized, and the AdWords campaign should send ALL mobile traffic to that special page. The Landing Page URLs could look like this in AdWords:


In this final example, desktop and tablet visitors would go to:

while mobile visitors were sent instead to:

Note that there are limitations in Google AdWords regarding the Display URL and Destination URL. Insure that the mobile and non-mobile domains are closely related or the ads might be disapproved.

Getting Query Data from Google Webmaster Tools to Correlate with SEO Query Data in Google Analytics

As most marketers are painfully aware, In Oct 2011 Google stopped providing keyword referral data in Google Analytics for searchers who are logged into Google or for searchers using Secure Search (which Firefox has more recently adopted as the default for Google searches).

As a result of the loss of this valuable keyword data source, online marketers have become very creative about designing ways to recapture some details on the search behavior of these visitors. One approach has been to extract more information out of the Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) data which so far isn’t affected by the not provided restriction.

The query data in GWT is limited. The reports provide impressions and click information, but no conversion or other site engagement data. As a result, the data is good for keyword research and to find terms that are relevant to your site, but you’ll likely still have to test the terms in PPC to gain actual conversion information about the terms.

If you have your Google Analytics and your Google Webmaster tools accounts linked you can view the GWT query information directly within Analytics. Google has a section called Search Engine Optimization that displays data sourced directly from GWT.

Not a Discrepancy, a filtering Inconsistency

If you have looked at the SEO data in Analytics and then logged into your GWT, you probably noticed that the queries don’t correlate well. The reason for the list of queries being different is due to the default filtering being different in the two reports.

In Google Webmaster Tools, the queries are filtered to show search query impression and click data from Web searches only by default. You can see a snapshot of the query filtering options below. Notice the Filters button and to the right of it the default is Web.

If you click on Filters you can chose between Web, Mobile, Images, Video, or All. In GWT they list queries filtered for Web by default.

If you then go over to Google Analytics, you will notice that the SEO queries are not filtered. You essentially get the All option. If you want to compare the default list in GWT, you will need to tell Analytics to include “Google Property” and filter for Web.

Then assuming you have the same date range in both Google WT and GA and that you have the data sorted by the same metric, the lists should correlate. Please note that there may be latency reasons for the data not matching if you select a too recent date.

Once I realized the filtering was different the query data made a lot more sense. Hope this helps a few who like myself, was puzzled over the lack of consistency in the query data.

Tracking Offline Conversions in Online Systems

Join KeyRelevance’s own Chief Technical Officer, Mike Churchill, as he gives us some tips and information on the latest technologies you can use to track offline conversion metrics.  He joins Marty Weintraub and Lauren Litwinka on’s PPC Rockstars program.

Listen to the recorded interview online!

Mike goes over some classic and some newer techniques for tying offline sales to online actions and online sales to offline actions, including custom URLs, cookie tracking and phone tracking.

You can skip to Mike’s interview at about 17:35 in the broadcast.

Issues with Google Adwords Editor 10.0.0 and Enhanced Campaigns

Summary: Be aware that Google Adwords Editor 10.0.0 can mishandle SiteLink and other enhanced campaign information when moving from the desktop to your live account and vice versa.

Google has announced a significant change to Google Adwords in their new Enhanced Campaigns. Since migrating from standard campaigns to Enhanced Campaigns involves merging previously separated desktop and mobile campaigns, a lot of the pain can be mitigated by using the Google AdWords Editor (GAE) to move ads/keywords from one campaign to another.

Support for Enhanced Campaigns within Google AdWords Editor had to wait until Version 10.0 was released. The good news is that Version 10.0 was released on 28 Febuary 2013. The bad news is that it suffers from some growing pains. Here are two of the issues we have identified so far:

Moving Enhanced Campaigns started on the web interface

If you have already started the migration process through the web interface, and have taken advantage of the new SiteLinks at the AdGroup level feature, be aware that these AdGroup level SiteLinks may not import into Google AdWords Editor 10.0 correctly. In our tests, these SiteLinks were lost from the adgroup on import. Campaign level SiteLinks were also lost.

Posting SiteLinks are uploaded to the server, but not attached properly

When you post your SiteLinks in an enhanced campaign, they DO appear to get copied up to your account on the server, but with an issue: the SiteLinks are listed as a shared resource for the account but are NOT consistently being attached to the campaign/adgroup to which they were initially added.

What’s probably going on

I suspect that Google made a change as to how SiteLinks are handled internally. In standard campaigns, the SiteLinks are attached to each campaign. With an Enhanced Campaign, the SiteLinks are being treated as an account-level shared resource (like Remarketing Audiences), and the shared resource has to be attached to the appropriate campaign/adgroup. The transition process for this change of implementation is not being handled completely properly.


As with many software tools, using version 1.0 is often a little chancy. The 10.0.0 release is version 1.0 for Enhanced Campaigns. The good news is that Google is pretty responsive to these sorts of issues, and hopefully an update will be forthcoming.

Defensive tactics

In the interim, take it slow. Migrate one campaign at a time, and double check that this various components are being properly applied. Also, keep an eye out for version 10.0.1.

Pubcon Day 1 – Hardcore PPC Tactics

Rolling right along, and deviating my previous liveblogging plan, I’m covering Hardcore PPC tactics with John Ellis, Jennifer Evans-Cario, David Szetela and Brad Geddes.

Jennifer Evans-Cario, Founder, SugarSpun Marketing is moderating this session.  Jen, love your necklace, can I have it if the whole “jumping off a building” thing doesn’t work?

First up, we’re going to hear from Brad Geddes, Founder, Certified Knowledge about Profit Per Impression and ad copy testing.

Paid Search is 14 years old now, Google AdWords is 10 years old.  What numbers should you be using to measure success in AdWords?  Data is just numbers without Continue reading

Tracking PPC Traffic from Bing and Other Sources in Google Analytics

Using Google Analytics in conjunction with Google AdWords is a useful way to track visitor behavior beyond the click. But what about Bing/Yahoo PPC visitors? By default, Google Analytics tracks all Bing or Yahoo visitors, but does not discriminate between paid and organic visitors. If you want to track PPC visitors coming from Bing, you need to add some additional parameters to the landing page URL for the Google Analytics system to decode and track.

As an added bonus, this same technique can be used to track other advertising efforts (e.g. newsletters, site sponsorships, and banner advertising).

How to Track Bing PPC Visitors in Google Analytics
Tracking other PPC/CPM/Advertising campaigns requires setting a couple of additional Continue reading

Google Position Preference is Dead…Long Live Position Preference

On April 4th, 2011, Google announced they are retiring the Position Preference Bidding option in May 2011. If you want to emulate the Position Preference option, you can set up two rules (per campaign, adgroup, or KW, depending on your needs) to control the bidding. The downside is that the bidding adjustments are done at most 1 time per day (but see below) and managing the rules in AdWords is a little clunky.

KeyRelevance’s Recommendations:

  1. Use CPA Bidding instead, if that is an option.
  2. Make small adjustments (e.g. 5-10%, $0.05 – $0.10)
  3. Make sure to set upper and lower limits to bound the changes that can be made Continue reading

Sites in adCenter Search Network are High Caliber

As interest in Bing continues, and with the pending launch of the Microsoft/Yahoo paid search partnership, advertising in Microsoft adCenter PPC is becoming more viable. One concern is that adCenter does not allow one to opt-in/opt-out of their Search Network Partners. Here is a breakdown of the big three and their options for Ad Placement. On all three ad platforms, advertising on the Search or Content Network is optional on a campaign-by-campaign basis. Once you decide to use a given network, however, the details begin to vary:
Continue reading

Yahoo’s Ad Delivery Report Helps Tune PPC Campaigns

On 10 Sept 2009, Yahoo launched a new PPC Traffic Quality report that will be a real boon to PPC advertisers wanting to track the effectiveness of their campaigns across the Yahoo Search network. Yahoo provides PPC ads along side search results for both Yahoo properties and other sites that show Yahoo search results (called the Yahoo Search Network, or Search Partners). Since Yahoo does not allow advertisers to opt out of their search network, tracking performance is of paramount importance to making the campaigns successful. The new Ad Delivery Report will Continue reading