3 Steps to Customized Landing Pages

Landing page optimization is standard practice for leading companies of all types: for the most part, we know that if we thoughtfully create custom landing pages for PPC campaigns, conversions will go up. And, we know that if we test and tweak those landing pages, we can improve conversions even more.

But how do you create custom landing pages when you buy thousands of keywords?

While you can't create a custom page for every keyword or keyword group, you can craft a comprehensive keyword strategy that allows you to consolidate your landing pages into a sensible (and manageable) group without much trouble. Then you can begin to test elements on those landing page templates to improve their performance. Here's how:

Step 1: Look at keyword groups by intention
The inclination with keywords is to bucket them by category. An electronics retailer might group car stereos in one bucket, home theater systems in another, etc. But for creating a optimization plan, look at how keywords signal intention. For example, "Olympus D320" as a search is pretty high intentioned word-- but what about "Olympus D320 review"? The intent is quite different. Depending on your business, visitors might be browsers or buyers, job seekers or employers, searching for car loans or auto loans. Define intentions into two or three reasonable groups. Then, divide keywords into buckets accordingly. At first, it might be as simple as brand words (for browsers) versus category words (for higher-intentioned shoppers). As time goes on you will want to begin segmenting out people looking for speed from those who quest for massive quantities of information prior to purchase.

Step 2: Break out landing pages types and create templates
Once you've bucketed your keywords by intention, consider the broad type of landing page that works best for each intention group. Create a template for each type. In each template, leave "content slots," or real estate in which you can switch content in and out, depending on the type of landing page. Now, you have a template that can be targeted for an endless number of keyword groups, simply by changing the content in one or two content slots.

Possible landing page types: 

  • Home page-like landing pages:
    Sometimes, your best bet is to frame the landing page with the standard home page components. This doesn't mean that you don't target the product or offer, or limit options in order to be relevant, but you would want to be heavy on branding, trust statements and imagery that reflect a visitor's desire to talk to you as a company. Your goal is to get people to self-identify as quickly as possible. On comparison shopping sites, for example, you might try to discover if the visitor is interested in news, reviews, or price comparisons. Visitors arriving from the keywords you designated as "brand" words or relatively broad categories like "loans" could be sent to this type of landing page.
  • Offer-based landing pages:
    These pages are very offer-specific with a goal of convincing visitors to act on the interest they've already expressed by clicking on the original ad. These pages have more limited navigation or off-linking. For a retailer, there is the classic product page, with a product shot, pricing, features, and other elements. For lead generation and direct marketing, this type of page will usually hit the major selling points and get you started on the order form or application. For publishers, this could be an article that has advertising or other links to content. In all cases, reinforce the source of traffic and experiment with the balance between focus on the offer and availability of off-links and branding elements.
  • Category landing pages:
    When somebody has clearly shown an interest, but the interest is in a relatively unstructured area, such as "loans" or "jeans" or "concerts," your goal is to funnel them more deeply into your content or offering. You might do this by grouping information in a way that allows them to make choices based on their own preferences for searching -- for example, by price, theme, editor's recommendations, most popular, etc. Visitors from the terms you designated as "category" words would be sent to this type of page.

Next: Step 3: Test templates for general effectiveness

 

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