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Landing Page Question: Converting Versus Relevant

Adwords landing page content

7:04 pm on Jun 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hello all! This is my first post on any SEM related forum, but I have been doing SEM for about 5 years. I feel like I have a decent understanding of most of the core concepts of PPC but was recently thrown for a loop.

It has always seemed logical to have a landing page with a clear CTA and promo that is relevant to the search, in order to gather conversions.

Recently, reps from many of our publishers have reached out to us, and offered some help in optimizing our campaigns among other things. While I understand these folks are in somewhat of a sales role, all of their insight and help is appreciated although I was confused by one of the recent 'optimizations'.

Many of the ad groups that were previously going to a promo page, and gathering conversions are now pointed to what I would call 'content' pages on our public site. The only CTA on these pages are not predominant and are simple 'contact us' type forms.

when I asked why this was, I was told because the new destination URLS are more relevant. Before, my promos were industry specific but not specific to the actual search. The new 'optimized setup' is not gathering any conversions.

It might sound like the obvious solution would be to go back to my previous setup, but I wanted to get feedback before changing multiple campaigns / ad groups back to how I had them and going against advice from a trusted source. Even if they are just trying to increase spend, thy must realize my CPA will skyrocket so it doesn't make sense to me.

Do any of you direct paid traffic to text heavy site pages about your solutions if you dont have a relevant promotion or offer? I would think that it is still better to promote something less relevant if the search term has qualified them.

Thanks for reading, any feedback is appreciated!
7:21 pm on June 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Seems to me like you have a problem that can be easily fixed. Yes, sending visitors to content that is relevant to their search query is important because a) it tells Google you're legit and b) the visitor is less likely to bounce off.

This said, if your goal is to maximize conversions you will not achieve it by sending traffic to a content page. On the other hand, if you are sending traffic to a promotional page that does not contain keywords you are bidding on, AdWords may give you a lower quality score which ends up costing you more money.

Here's my suggestion to you. Optimize your content page to include promotional offers, similar to that of the previous promotions page that worked so well for you. This way, you can improve visitor experience through relevancy while still having a sales presence on page. This shouldn't really be that difficult or time consuming to do, but you will most certainly reap the benefits of doing it this way.

Let me know if you have follow up questions to this.

1:55 pm on June 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Alex! Your suggestion makes perfect sense, but the reason I have not gone that route is because there are so many links out of these content pages. Some of them already have promotional offers but with the site navigation, product sheets, demos and so on I am nervous about doing this because I fear that people will get lost in the site. I am managing what I could argue is too much for one person, so I like finding justification to just 'leave things how they are'. Your point abut visitor experience, might help me do that (lol), but either way your post was helpful. I will have to put some thought into it and keep testing.
2:03 pm on June 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Your instincts are correct. The only thing that matters is conversion (or perhaps, cost/conversion and total conversions).

Your goal is to convert. It's not to provide relevant content or information or anything else. It's to convert. Content only matters so far as it affects your bids.

I would immediately go back to your old way to start. I mean, really - your expert advisors just crashed your campaigns. You don't need to think about it much harder than that.

However, here's one thing you can try. Go get a landing page design done that combines content (for Google's spider) and conversion. I recently did this for my site because I need good content to rank on terms, but when someone lands I don't want them getting distracted reading my nonsense. I want them to push the big shiny convert button. So I had a designer build a page with specific instructions "visual focus must be on the conversion section". That's actually something many designers can understand and accomplish because it's more specific than 'I want a professional looking site'. I'm happy with the results, I've got content on my page but you can't look at it - your eyes are drawn to the conversion :).
7:57 pm on June 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Well said wheel, thank you!

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