Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Understanding landing page experience

Landing page experience refers to how good we think someone's experience will be when they get to your landing page (the web page that they end up on after clicking your ad). You can improve your landing page experience – and Quality Score – by focusing on three things: relevant and original content, transparency and ease of navigation.
Many things can affect your landing page experience. For example, is your landing page relevant to what a visitor is looking for? Is it easy to find your contact information? Is the page itself easy to navigate? Your landing page experience affects not only your Quality Score, but also your advertising costs and ad position.

Why landing page experience matters

If you've ever owned a car, you probably know that getting tune-ups can help you get better mileage, prevent costly mechanical problems and make your car run better in the long run. Landing pages are kind of like cars – make sure that they're tuned-up properly, and you'll likely get better performance and savings out of them down the road.
A good landing page experience can help you gain the trust of your customers and keep them coming back to your site. Get more mileage out of your landing page by making it easier for visitors to make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter or do other things that you want them to do on your website.

How we determine landing page experience

To determine your landing page experience, we look at a number of different things, from the actual content on the page to the overall design of the page. Below are some of the things that we encourage you to keep in mind when designing your landing page.
1.        Relevant and original content
o    Is the purpose of your site clear?
o    Is your site actually useful to visitors?
o    What does your site offer that other sites don't?
2.        Transparency
o    Is your business and contact information easy to find?
o    Are you upfront about any information that you're collecting from visitors?
o    Can people easily tell what'll happen when they perform an action on your site?
3.        Ease of navigation
o    Is it easy for people to find what they're looking for?
o    Does your site have too many links that might confuse people?
o    Can people easily find information to learn more or answer questions?

What's The Value Of A Click On Your Website?

If this question hasn't run through your mind yet, then it's time to start thinking about it!
How do your customers behave? What pages will they realistically visit before making a purchasing decision, phone call, or decide to leave their email address?

Typically it goes something like this:
 User will [Read info on what you do] + [Read about where you're located] + [Find out if they can trust you] + [Find out what they should do next]
Let's say it takes 4 clicks for a user to find all of that info out, and your product or service costs $40.
$100 Product or Service / 4 Clicks = $25/click.

Here's what you need to know:
Half of the battle in getting more interaction with your website is to ensure it's as easy as possible for people to find out those 4 elements. If all 4 of those elements are on one page then all the better; in that case your click value (or, call-to-action value) just turned into $100/click.
The second half of that battle will be to make sure your content is worth that $X/click. Write compelling content, make sure all of your unique selling points are point blank visible and that you have trust signals (testimonials, partnership logos, etc) integrated into your website design.
Bottom Line: Have content and a website design that's worth trusting. Think of every click, every action on your site as a mini-commitment to you and your product or service. Make sure that your content reflects the value of a conversion/click.

Understanding Google’s Latest Landing Page Quality Score

Why Did Google Do This?


Jonathan made the case to Pamela and to me that the intent is to improve user experience.
When landing pages don’t line up well with the user’s search, the user has a poor experience, and ultimately that’s bad for everyone.

It’s bad for the user because they don’t end up where they expected to end up; it’s bad for the advertiser because they clicked on an ad and ended up somewhere they didn’t want to be, winning the advertiser no great brand impression; and it’s bad for Google, because that user is more likely to seek a different search experience and less likely to use Google sponsored links in the future.

This makes perfect sense. As I argued in last month’s post, Google maximizes its immediate term revenue by making QS 100% based on anticipated Click-Through Rate (CTR). Factors related to landing page or anything else reduce Google’s revenue per SERP view by reducing the importance of CTR.
However, poor landing page experiences might reduce Google’s long-term revenue by training users not to click on sponsored listings. That could jeopardize the business.
By creating a finer gradation between “your landing page stinks” and “it doesn’t stink” — essentially where we’ve been with landing page QS — Google rewards advertisers that pay attention to landing page decisions and creates another incentive to provide a great user experience.
In the long run, better landing pages lead to higher conversion rates, which in turn means an increase in the value of traffic, therefore allowing higher bids and correspondingly more traffic at the same efficiency. It’s a beautiful virtuous circle.
It’s also at least part of the reason that Google bought Urchin and made Google Analytics free. Giving advertisers the tools to diagnose user behavior and improve website effectiveness should ultimately lead to better monetization of traffic and higher bids in the paid search auction. Smart. Very smart.
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