Focus: Enhance Paid Search Success by Paying Attention to the Landing Page.
As hard to believe as this sounds in 2014, there are still marketers out there who point niche service and product paid search online ads in blanket carpet bombing style to their company homepage. Just this week I learned about an otherwise talented marketer who directs virtually all of their Adwords ads for a range of complex instruments and services to their company homepage. They wanted to "promote their brand", but they ended up harming the lead generation needed to support "the brand". This sort of behavior is not uncommon.
This less-than-brilliant-behavior can be frequently spotted, especially with Google Adwords. If a competitor engages in such foolishness (and they do) I silently chuckle and thank them for their misdirected efforts. One competitor ran a niche ad for a very specific service, but splashed the ad across an extensive shotgun range of search terms. That poor ad appeared for wide range of non-relevant services for years, equivalent to advertising neon soccer balls to searchers who were looking for canoes, baseballs, and basketballs. This effort was a waste of time and money for my competitor, and for potential clients searching for solutions.
In another recent landing page fiasco, I informed some colleagues that major a competitor was running an ad in Adwords for a key search term they coveted. This caused some initial consternation until I pointed out that the competitor had screwed-up.... they were directing their hard-fought (and expensive to click) ad to their homepage, and there was no link to the service their ad was promoting! Any visitor was in effect stranded and marooned in that situation.... and likely bounced right out of that website. Any clicks bought by that ad were wasted.
This sort of PPC self-inflicted sabotage should remind folks that blindly directing limited paid search ad money to the homepage can be self-defeating and a waste of budget. Chose your landing pages wisely!
Precise landing page targeting matters for paid search:
The beauty of search engines are that people (your potential customers) can find long-tail niche services, products, and information quickly. They want relevant, precise, concise, results in their search results. They don't want to waste their time. So don't waste their time by giving them lousy landing pages!
The problem with Homepage as Landing Page:
Using your homepage for a landing page will usually frustrate and vex most paid search visitors. Homepages carry a lot of general information, navigation options, and branding. If someone wants to learn more about your company, then using the homepage as a landing page is fine.
But if someone wants to learn more about a niche techno-widget, for example, that your company sells for determining the ultra-trace analysis of stray protons in parabolic hydrocarbons, then your landing page had better focus on your techno-widget! The less clicks needed to find your product or service the better.
Don't make your landing page visitor work too much to find what they are seeking. You'll lose many of them before they get to the 'money page'. Make it easy for them by landing right on the page which appears to be the most precise and relevant.
By the way, having such an focused long-tail webpage will also work wonders for your organic search engine optimization. Building targeted landing pages for Paid Search can help you win at both paid and organic search rankings and lead generation.
Learn more about Google Adwords and Paid Search: