How to use SEO to optimise PPC landing pages

Pay-per-click (PPC) landing pages are a great means of driving your online visibility and earning revenue from consumers. They distill your information down to the essentials, offer a pathway to opt into the product or service, and channels your brand messaging back to the search engine to help your rankings.

This circle is in operation every minute of every hour, every day, week, month and year in the digital sphere. Unlike regular SEO techniques that are derived over a period of months, opting for only the organic clicks that are evolved over a longer time frame, the PPC field is all about maximising exposure and getting a foot into the market.

This mixture of long-term strategy with short-term profitability and attention is quite the balancing act for businesses and brands to get right.

Too much of a patient waiting game and you are left chasing your tail and seeing competitors steal a march on your position. Too hasty with a rush to draw immediate clicks and you are overlooking basic optimisation principles that will help your standing and cut-through in the marketplace.

So how are you meant to make sense of this chaos?

SEO tips for PPC landing pages

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Fortunately there are practices in place that can help you make sense of this scenario to provide an optimal PPC landing page that is designed to meet guidelines, generate interest and ultimately follows through on the promise of the advertisement.

Write consumer-friendly copy from the outset

The 2018 consumer is wise to your marketing jargon. Fool them even once and you have struck gold. These are rare occurrences because digital users are exposed to so much online content and marketing messages that they become desensitised and cynical to the ploy you are trying to pull.

To combat this trend, it is worthwhile using very simple and consumer-friendly phrasing that is not based off an instructional manual or sales copy. Brands can fall into the trap of seeing everything through an SEO prism and even when it comes to speaking to the consumer on a human level, they feel a need to inject terms and buzzwords that are industry specific.

The ideal strategy to embrace here is to write your copy as the customer would like to read it. Be simple, direct and transparent with your offer. Highlight the assets that are included, provide an avenue to ask questions, do not be overtly aggressive with your demands and do not complicate the scenario any further. Appreciate that their time is valuable and your message is geared towards a basic transaction of information.

Connection between anchor text and landing page heading

SEO tips for PPC landing pages

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To prove that you are an authentic PPC landing page, you must show from the outset that this domain has a direct correlation between the marketing message and the actual website that the consumer has landed on. This is two-fold when thinking of the SEO implications.

For one, a search engine like Bing or Google will draw a direct line between the keyword signals that are offered from one location to the next. If there is a great discrepancy between these two different facets, then that could be construed as an underhanded black-hat SEO tactic that is cynical and not in tune with good practice. Such an implementation, either meaningful or otherwise, could see your standing dropped and punished as a result.

The second reason when it comes to the correlation between the anchor text and the heading terminology on the landing page is about the qualitative experience and bounce rate from the perspective of the individual user. Should there be a difference between what was propertied in one location to the next, then the bounce rate will escalate because the content did not match the rhetoric.

That scenario will inform search engines about your relevance and ability to walk the talk, something that will hurt if a parallel cannot be drawn between the anchor text and the heading keywords.

Core message principle: Single CTA required

Optimising a PPC landing page is all about gearing the messaging towards what is known as the call to action or CTA for short. Everything else that is involved on this domain, from the branding to the colours, the backdrop, the phone numbers, pricing, digital images and other elements are all noise. The central key is to communicate an effective core principle that drives one single CTA.

Asking for a string of information that includes a phone number, date of birth, mailing address, email address and more is risking a higher bounce rate and losing the attention of the consumer. The objective is to source a targeted amount of data or one single data set like an email address or phone number and pushing them the source of the value.

By listing a “free trial” or a “try now” or “subscribe today” option is something that is simple, direct and to the point. That is an ideal format for a CTA that is not hyperbolic, questionable or ambiguous under any circumstance.

The greater the traction and the more actions you receive, the healthier your landing page will be by implementing exactly what the site was designed to do in the first place.

Simplistic aesthetic and design structure

SEO tips for PPC landing pages

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There is a plethora of different format designs and templates when it comes to a PPC landing page. Like any general SEO marketer will understand, the structure, hierarchy and placement of the content and messaging is paramount to your overall success.

First and foremost there are the search engine benchmarks to acknowledge. In order for them to crawl through your data and index your position correctly, they need as little interference as possible. By having a coherent flow of messaging on the landing page that delineates from the heading to the promotion, the snippet, the CTA and contact information, you have ticked the right boxes.

Then there is the position of the end user who you are attempting to entice and not confuse. Something that pops and stand out to inform them to the benefits of your promotion without being bogged down in detail is paramount.

This tells both parties with Google and the online community that you have a coherent strategy and offer on the table that only requires a simple call to action. The more you add to the page and the more complex the design of the site, the greater the risk you run to complicate a process that should be simple and direct.

Prioritise mobile compatibility

In 2016, studies showcased that there was more online traffic circulating from smartphone users than on any other device. This has not killed the desktop by any means, but it points to a shift in our collective habits that sees the mobile as king when it comes to optimising digital content.

For a PPC landing page to be valid and productive, it therefore has to be catered and designed with this process in mind.

So apply all of those mobile compatibility lessons from a website and adapt that to your landing page. From running that initial online diagnostic that gives you a report and rundown of the issues to checking for loading speed, for functionality and presentation to the call to action markers, these are gauges that must be appreciated and adhered to in order to get those positive responses you desire as a brand.

Mobile compatibility is not some futuristic concept or a luxurious addition that can invested in when you have extra time and resources. This is a fundamental practice that is occurring right now in real time and you need to ensure that your landing page is optimal for smartphone users on Samsung, iPhone and Blackberry devices.

Source great testimonials

SEO tips for PPC landing pages

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Yes you must condense your message on this site and space is at a premium. However, it is still an opportunity to plug your most outstanding testimonial or testimonials in this setting. It gives you a chance to flex your keyword muscles to deliver on some phrasing that you would otherwise not be able to utilise.

Mixing in an image and a quote that is highlighted is a great way to make the message pop and to give the page a visceral quality. This is an avenue that draws a connection to the user between another consumer and themselves, all the while enforcing an SEO strategy that builds on targeted techniques.

Develop top video content

Multimedia is vital when it comes to delivering content of substance and value to the consumer. By driving up numbers of engagement, you are informing the search engines that you have something to offer visitors who land on your page.

Once again there is a digital component to this strategy and a need to include video content for the sake of the general user. By embedding a video, whether that be through YouTube, Vimeo or another provider, you are opening up channels to include keyword integration throughout the heading, description, alt-text and elsewhere on the page.

Yet what it really helps to do is lower the bounce rate and gives the user something to focus on that is not standardised boring text. That can drive users away from your page, even if you believe the message is worth hearing and the product or service has substantial value.

This proves that the presentation and perception of the message is just as important as the content of the message itself.

Competing theory

SEO tips for PPC landing pages

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Once seen as a drastic and nonsensical move by marketers who want to maximise their online traction, the switch away from traditional landing page formats altogether is today more mainstream. This is not to dismiss the currency of the practice as for certain niches this is still an anchor of the business model that drives revenue. Yet for new brands in modern enterprises, there is an alternative solution.

This has seen what we think of as “landing pages” switch to opt-in messages and content on social media applications. Now that a program like Twitter has expanded its horizons to include polls, multiple account inclusion, automated video and more, there is a feature that helps to cut out the middleman.

So much of the landing page strategy is to entice individuals to click on a hyperlink in the knowledge that they have to be diverted to a site that they might not even know how to navigate or are generally unfamiliar with. It is quite unnatural if you unpack its relevance to modern day digital navigation, and this is where something like the Twitter Lead Generation card comes into play.

Illustrating the landing page information right there before your eyes without any diversion necessary, this will showcase a “click here” tab or something akin to that message on a customised platform. The branding is consistent and it can help to keep consumers on the same portal yet still manage to opt in, click and subscribe to the content.

Without a crystal ball or hindsight to guide future strategies, it is hard to know where this trend will head. However, it is important to note that it is occurring and gaining traction, so it would be wise for organisations to impart at least a portion of their landing page practice towards this outlet.

From a consumer’s point of view, it is far easier and more trustworthy to opt into a page of this nature without any need to divert.

Concluding thoughts and considerations

For many operators across a variety of niches, the modern commerce field still requires a coherent and optimised landing page that scores traction and satisfies the desires of the search engines.

The more landing pages you create, the greater the opportunity to cater your rankings according to individual products and offers, so keep that in mind. Some businesses fall into the trap of just pushing a home landing page without any flexibility, a mistake that does not maximise your online potential.

Examine what templates are on offer from your web provider, run an analysis on what keywords and content is scoring recognition and begin your campaign in earnest. The theory of what works and what doesn’t for a PPC landing page is one thing, actually sending it out into the market and receiving tangible feedback is quite another.

Lucas is the Managing Director and the Head of  SEO Strategy at SEO Shark. He has over 15 years of experience in achieving SEO results for small and medium businesses as well as multinational and ASX-listed brands. He is also an author of multiple publications about digital marketing.