Landing Pages Or Website Pages For Google Ads?

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    Well-made landing pages help 68% of businesses acquire new leads. With internet users clicking fewer and fewer paid ads these days, digital marketers can’t afford to be lazy while they build them.

    So, friend-to-friend, we’re going to explain why you shouldn’t slack off on landing pages. Listen up!

    There’s no denying that landing pages play a significant role in online conversions and lead acquisition. 

    But, knowing when to use a dedicated landing page vs. a service/product page on your website can sometimes be confusing.

    (hint: a landing page is almost always the right choice.)

    The Differences Between Landing Pages & Website Pages.

    Landing Page Components

    1. Single page created for a specific advertising campaign
    2. Designed for conversions
    3. Conversion-focused copy
    4. Discusses one particular topic/offer
    5. Almost no internal linking
    6. Limited navigation options
    7. A clear call-to-action (CTA)

    Website Page Components

    1. Discuss multiple topics related to the business
    2. Thorough internal/external linking to other pages
    3. Modules, panels, sidebars, header (Complete navigation to all sections of the website)
    4. Conversion-focused copy mixed with educational, informational content
    5. Multiple goal & conversion elements

    Although landing pages and website pages might look very similar, the desired user behavior is much different. Also, their formatting and structure are deliberately designed to impact how users interact with them.

    Landing pages are streamlined and hyper conversion-focused, hence the lack of internal linking and navigation.

    Website pages, on the other hand, are meant to provide multiple pieces of information and entice users to visit other parts of a website. Therefore, pages are almost the complete opposite of what marketers strive for with landing pages.

    Unfortunately, due to the deluge of tasks on a digital marketer’s daily to-do list, we occasionally cut corners.

    When it comes to a Google Ads campaign, a landing page is your best bet for true optimization efforts. Landing pages also help ad campaign success while saving money. They’re worth putting in the extra effort to make them shine.

    With the plethora of tools available for rapidly building and deploying professional landing pages, paid campaigns should almost all have dedicated landing pages speaking to each offer.

    As we’ll discuss later on, carefully designed landing pages can lead to better ad engagement. (We all know how much Google loves rewarding businesses for providing great UX.)

    So do yourself a favor and put the added elbow grease into creating individual landing pages for all of your paid ad campaigns.

    Why? There are a few reasons why landing pages work best for paid ad campaigns, especially on Google. 

    Landing Pages Help Increase Your Quality Score

    So, you’ve done your keyword research, created your different ad groups, and now you’re ready to begin your campaign. There’s just one more crucial step; the landing page!

    What happens in this critical moment often separates the best ad campaigns from the weakest. Don’t ruin your campaign before it even begins by forgoing a landing page.

    The focus should now be centered around ensuring your ad appears above all other ads. But, how does Google decide which ads to show first?

    It’s a combination of how competitive your keywords are, your bid amount, and your Quality Score.

    Google’s Quality Score doesn’t technically directly affect your ad. That is to say that if you have a Quality Score of 6, then it doesn’t mean that someone with a Quality Score of 8 is going to rank higher than you automatically.

    However, having a higher score does help you reduce your ad spend. And, one of the three major factors of a high-Quality Score is having a superb landing page.

    The Three Main Factors That Go Into Google’s Quality Score:

    1. Relevant keywords
    2. Ads that contain identical or relevant keywords
    3. A congruent landing page with exceptional UX

    If all three of these factors are perfected, Google will likely assign your campaign a higher Quality Score.

    When it comes time to determine how Google ranks your ad against the ads of your competitors, you won’t have to bid as much to rank first.

    This can end up saving you a significant portion of your budget each month.

    Think about it this way; if your ad’s Quality Score is nine and another person’s ad has a score of 5, then your bid doesn’t have to be nearly as high as theirs to jump to the number one spot.

    Over time, this helps a lot in saving on wasted ad spend, thereby optimizing your campaign efforts across the board. Therefore, it pays to focus on your campaign’s landing page experience.

    You Need Highly-Focused Pages Centered Around Conversions

    It’s important to talk about why Google ranks individual landing pages as having a higher quality than others.

    If the page that you’ve connected to your Google Ad is a sub-page of one of your category pages, it may be hard for Google to assign a quality score.

    high-quality landing page, in terms of paid ads like this, provides the searcher with precisely the kind of relevant information they’re looking for. And, it does so without distractions.

    This means that if someone searches for “get an auto insurance quote,” then the ad that appears should have text that says something like “looking for an auto insurance quote?”

    We know, it’s crazy, but Google truly wants to provide its users with the best possible, most relevant information available. This is the guiding principle that should influence how marketers write and structure their content.

    OK, back to what we were discussing…

    Once a searcher clicks on the ad, the link should take them to a landing page solely dedicated to this ad and the relevant keywords. In other words, the content on the landing page should be pertinent to both what the searcher typed into their browser, and the text within the ad they clicked on.

    Nobody likes to fall victim to a bait-and-switch, and Google will catch on quickly if they suspect your landing page isn’t providing what you promised in the ad. So keep it relevant! We really can’t emphasize that enough.

    The landing page itself should be straightforward and contain only the information they’re looking for. Bullet points are a great way to list relevant content that describes a bit more about your auto insurance offers.

    Then, there should be a big title that says, “get a free auto insurance quote now.”

    Finally, a searcher should see a form they can fill out or a button they can click to email or speak with someone directly. This may sound elementary to a seasoned marketer, but you would gasp in horror at how often we come across landing pages that are void of any clear CTA.

    Landing pages shouldn’t have menus to distract them from completing the action they set out to achieve when they first entered their search terms on Google. This is why you will often find landing pages without traditional navigation bars.

    The goal of a landing page is to keep the user engagement for as long as possible, eventually guiding them to your conveniently placed, irresistible CTA.

    By using a website page for this function, it’s hard to stay as focused as you can with an AdWords landing page. Website pages have menus, navigation bars, and other information that distract the user.

    Remember, the goal is to achieve as many conversions as possible, whether that’s a call, email, or fill out a form. Remove all the noise that may prevent them from doing this.

    The Ability to Measure Conversions

    When you’re working on increasing your paid traffic efforts, it’s imperative to be able to measure everything that you’re doing.

    Without monitoring the campaign, you won’t know how to optimize. The more time spent in the account, the more you’ll understand how to use different keywords, or even change your offerings to fit the searches being made.

    It’s vital to start doing this as early as possible during the campaign. How confident can you be in the effectiveness of your campaign if there are gaps in your conversion tracking?

    Remember, that with a paid ad, the ultimate goal is usually to promote a call to action. You’re driving people to your website, often, to complete an action.

    This can be to get them to sign up for your newsletter, download an e-book, or to fill out a form. Whatever it is, the landing page should direct their focus toward completing this action.

    Now, how are you going to measure these efforts most effectively?

    Using a landing page is the best way to do this when it comes to these kinds of campaigns.

    If you use a regular website page, you can indeed measure conversions. You’ll be able to see when someone fills out a form or clicks on a button.

    However, with a landing page, you’ve removed all of the distractions from the page. Hopefully, it’s done so in a way that allows you to see all the data behind when somebody completed the action.

    Additionally, a typical website page might receive conversions from visitors who reach it through channels other than PPC, like organic, social media, or email.

    If multiple visitors from multiple channels are converting on a particular page, it can prove to be tough to calculate the ROI for a paid ad campaign.

    Make The Most of Your Advertising Budget

    The key to making Google Ads work for you lies in learning how to optimize all of the different aspects of an ad campaign, and this includes your landing pages.

    You might be able to see some success by only using one of your website pages as the destination URL.

    If you’re committed to improving the quality of your ads and optimizing your ad spend, then you’ll want to go with a landing page.

    However, we understand that this isn’t as easy as it seems.

    If you need help growing your revenue with pay-per-click advertising or need help improving the quality of your landing pages, get in touch with us.

    Take a look at our PPC advertising services to see how we can help you optimize your campaigns or start new ones today.

    About The Author:

    Chris Kirksey

    Chris Kirksey

    Chris Kirksey is the CEO of Direction, a digital marketing agency reflecting the culmination of a 15+ year obsession with digital marketing. It all started with an eBay business at 9 years old, then transitioning from domain investing and website building. After a 6-year US Army career leading intelligence collection teams both in the US and overseas, Chris now brings a sophisticated approach from cryptologic language and adversary data intelligence to digital marketing intelligence. His precision and planning of military campaigns, now reflected in digital marketing campaigns, have proven successful for clients in industries ranging from law firms to technology startups.