How to Improve Google Landing Page Experience and Ad Quality Scores

If you run a small business, transitioning from print ads in local media to Google Ads can involve a steep learning curve. When you purchase an ad in the alt-weekly people grab as they leave the grocery store or the coupon mailers that come in the mail every Tuesday, you know exactly what to expect — you know when, where, and how often your advertisement will appear.

With Google Ads, there are no guarantees. You create an ad and set a budget, but will anyone see it? This is a source of frustration for many businesses that are new to using Google Ads, and it’s one of the reasons why a lot of people end up throwing in the towel.

Today, I’m going to demystify Google Ads by explaining one of the key factors in getting Google to display your ads: Landing Page Experience.

Ad Quality Scores and Landing Page Experience

While search engine ranking algorithms are essentially a mystery, Google Ads has a little more transparency when it comes to their Ad Quality Scores. The better your score, the more often your ad will be displayed to users searching for your keyword.

Landing Page Experience is one of three important criteria Google uses to assign an Ad Quality Score. Many people agonize over finding just the right keywords and crafting the perfect copy for their Google Ads, but they spend no time working on their landing page — this is a huge mistake. Google wants to ensure that there’s congruence between your ad copy and your landing page; they also want to see that once people click through to your site, they’re not quickly leaving because they’re not finding what they need.

What Does Google Look for in a Landing Page?

If you’re struggling to get your Ad Quality Score up so more people see your ads, it’s time to take an in-depth look at your landing page. Take a step back, look at your site from the perspective of a user, and ask yourself the following questions:

Is your landing page clear?

Your landing page should be easy to read, with the information people need front-and-center. Include calls to action and be judicious with the number of links on the page — you don’t want it to be too easy for people to click away from the page and leave.

Is your landing page useful?

Remember: your landing page needs to serve your customer’s needs, not yours. You may want them to sign up for your newsletter, but what’s the benefit for them in doing so? How are you helping the user? How will following through with your call-to-action (CTA) improve their lives?

Is your landing page related to your keyword?

Your landing page should be specific, not generic. If you’re an HVAC business and you’re advertising air conditioner repair in Houston, but you’re sending people to your homepage instead of a page specifically tailored to that keyword, you’re losing business. Every additional click people need to make in order to find what they need increases your drop-off rate.

Is your website transparent?

In both search and in ads, Google is increasingly looking for transparency. They want to know who you are and why people should trust you — in other words, they want to vet your business to make sure it’s legitimate. Providing links to social media, customer reviews, and other social proof can give Google (and potential customers) confidence in your business.

Does your website load quickly?

Your landing page isn’t the place to pull your Instagram feed, have display ads, and showcase ginormous high-res images. Instead, your landing page should be streamlined. Optimize it for mobile, reduce image sizes, and remove all scripts that cause lags.

Does your website have intuitive navigation?

In addition to optimizing your landing page, you’ll also want to make sure your entire website is organized in a way that makes sense. Implementing a website taxonomy with clear page hierarchies and logical categories is also great for SEO, so it’s worth taking the time to get right.

Learn More About How to Perfect Your Google Ads Campaign

Your landing page is just one of the key factors in your Ad Quality Score.  If you’re struggling to increase your Quality Scores, then click here to grab a copy of our Ultimate Google Ads checklist to help uncover areas to improve your campaigns.

The Google Ads Budget Formula and a Metric to Help You Beat Your Competitors

Struggling to calculate your Google Ads budget? Learn a quick formula to use when you’re just getting started and also learn the most important metric to gain a competitive advantage.

Google Ads have helped many businesses thrive because of their power in generating leads and sales. The problem is that this power can be difficult to navigate, which has left some businesses on the sidelines wondering why they didn’t see results.

The topic of how much to spend is one that is tossed around among users and professionals, alike. The answer depends on how well you run your ad campaigns.

Budget for New Google Ads Campaigns

When you first use Google Ads, limit your budget. At this point, you do not know which keywords, ads or landing pages will be most effective, so you need to test different strategies. Because some of the money will be lost, you don’t want to waste too much.

The goal during this stage isn’t to make a huge profit. It’s to either make a small profit, break even or only lose some money. Your mindset should be that you’re investing in market research for a much more successful future with Google Ads.

Limiting your budget is a bit arbitrary. Simple math can give you a concrete amount for a budget.

Multiply the estimated cost per click of each keyword you want to test by a minimum of 100 to 200 clicks. This will ensure you’re giving each keyword a fair test. For instance, if you are testing 10 keywords with a cost per click of $1, you should consider having a budget of $1,000 to $2,000.

Growing Out of the Budget

You will know when you’re out of the testing phase when profits exceed your budget. This is the sign that tells you to abandon the budget.

Yes, you read that right — no budget.

It’s not about how much you spend on Google Ads — it’s about how much return on investment (ROI) you’re get from it.

Think about it for a minute. If you’re making $2, $3 or $4 off a $1 investment, why would you want to cap that? That’s success right there, and you might as well run with it.

Switching From CPC to EPC

Too many people focus on the cost per click of their keywords when they really should be paying attention to their earnings per click (EPC). If you have the highest earnings per click vs. your competitors, then you know you can outbid them to gain more clicks, more leads and more customers.

So, how do you calculate your EPC? All you have to do is multiply your conversion rate (the percentage of people who become paying customers) by your customer value (the amount of money you earn from that customer).

To understand this better, let’s say one customer generates $500 for you. If your conversion rate is 1%, then your earnings per click is $5. This is your golden number. Keywords with a CPC less than $5 will be profitable if your conversion rate remains 1%.

With this in mind, it’s important to note that increasing your EPC is the best way to compete in Google Ads.

The cost per click for your target keywords is not likely going to go down … In fact, there’s a good chance you’ll need to pay more per click in the coming months and years. That means your EPC is your biggest competitive advantage.

Conclusion

You know that spending a lot of money on Google Ads isn’t what produces results. Ad campaigns need to be run effectively and a budget needs to be used in a way that helps identify what works best in your market. Once that information reveals itself, removing the budget (if possible) and focusing on ROI is the best decision, moving forward.

And remember, the business with the highest EPC has the advantage in Google Ads.

Want more tips to improve your Google Ads campaigns?  Click here to grab a copy of our “Ultimate Google Ads Checklist.”

 

4 Factors That Cause Google Ads Campaigns to Fail

Google Ads campaigns can be a very effective way to generate leads if you know what you’re doing. The problem is that many people jump into Google Ads blindly. They figure Google will lead them through the steps and instantly, they will start getting sales and phone calls.

google ads campaigns
Creative Commons license. | Credit: Pixabay by lukasbieri

Google Ads campaigns can be a very effective way to generate leads if you know what you’re doing. The problem is that many people jump into Google Ads blindly. They figure Google will lead them through the steps and instantly, they will start getting sales and phone calls.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

Google Ads can be a lot like riding a bull. You jump on the bull, and you think you got it. But all of sudden, it starts jerking around, and you immediately see that it really isn’t as easy as it looked at on TV. After a few close calls, the bull flings you off and you hit the ground. All you can do is look up at the bull and think, “What just happened?”

Some businesses spend thousands of dollars on Google Ads every single month and don’t see nearly enough return on investment. Many businesses vow to never use Google Ads again because it’s “a waste of money.” The reality? Often the campaign failed because of common mistakes many beginners make.

Knowing what factors contribute to failing campaigns is important for success. Learn them now, so you can get back on the bull, and take it by the horns next time.

1. Using Too Many Keywords

Don’t get greedy with keywords. You only need the ones that will reach your target audience interested in your products and services. Adding other keywords will not lead to more business, but instead, drain your budget.

Some key takeaways here are:

  • Focus on “buying-intent” keywords, not “research-intent” keywords. Ask yourself, is the person more likely to be searching this keyword in order to make a purchase or to do research?
  • Use Phrase and Exact match keywords. By default, Google will use Broad match keywords which means your ads will show for any search Google thinks is related to your keyword. Don’t let Google decide how to spend your money!
  • Let your conversion data guide your bidding decisions. Bid more aggressively on the keywords that are driving leads and sales and lower bids on keywords that are not converting.

2. Bad Ad Copy

Once you’re targeting the right keywords, then the next area to focus is your ads. People have limited attention spans, and if those ads don’t spark their attention, they will move on. As Seth Godin would say, “Be Remarkable!”

Plus, focus on benefits. People always want to know how something will benefit them. So, ask yourself: How does my product or service benefit customers? It’s the benefit that you want to market — not the product or service.

Lastly, make your ads congruent with the keywords and website landing page. Ultimately, this means you’ll need different ads for all the different keyword phrases you want to target. If your ads are not congruent, or relevant, then your prospective customers are not likely to click. Even worse, if your ads are not congruent with your landing page, then the prospective customers who do click are going to quickly leave, because the message on the website doesn’t match the message in the ads.

3. Insufficient Ad Budget

With Google Ads, there is no minimum budget. However, depending on your industry and the keywords you want to target, the cost per click for your ads can vary from $1 to $10 or even $50 or more. If the cost per click for your keywords is on the lower end at $2, then you can generate 500 clicks for $1,000 per month. But if your keywords cost $20, then that same $1,000 budget will only generate 50 clicks per month.

Fifty clicks are not going to give you much data to work with in order to optimize your campaign month after month.

Another way to look at this is to calculate your daily budget. If your monthly budget is $1,000 and you want your ads to display every day of the week, then your daily budget is about $33. Again, if your keywords cost $20 per click, then you would only be able to generate one click per day! That’s just not enough; you’ll need to increase your budget and/or limit the days your ads will run during the month.

4. Not Spending Enough Time Managing the Campaigns

Google Ads campaigns aren’t like Crockpot meals. You can’t set it and forget it.

Your campaigns need attention. They need nurturing. This is true whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned veteran.

A lot can change in just a day or two. New competitors can start advertising and increase the cost per click of your keywords and steal impression share. Alternatively, competitors may leave or run out of budget, which gives you an opportunity to lower your bids to get the same amount of traffic for less! Unless you’re closely monitoring, you’ll miss these important changes that affect the profitability of your campaigns.

Conclusion

OK, let’s review what we’ve learned here.

Don’t try to attack every keyword you can find for your campaigns. Instead, use the best buying-intent keywords for your target audience. When you create ads, be sure to highlight the benefits of your products and services. Don’t over-promise anything, and match the message of the ad to the keyword and the message of the landing page. Make sure to test out different times to run your ads, as well, if you don’t have enough of a budget to run them all day and night. Finally, manage your campaigns by paying close attention to what works, what doesn’t work and the moves of your competition.