In this post we will take a look at how landing pages can save you money on your SEM campaigns.
What is SEM?
Search Engine Marketing describes using the paid advertising services provided by the various search engines. These ads typically appear at the top and right hand side of a search query. Often the area is shaded to distinguish the paid advertising section from the organic results. With Google this means using their Google Adwords software.
What is a Landing Page?
Simply put, a landing page is the page that appears when you click on an SEM ad. Often, the landing page is the home page of a website, but increasingly advertisers are recognizing the value in creating a landing page that is specifically designed for your ad.
Understanding the Auction
A common misconception when running SEM campaigns, is that the auction used to determine which position your ad appears in, is solely determined by the amount you are willing to pay for a click on your ad. The reality is that where your ad appears is actually determined by a formula taking into account the “bid” of your (and competitors) ad and the “quality score” of your (and competitors) ad. Google’s chief economist Hal Varian does a good job of simplifying this process in this video.
Quality Score Saves you Money
The important thing to take out of that video is; the higher the Quality Score of your ad the less it costs per click on your ad.
Improving your Quality Score through the use of Landing Pages.
At 2:45 of the above video Mr. Varian goes into the three components of determining Quality Score: Click through rate, relevance and landing page. When using a specially created landing page as your landing page rather than your home page as your landing page you can improve all three facets of determining Quality Score. A landing page improves “click through rate” by presenting the consumer with enough information to ensure that they click through to your home page. This obviously only works if your landing page is good and we will go into what makes for a good landing page in the next post here.A landing page shows relevancy by using the keywords you are using in your ad on the landing page, which typically would not be highlighted on your home page. For example let’s say you are a dentist and your home page (being used as a landing page) is mostly pictures of your office. If you are running a SEM campaign and using “dental surgery” and “teeth whitening” as search queries to have your ad appear for, then the pictures of your office do nothing to show search engines that your ad is actually relevant to the queries of the consumer. By using a landing page that makes note of all your services, such as “dental surgery” and “teeth whitening” search engines understand that your ad is relevant to the queries of the consumer and your Quality Score increases.A landing page increases the landing page portion of Quality Score by the three things Mr. Varian discusses in the video: Relevant and original content, easily navigable and transparency. It works best in comparison. Compare a landing page that states specifically what your business is, what you provide, how you provide it and when you provide it, with a home page that has a minimal amount of information and is more of a portal to the rest of your website. The home page obviously is going to be a deterrent to your Quality Score because it creates more work for the consumer who clicked on your ad to determine if they have found what they are looking for. Search Engines want the process of a search returning the results the consumer is looking for to be as easy as possible so that they still use that search engine.
The Importance of a Landing Page to a SEM Campaign
Landing pages, if done correctly, increase your Quality Score. Increasing your Quality Score decreases the cost per click you pay for someone clicking on your ad. Saving you money!
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