One of the most common reasons why a search engine marketing (SEM) campaign fails is that is does not have an optimized PPC landing page.
Think about every page you’ve landed on after clicking on a Google search ad and ask yourself, “Are they totally different?” “Is there any similarity or pattern among them?”
Chances are they weren’t a million miles apart in terms of design principles. You probably just didn’t pay much attention because you were too focused on the ad copy.
Here’s the thing: No matter what landing page you’re creating, Leadpages puts conversion first and offers optimized, proven pages to support your PPC campaigns.
In this post, we’ll provide a collection of Google Ads landing page templates to improve your PPC campaign performance. But we don’t stop at that. We’ll also walk you through a comprehensive guide to creating an effective PPC landing page.
More specifically, we’ll be looking at:
- What is a PPC landing page?
- What is the purpose of having a dedicated landing page for a PPC ad?
- What are the core elements of a killer PPC landing page?
- What are PPC landing page design best practices?
Let’s dive in.
What is a PPC landing page?
A PPC landing page (also an SEM landing page) is a self-contained web page your visitors will land on after clicking your pay-per-click ad on an advertising platform (in this case, Google Ads, formerly known as Google Ads).
Every aspect on PPC landing pages focuses on conversions—they’re free of distraction and laser-focused. That’s why they can be powerful-funnel conversion campaigns. The bad news is they can also be challenging to execute and scale.
A well-optimized Google Ads campaign is only half of the game to have a successful PPC campaign. The other half is the landing page you drive your visitors to—where the conversion takes place and/or your money is made. But the hard truth is inexperienced marketers often lose sight of the importance of this half. They often direct all of their PPC traffic to their home page or a poorly optimized (never-tested) landing page and consider that good enough. That’s a gigantic mistake!
A PPC landing page is different from a home page. Take a look at an example from Academy Xi to understand the concept:
A PPC landing page shows specific details about a particular offer. It serves a clear goal, and everything on it is designed to achieve that goal. It doesn’t contain general information or many external links, which limits visitors’ distractions and increases the likelihood of conversion. The following parts of this guide will tell you more about the core elements of a high-converting PPC landing page.
A PPC landing page isn’t similar to any page on your website, that is, it should only be found when a visitor clicks on your paid ad. In other words, a page specifically designed for a PPC campaign isn’t often indexed by search engines (because a noindex tag might be added to it) and only accessible by a PPC ad click.
What is the purpose of having a dedicated landing page for a PPC ad?
It’s logical and practical to send your paid search traffic to a dedicated, optimized PPC landing page. Why? Because organic traffic isn’t similar to paid traffic. Let’s take a look at how they’re different.
Any attempt to make your page title, meta description, or blog posts SEO-friendly is all meant to help your website be shown organically when a visitor searches for a specific keyword. If any links on your site are the best match for a given search query, Google selects and shows it on the SERPs. The position your website will be ranked depends on how well you optimize it for search.
But with a Google Ads campaign, you decide exactly where to direct your visitors. You can choose to link the paid traffic to any page on your website, which allows you to specifically and directly address the needs, wants, and objections of a particular group of people.
Think of this way: Unlike people who accidentally headed to your website from a social media ad, those who use Google to search for something have a specific intent. In many cases, they’re looking for a practical solution to their particular problem. Thus, when they can’t find what they want on your generic page, they’re going to switch to another website. This then tells Google your landing page experience wasn’t good.
Meanwhile, if visitors click an ad and get directed to a highly relevant landing page (that matches the ad copy and compels them to take that next action), Google receives signals that your ad quality is high. It’s because you deliver the promise they just saw on your ad and, more importantly, help them find the solution they want. Imagine when you make your offer as clear as possible and fulfill prospects’ needs, the high chance is that they’ll convert (which is exactly your goal).
A dedicated PPC landing page has its focus, which a homepage and other pages don’t have. Seth Godin put it best:
“Landing pages have specific, measurable offers. You can tell if they’re working or not. You can improve the metrics and make them work better.”
Besides, it should be noted that a dedicated, killer landing page can help increase your Google Ads Quality Score.
In plain words, Quality Score measures the relevance between your ad components (i.e., ads, keywords, landing pages) and search query of a person seeing your ads. The more conversions you have from your landing page, the higher Quality Score your ad gets, meaning better ad positions on SERPs and lower cost-per-click.
What are the core elements of a killer PPC landing page?
All types of landing pages require some identical elements—the things you should have on these pages. For example:
- Unique selling points (USP)
- Compelling offer
- Visuals (images, graphics, videos, etc.)
- A strong, eye-catching call to action.
- Social proof like reviews, ratings, and testimonials.
- Some sense of urgency (e.g., countdown timer)
Most of these elements are necessary, no matter what your page is about. To learn more about each of these elements, read this detailed guide: 5 essential landing page elements.
But essentially, it depends on your goal. A sales page can be much longer than a lead capture page. An upsell landing page will have a different design focus than a squeeze page. Once you master the rules, you can bend and even break them. These elements are just the fundamentals. Learn them and create something truly unique.
A killer Google Ads landing page should also contain these elements, plus the two following ones:
1. Good ad-landing page message match
In other words, if you’re advertising a YouTube course, sell a YouTube course. Don’t send your paid traffic to a page featuring “how to make money with Facebook.” Your PPC landing page should be relevant to the keywords you’re bidding on.
The reasons are some, but all boil down to the fact that if you show something different from your ad, you’ll annoy your visitors who are likely to buy from you or join your email list. Don’t believe it? Ask yourself how many times you’ve clicked a link in the search results and were left thinking, “how have I gotten here?!!!” You might think you were on the wrong page.
By creating an on-target message match, you reassure your paid traffic that they’ve made it to the right spot and that your content (and brand) is credible and trustworthy.
The best practice is to keep the ad headline (almost) the same as the landing page headline. Here is an excellent example from Grammarly:
First, the ad:
Below is the PPC ad:
Notice how the keyword “online proofreader” was used in the ad headline and PPC landing page headline.
A worthy note that whenever you change your offer or any copy on your landing page, you should check your PPC ad to make sure they are congruent.
2. Fast loading speed
Landing page loading speed is essential because Google priorities pages that have a high-quality user experience. The search engine emphasizes that Ad Rank is affected by site speed, which means your Quality Scores and CPC are, too.
And if that wasn’t enough, Internet users are an impatient lot. In fact, 40% of them say they will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. For mobile pages, the probability of bounce increases by up to 90% as page load time goes from 1s to 5s.
With these in mind, a rule of thumb is to aim for a landing page loading speed of 2 seconds or less.
“How do I know how fast my landing pages load?”
Don’t worry. Throw the URL of your landing page into any of these sites:
Keep in mind that as you run page load speed tests, the results will vary according to wifi connection, screen size, and computer type.
- Host your video elsewhere, such as Wistia and YouTube. Then, use the Leadpage video widget to embed your video from these hosting sites directly to your page.
- Remove unnecessary scripts and plugins. You can disable a plugin one at a time, then retest your page speed to determine which plugin is problematic.
- Fix broken links. They affect user experience and slow down your page load time. You can use Google Webmaster Tools to identify them.
Once you’ve made these changes on your landing page, check its loading speed with any of the tools above again.
Also, you should optimize your home page loading speed as well. Prospects will likely check your home page, so if its load time isn’t as fast as that of the landing page, they may leave you immediately.
What are PPC landing page design best practices?
Now is the time to learn some PPC landing page design best practices. Apply them, and you’ll see amazing results in your paid campaigns.
1. One ad, one landing page
The golden rule is to create one ad per landing page. This way, you’ll figure out how each ad affects your landing page performance. If you have multiple ads per landing page, it isn’t easy for you to identify which ad brings conversions and which one doesn’t.
To understand this concept, take a look at this screenshot from Optimizely.
As you can see, these three ads have the same description text and opt-in form. But they have a different headline and landing page, which helps you easily collect data and compare ad performance.
Take Asana as an example. Below is their ad for the search query “project management tool”:
Another ad for the keyword “task management tool”:
Even though Asana uses different texts for these ads, you can see the ads and the landing pages optimized for respective keywords.
If you want to try this tactic, you can create a separate Ad Group for each ad.
2. Optimize PPC landing page copy
As said earlier, SEM campaigns target ready-to-buy audiences—those who have a transactional intent and just need some directions to a reliable solution to their problem. PPC audiences often skim the copy and quickly move from an ad to another until they find what they need. They don’t come to your landing page to read the content.
That’s why (again) a message match between your ad and your landing page is the key. Besides, the PPC landing page copy should be concise and straightforward. Consider the following:
- Use bulleted lists instead of paragraphs.
- Emphasize key points with block quotes, images of quotes, or by incorporating them into subheaders.
- Use active voice instead of passive voice.
- Use copy and imagery that is solution-oriented instead of feature-centric.
- Keep your form short and focus. If an email address fulfills your purpose, don’t ask them to fill out 5 different form fields.
- Always have a clear CTA above the fold. This serves as a reminder for why visitors are on your landing page and reinforces the action you want them to take.
Another thing your PPC landing page needs is social proof like reviews and testimonials. You don’t want to just say, “This product is amazing. I love it.” That’s not really trustworthy. You need someone to explain the benefits of your product and how it makes their life easier, better. The Institute of Makeup Artistry applies many types of social proof to their PPC landing page. Let’s break it down top to bottom.
- Customer reviews and ratings from a popular review website:
- Company logos showcasing a well-known organization that accredited and recognized their work:
- Mentioning their partnership with a well-known organization to prove that their business is trustworthy.
- Displaying works of the course author.
- Highly detailed testimonials from people who have found their course useful:
If that’s not enough, they even displayed students’ portfolios. You can click each portfolio to see more works of that student:
All of these trust elements help the business become more authentic and reliable.
3. Apply directional cues
Directional cues are arrows, lines, eye gaze, pointing, gesturing, or white space. They’re useful to draw attention to important elements like a CTA button or a video on your PPC landing page. They’re small but powerful enough to get your visitors to take action.
Here is a great example of using directional cues in PPC landing pages from Octal IT Solution:
Octal IT Solution uses an arrow for the Let’s Talk button. They level up this arrow by creating a nice ripple effect around it, making the button more eye-catching.
Meanwhile, SafetyCulture takes advantage of white space—the negative space or empty area—to attract attention to specific elements in their PPC landing page. They use substantial white space surrounding the headline, subheadline, the CTA button, and the image to simplify their page and increase overall comprehension of the offer.
4. Create comparison landing pages
If you’re tired of your competitors hogging all the attention or if you want to steal some of their customers day after day, creating a comparison landing page is a smart strategy. The idea is that your landing page will present an honest and comprehensive comparison between you and your competitor’s product.
This technique isn’t a secret. Companies in the SaaS industry have been using it for years. Podia, a platform for creating and selling online courses, even has a total of 37 comparison pages, driving about 5,500 organic traffic every month.
Why does this tactic work?
Here is the fact: Comparison shopping is a huge problem for every business owner, online or offline.
It’s your habit, our habit, and a habit of all human beings. So why don’t you make it simpler for your potential customers?
If you create a product comparison page, you not only help them in their search process but also show your transparency about what makes your product great. And in case you don’t know, transparency is the key to building trust with customers.
Besides, you can benefit from your competitors’ names and traffic to increase your conversions. Just take a step ahead of them with a comparison landing page and highlight how you are better.
To get a sense of how this will be done, here are the Google search results for search query “basecamp.”
Click any of these search results, for example, the first ad from Teamwork, and you’ll see this PPC landing page:
A comparison landing page! (Yes!) In this page, you even see a detailed comparison table Teamwork created explaining why they are better than Basecamp:
“Now you may ask, but what if my product isn’t better? Wouldn’t then I be promoting my competitors’ if I create a comparison landing page?”
Fair enough. If your product is new or doesn’t have a better USP than your competitor’s, you shouldn’t create a comparison page.
If your product is better than your competitors’, go for a comparison page. Highlight your best features and benefits your prospects will get from your product.
In doing so, try to apply the following tips:
- Don’t use your competitors’ logos. Use their brand name only. Check this effective PPC landing page from Flock.
- Don’t hesitate to address many competitors at once. Monday.com applied this very well.
- Show proof (e.g., reviews, ratings, testimonials, third-party recognition) to support the claim you’re making. See how Flock does this well on their comparison page against Slack, and then follow its lead.
- Use comparison tables for pricing, feature/benefit, etc. as Asana did.
- Use these keywords in your Google Ads campaigns: [competitor product name], [competitor product] reviews, [competitor product] alternatives, [your product] vs [competitor product], similar to [competitor product]. Remember to run an ad campaign on your own brand keywords; otherwise, your competitor can take advantage of the same strategy against you.
5. Use images of real people
Research shows that using images of real human faces can create the first positive impression with customers and build trust with them. This is probably because we are hardwired from birth to recognize people and have a high level of empathy for “people like us.”
Using photos of real people with smiles is effective. Smiles are beautiful and almost always attractive. Look at this example from Dreamlife Wedding. They don’t need to talk too much about their service but let their satisfied customers do it.
Note that you can’t just use any smiling people on your page. You need to find the photos that help deliver your message and match your target audience, then test until you know which images bring good results.
6. Create a one-click sign-up PPC landing page
Making your offer as easy as possible to take that your prospects can’t say no. If you don’t need to know their first name, remove this field, and ask for their email address only. The simpler your opt-in form, the more likely visitors will subscribe to you.
Multiple Stream Profit did a great job of applying this tactic:
This landing page is simple: one headline, one description, and an opt-in form, that’s it! Also, notice how they include figures to make their offer more convincing. “$4,324 in 28 days” sounds exciting, right?
Here is another example from Mikkelsen Twins:
Like Multiple Stream Profit, Mikkelsen Twins also shows figures on their landing page to draw visitors’ attention. Besides, they use directional cues and a two-step opt-in to increase the possibility that visitors will keep moving through the process and enter their information.
7. Don’t forget a Thank You page
You may already know the importance of having a dedicated Thank You page or a Confirmation page after visitors opt in for a bonus on your site or making a purchase on an online store.
When it comes to SEM, a Thank You landing page is just as important as a PPC landing page.
Think this way: Have you ever filled out a form or made a purchase on a PPC landing page, then you were returned to the same page or the homepage without a Thank You page in between? It’s crazy confusing! You don’t know if you submitted a form or purchased successfully.
Your potential customers are the same as you. They expect to be directed to a Thank You page, not a page with a lot of distraction.
Case in point:
Source: Make A Living Writing
By creating an optimized Thank You page, you also take the opportunity to upsell your visitors. You can give them a promo code for a discount on their next purchase or an X day free trial of your product or just a small request to share your work with others like the example above.
Wonder how to create a killer Thank You page? Read this guide: The Art of the Thank You Page: How to Make Any Confirmation Page Boost Your Business.
Are you ready to optimize your PPC landing page?
Now you’ve had everything to create an optimized PPC landing page. It’s time to do the work.
Remember to check out our collection of Google Ads landing page templates to get inspired. You can make some tweaks or just change the text and then use it for your PPC campaigns.
If you want to create a page from scratch, try Leadpages. Enjoy your 14-day free trial with unlimited access to powerful features you need to create a high-converting PPC landing page. You’ll be surprised with your masterpiece!
Still not a Leadpages customer?
Take a look at our platform when you start a free 14-day trial today.