5 Best Practices for Optimizing Landing Pages for Adwords

A good landing page can make or break a paid search campaign. SEM landing pages need to be easy to navigate, concise and grab your prospects attention. This is asking a lot for a simple webpage, but fear not.

In this post we’ll look at some landing page best practices for Google Ads (formerly AdWords). There are hundreds of ways to optimize a landing page for AdWords, this post covers a few quick wins and high-level approaches to get the ball rolling.

Firstly we’ll look at the benefits of using a landing page (vs. directing all traffic to your homepage), then break down some simple tips to optimize your landing pages for AdWords.

What are the benefits of landing pages?

Firstly, what is the benefit of using a landing page? Why not just direct your traffic to your website’s homepage?

It comes down to a few factors, most importantly is relevancy. Landing pages can be designed so that the messaging and design you use reflects the messaging in your advertising, this increases the message match of the page, which in turn can increase conversions and ROI of these campaigns.

Ok I get it. So, how can I optimize my landing pages?

Make content easy to navigate

This should be obvious, but you’d be amazed how many landing pages are tricky to navigate. Make sure you adhere to the following:

Clearly outline your product or service offering. 

Landing page visitors should be able to quickly understand what you offer by reading above-the-fold content. Don’t make them scroll down the page to figure it out. 

Ensure clickable images have alt text. 

This helps to ensure that everyone visiting the site is able to understand what the image is via descriptive text, even if they can’t see it.

Not only is this best-practice for accessibility. But adding descriptive alt text can also positively affect your SEO.

Test on mobile devices 

Yes, your landing page looks great on your laptop, using your operating system and browser. However, that is no guarantee that it will look good on someone else’s device!

It’s a mobile-first world, and you need to test across mobile devices – plural. Mobile landing page optimization is extremely important. If you’re spending valuable ad dollars on each click, you should make sure that your landing page is responsive across the most popular device types and operating systems. 

Otherwise you’re flushing money down the drain. 

Test your page on your own mobile device, a tablet and maybe get a friend to test it too. Sometimes issues can appear that you can’t spot by simulating mobile devices in a browser.

If you use Chrome, you can easily simulate different devices using the below steps:

Right click and choose ‘Inspect’ from the dropdown menu.

Choose the device or dimensions that you want to test. Chrome has options for some of the most popular Android and iOS devices.

Try to match the search query to the landing page copy

Users love to message match. But what the hell is it, exactly?

It’s pretty simple. Consider the following example of good message match: 

  1. Someone searches for the query “organic dog food”
  2. They see a google ad with copy like “Organic Dog Food – Fresh/Tasty Affordable”
  3. They click the ad and are taken to a landing page that further explains the organic dog food product that you offer.

What’s so good about this situation? The user’s search intent is matched beautifully. And what does that mean? Increased conversion rates and revenue!

Below is an example of less-than-ideal landing page message matching:

  1. Someone searches for the query “organic dog food”
  2. They see a google ad with copy like “Organic Dog Food – Fresh/Tasty Affordable”
  3. BUT, when they click the ad, the landing page has copy about schnauzer dog food! 

If they are presented with schnauzer dog food, they might have a schnauzer dog, but they might have a completely different breed, which would make the copy less relevant to their search query.

This would make them less likely to convert. All of these issues can drive up your cost per conversion and decrease the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

When building landing pages and structuring search accounts, try to match landing page copy to ad text and keywords as much as possible. You’ll notice the difference in your metrics.

Test and QA your pages

A little QA (Quality Assurance) testing can go a long way. Get other people – friends, family and colleagues to test out the landing page. This is where things can get interesting. Sometimes you’ll discover bugs that you hadn’t anticipated. 

The first-hand, (hopefully) honest feedback can help you tweak things to make them as user friendly as possible. And remember folks, user-friendly pages increase conversions, which is what we want!

ABT – Always be testing!

Landing pages aren’t a ‘set and forget’ project. You should measure conversion rates and run tests on an ongoing basis – from edits in copy to imagery and layout, all elements of a page can be tweaked to give a conversion lift. 

There are several landing page tools that can be used, we recommend the following: 

Landing page builders like Leadpages and Unbounce allow marketers to quickly spin up and test landing pages, they also have intuitive WYSIWYG editor that allows non-technical folk to easily create impressive landing pages.  

Hotjar and Crazy Egg offer suites of tools for understanding how your pages are performing, you can view full session recordings of how users interact, view click heatmaps and more, they are excellent tools to validate your assumptions about what’s working on your pages and how to improve them.


The above tips are a good starting point on your landing page optimization journey. As you begin to build and test pages you’ll get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. 

As the digital landscape shifts keep in mind that mobile landing page design is increasingly important, as Google moves towards favouring the mobile search experience over desktop.

Happy optimizing!

-The Agile Marketers Team

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