If you’re in the digital marketing game, or you’re well attuned to the digital demands of running a business successfully, you know that building well-performing landing pages for your business is vital.
Now, pay per click (PPC) advertising can be tricky enough as it is, especially without a PPC specialist in your team. Competing against large businesses with big budgets can seem impossible, but if you’re in the financial services then every part of your site is subject to extra scrutiny.
There’s an extra level of difficulty for sites that Google considers to fall under “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL). These are sites that Google deems can impact a users health, wealth and happiness – like sites dedicated to financial information or services.
Every part of building a YMYL page needs to help show Google your site’s E.A.T – expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. This means having a site with accurate, up to date and high quality content is vital, as well as conforming with the guidelines set out in Google’s UX for Finance playbook, and having a positive online and real-life reputation, amongst other things.
So, how can you go about creating PPC landing pages that will serve your customer and perform well?
Leicestershire-based digital marketing agency Assisted specialise in digital marketing for financial services and they recently conducted a study across the 16 advertisers in the four top PPC positions for specific financial services terms.
To compound this research, they then cast a wider gaze over 54 landing pages in total (in different sectors within the financial services), analysing a total of 120 components that go into those pages. To save you the time of having to do the same, Assisted have summarised their findings and pulled together five easy wins for you to implement, in order to improve the performance of your PPC landing pages.
1. A specific landing page is necessary
Product/service specific PPC landing pages – necessary or a wasted effort? With only 62% of the pages analysed having dedicated landing pages for their PPC ads, it would be easy to write off this step and optimise your already existing product pages.
However, of the pages taking the top spot for each search term, 76% of them had specific landing pages. This shows a clear trend and demonstrates that a landing page specifically for your PPC ads could be important.
100% of the pages in position one had other pages with the same/very similar wording and layout, with 80% of the sites including a main navigation similar to their non-PPC landing pages. This means that you may not need to create brand new pages for each product/service that you’re optimising for PPC, and you can instead use a similar base template for each of them.
2. Get a catchy Call to Action
Stay with us here. We know you know you’ll need a catchy Call to Action (CTA). However, the importance of a great one can’t be overstated. Unsurprisingly, a CTA and the tracked action/conversion event (for instance, a button to click that takes you to sign up or get a quote) is one of the most important parts of any landing page and ad – not just for PPC campaigns.
Having a clear CTA and an easy-to-use action is an important part of the user experience, and will decrease bounce rate and increase conversions. These components make it clear to potential customers which action to take next and helps to remove friction in moving the user down the sales funnel. There can also be multiple CTA on a page if there are multiple desired actions for the user to take.
3. Write a lot of content
They say content is king – and they’re right. On-page content is what turns a curious site visitor into a buyer. On average, the top ranking pages had around 1180 words of copy, with 90% of these pages including links to other on-site pages within this content.
However, this content is also the place where you need to be most careful not to fall afoul of YMYL. In the name of a good user experience, it’s important that your content is accurate, well-written, and up to date. It should be comprehensively and clearly written. It should also answer the user’s search query, or point them to a page on site that does.
It’s also important that your copy is keyword rich and has good salient scores. 100% of the top ranking pages had the keyword they ranked for referenced throughout their copy. On average, the keyword appeared 10 times per page, which makes roughly 1 keyword per 120 words. This shows a strong trend suggesting that using keywords correctly has an effect on how well your page performs.
There are tools like Google’s Natural Language API which can help you determine whether or not you’re squeezing enough keywords into your copy in the right ways, so you don’t have to figure it out alone.
4. Be smart with your headings
You should think of headings and heading structure like a non-fiction book. Your Heading 1 (H1) is the title of the book. It should introduce the topic of the page. Having multiple H1 tags is unnecessary, and will make your page less user-friendly. Your H1 should also include your main keywords. 68% of the top ranking pages included the search term within their H1.
Think of your Heading 2s (H2s) like the chapters that go into the book and any subsequent headers (H3-H6) as additional subheadings. These pages should also be optimised and kept short and clear. This is both good practice for site functionality and good user experience.
Think of H2s like chapters of the book, and any subsequent headers (H3-H6) as additional subheadings, there to help you control how content is displayed. Optimising these and keeping them short and clear is helpful – both for site functionality and your user. 100% of the top ranking pages reviewed contained at least one additional H2/H3/H4 tag.
5. Fast, reliable page speeds
53% of users will leave a site if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. 50% expect pages to load in less than 2 seconds. Page speed is a direct ranking factor for Google, but can also indirectly affect a page’s ranking by increasing or decreasing the bounce rate or time spent on site. All the top ranking sites surveyed as part of the research had a load speed of about 75 on desktop.
However, they did on average have a load speed of 40 on mobile. You should aim for around 65 for mobile page speeds despite this statistic. Despite slow mobile speeds however, 95% of the sites we tested passed the Google Mobile Friendly checker, so optimising your landing page for mobile is obviously important.
PPC is undeniably complicated and nuanced, and it can be difficult to know if the changes you’re making are having a positive impact. Ultimately, it should be your goal to build a PPC landing page that brings real value to your users. Following best practices and optimising your page well will help, but trying to compete against financial services dinosaurs with big PPC budgets can only be done by ensuring that your site meets YMYL standards and is user friendly in every way. PPC is more accessible now than ever, so the landing page of your dreams is just a few tweaks away.