Best Practices For Google Adwords Ad Copy and Landing Page Copy

March 12, 2019 Andy Beohar

Even though Google ads have gained more characters recently, coming up with the right Google AdWords copy can be a challenge. Landing pages should always be connected to ads designated for those leads who clicked on them, and they also need effective copy and formatting. While your brand voice should be consistent across all of your content, it's particularly crucial for your AdWords ad copy to sync with your landing page copy, so pay heed to these copywriting best practices.

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1. Keywords in Ad Copy Need to Mirror Actual Searches

While you have more leeway with landing pages, you have a very tiny piece of real estate when it comes to AdWords. To ensure complete synchronicity – from the user's search, to seeing your ad and clicking on it, to being taken to your landing page – everything should be as relevant to their needs as possible.

The following is an excellent example of Ad copy mirroring the actual keyword search.

 Keywords in Ad Copy Need to Mirror Actual Searches

When the user clicks on the Ad, they are taken to the following landing page.

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A strong keyword strategy can isolate which keywords are the most likely to produce results. Regardless of which keywords you decide to use for your AdWords campaign, you should build out all the assets for the campaign including said keywords in the copy. Ads and landing pages have a symbiotic relationship; you should incorporate keywords that are close to terms users search for.

However, the keywords you put into the copy need to be used well. The copy should flow nicely and be well-written, not just stuffed with keywords and hashtags that obscure a relevant and cohesive message.

When it comes down to the actual keywords you're using, think about getting a packing slip for buying shoes online. If you ordered three pairs of sneakers, but the slip just says “women’s athletic sneakers” for each pair, the information is technically correct – but not at all helpful at informing you whether the shoes are the correct style and size you ordered.

Depending on the product, you may not need such an exact match. For the most part, though, the keywords used should be as close to a lead’s actual searches as possible. The ads should clearly state what you're selling and why that might appeal to this particular user.

2. Placement Can Be Everything in AdWords Ad Copy

Once you know which keyword to use, where it actually lives is another aspect of copywriting that shouldn’t be overlooked. The keyword might be most effective in the first headline or in the second one. If it's a longer keyword, it might be best used in a sentence in the main body. A/B testing can be a godsend in a case like this: Test different versions of the ad and see which gets the best results in terms of site traffic or conversions.

3. Landing Page Copy Must Demonstrate that the Lead is in the Right Place

Use the exact keyword from the ad in the landing page's H1 heading – making it prominent in the first paragraph doesn't hurt, either. This tells the visitor that they're in the right place and your site has what they're searching for.

Landing page copy has a different dynamic from AdWords copy, even though they're both capitalizing on the same search-based intent. When a user is on the search results page, your ad is next to those of your competitors, and it needs to stand out from all the others while still conveying crucial information that will generate clicks.

Landing Page Copy Must Demonstrate that the Lead is in the Right Place

On the landing page, however, you now have their undivided attention; the copy should indicate that they’ve come to the right place.

Landing Page Copy Must Demonstrate that the Lead is in the Right Place 2

Having multiple landing pages is a good idea if you're testing different ad sets on various channels, because users coming in from AdWords have specific intent, while traffic from Facebook ads is driven by user interests. However, you don't need a separate landing page for every single keyword you're targeting; too many similar pages can seriously hurt your site’s SEO ranking.

While the first paragraph and title should focus on using your selected keyword, you’re free to also use variations on the phrasing. These variations should be in prominent places, like headlines and H2 headings.

Write headlines that work well with different phrases and variations on the main keyword so that you can narrow down how many landing pages you need to create. These landing pages can serve as A/B testing, in addition to being designed for different origins (like AdWords vs. Facebook), but they should all be as close to the original search query as possible.

4. Aim for Specific Keywords That Match Queries

Most people don't search for vague terms, such as "pizza" or "shoes." Most search queries often have some degree of specificity, like "vegan pizza" or "vegan pizza downtown San Francisco." Depending on your lead generation and keyword strategies, focusing on a slightly broader term like "vegan pizza" lets you keep your ad copy broad and basic. For searches that are more specific, your copy might need adjustment based on the degree of specificity.

Consider our earlier example of an online shoe store selling women’s athletic sneakers. A prospective generic search result for example Shoe Shop might look something like this:

Shop for Shoes | Online Up to 50% Off 
Find all the colors and styles you could want in our huge online selection. Free Shipping until 3/15!

This might work just fine for a user searching for “shoes.” If Example Shoe Shop wanted to target “womens shoes” or “womens running shoes,” the first line could read “Shop Women’s Shoes Online” or “Women’s Athletic Shoes,” and the rest of the copy could be the same.

Only the first headline needs to be adjusted for specificity. The second headline communicates the key benefits – a large selection and free shipping for a limited time – but the first headline is the one that tells users you have what they're looking for.

Concerning the landing page, the actual name of the page can be more important than the copy itself. For our trusty Example Shoe Shop, the landing pages could be different depending on query terms.

  • Shoes: www.onlineshoes.com
  • Women’s shoes: www.onlineshoes.com/women
  • Women’s athletics shoes: www.onlineshoes.com/women/athletics

The landing page should match the search queries as close as possible. Depending on varying factors like the product mix you sell, you may have multiple landing pages for the same product or the same landing page for several product groups. If Example Shoe Shop sells thousands of shoe brands and types, it would be impossible to create landing pages for each of them. Instead, Example Shoe Shop could have fewer landing pages based on types or groups of shoes (e.g., women's shoes, children's shoes, athletics shoes) that match a user’s needs as closely as possible.

The more specific you are with matching a user’s searches, the more likely you are to see conversions.

5. Narrow the AdWords Copy to a Few Specific Attributes

Different messaging hits home with different people, even if you're targeting just one specific keyword. As search pages start to get flooded with the same information, what will actually stand out?

Some people will gravitate to your business based on reputation, price, product mix, or some other criteria. Others are specifically looking for specific features and benefits, while still others will only have enough confidence to click your ad if you’ve been endorsed or positively reviewed by a trusted source, like ZAGAT is for restaurants.

Test which approaches work best with your target audience. How should your Google AdWords ad copy be framed?

  • Highlighting a feature, whether it's common or uncommon. Go with what you think is most appealing to your target audience.
  • Calling out the chief benefit of your product or business model, particularly how it differentiates from the competition.
  • Taking a problem/solution approach. Your ad could focus on either one, e.g., "Tired of business waste?" or "Create less business waste with our solution!"
  • Feature testimonials and feedback from customers to show that they trust your product.
  • Highlight review sites and scores, particularly sites like Yelp, where it may be difficult to organically rise to the top.
  • If your target buyers care about awards and ratings, write about any professional reviews or awards won.
  • If you need to separate your target buyers from a more general audience, use the ad copy to prequalify them to save clicks (e.g., "Book your family vacation now!" weeds out solo travelers not interested in family-centered tours.)

Test various ad sets and see which one resonates the most. Pick the best performer, then create a landing page that mirrors it to ensure consistency from start to finish.

6. Always End with a Call to Action (CTA) and Make the Landing Page Actionable

The entire point of having ads and other forms of digital marketing is that we want users to take action. Our ultimate, ideal goal might be converting a lead into a purchase, but there are other actions users can take, too, like calling a representative or signing up for a mailing list.

Put a CTA at the end of the landing page copy and frame the user's experience around it, from the moment they click on the ad to the final point of the landing page. Their expectations should align with what they saw in the ad copy – the thing that made them click the ad the first place.

Whatever action you want a user to take, you need to make it doable without requiring them to leave the landing page. If you want them to buy a product right now, put a product listing or eCommerce structure on that landing page so they can shop with just a few clicks. If your CTA is to contact a representative, make sure to implement contact information.

While too-vague CTAs like "learn more" should be used only sparingly, in the event that you do, the landing page should still have sufficient information and links for them to do exactly that: learn more.

Your landing page needs to align with the ad; if the ad promised a discount, you need to make good on that discount. Landing pages need to effectively communicate your message, and while you have much more room to work with than the ad in the absence of official character limits, too much information can make a user feel overwhelmed.

Great ad and landing page copy require consistency from click through CTA. Ensure that your copy is engaging and informative, that the ads and landing pages fill a prospective customer’s needs, and that you’re sensible about how you target search queries. When you do all this, your PPC value is bound to skyrocket.

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