Practical Ecommerce

Pay-per-click Advertising: Try The Home Page For A Landing Page

Over the last couple years a lot of emphasis has been put on creating the perfect pay-per-click landing page. The overall landing page strategy is to create a clear call to action on the page and to have relevant content relating to the search query and ad text. After you’ve followed these guidelines and even split-tested different variations, what happens if the keyword still doesn’t convert?

In my experience, a home page can sometimes be the solution. The value of landing visitors on a home page through paid search should not be overlooked. The main reason is because your home page is a reflection of your business. People always say, “You don’t get a second chance at a first impression.” While it may be a cliché, the adage is oftentimes true. A well-contrasted, clean-cut home page will give first-time visitors a warm and fuzzy feeling when they find your ecommerce business. Not only will this help conversions, but it could potentially turn those first-time visitors into return visitors. If your home page includes too many messages, or if it is contrasted poorly, first-time visitors may turn away quickly and never return.

Having your keywords’ products easy to find on the homepage will enhance the visitor’s experience. Not only have visitors seen that your home page (and therefore, your business) is helpful, but also that finding what they searched for was painless. Compare this to shopping at any offline store. Let’s take a sporting goods store, for example. If you enter the store and it takes, say, less than a minute to find the section you need and the product you want, my guess is you’ll be back another time. Conversely, if you walk in and it takes too long to find the section, and once you find the section the products don’t seem to be in the right place, my guess is you will not buy something during that visit, and you won’t return for another item.

So, if your pay-per-click advertising campaigns are having trouble converting on product pages, send visitors to your home page. This could convince them that your business is where they should make their current and future purchases.

Bryan Bacarella

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  1. Legacy User May 5, 2008 Reply

    I doin't know how to say this, but you're 100% wrong.

    Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.


    Go out and test your theory, then test some fantastic landing pages, we'll see who does better.

    (Hint: the well-tested, scientifically proven-to-convert landing page will demolish a home-page ppc landing)


    — *Jack*

  2. Legacy User May 6, 2008 Reply

    I think this might occasionally work in the case of sites that have a pretty high level of focus. For example, if you sell candles online, taking a visitor to a homepage might work well, but I hardly think it would do the job if you have a broad range of products.

    Also this article makes some pretty major assumptions about the home page in question. (You might want to review another PEC article on effective 'first impressions':

    In any case, I'd suggest using split testing (this is easy for PPC traffic, just run the same ad, but with different destination URL's) to determine the appropriate landing page (be it product page, category page, or home page). Of course, I'd also strongly recommend split testing individual pages (see another PEC article on this:

    Mat Greenfield

    — *Mat Greenfield*

  3. Legacy User May 6, 2008 Reply

    I think you are missing something. The autor says "what happens if the keyword still doesn't convert?" and suggests the home page. Since we can probably not build a landing page for each of our keywords in our campains, sending the keywords that do not convert to a home page would probably be a good solution and could raise conversion. It does not mean to stop using landing page.

    — *Martin Leclair*

  4. Legacy User May 6, 2008 Reply

    The only way I could see this strategy work is if the PPC search term was very general and the over all theme of the site's home page was in agreement. For sites selling more than a few products, land the visitor on the products.

    For our retail site we've learned that coupling the PPC terms to our site search solution improved conversions since all landing pages are dynamically generated to match the PPC query. Visitors see products that match their query; nothing more, nothing less. It works.

    — *John Schoeph*

  5. Legacy User May 14, 2008 Reply

    One caveat to this article's advice: Google will give a low quality score to an ad that doesn't "match" the landing page very well. This can certainly be the case with an ad that has specific product text going to a home page. Low quality scores = higher bids and worse ad positioning, so be careful.

    — *Kristen*

  6. Legacy User June 5, 2008 Reply

    I need a couple company web sites who develop
    pre-made landing pages for the MLM – direct sales industry


    — *Dr. Sully*