PPC Chat Streamcap – PPC & Site Architecture

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with a magnificent question set titled “PPC & Site Architecture.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: How does a website’s architecture affect your PPC account builds?

  • If its sound site architecture, it can be a good blue print for PPC account structure. – John Lavin (@johnnyjetfan)
  • Greatly if Ecommerce where LPs are often categories. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • very little from a B2B perspective (usually have LP’s) HUGE for ecomm. Top sellers are usually front & center. – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
  • As an Ecommerce site campaign structure largely follows product category structure. – Jessica Cameron Ruud (@Camruud)
  • Initial kw research, segmenting ad groups, deciding landing pages. – Claire Remmetter (@cremmetter)
  • Oftentimes the site organization provides a good intuitive base b/c it separates different client groups. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
    • What do you mean by client groups? – Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
      • Would have been better if I’d said customer groups. Like a default segmentation. – Robert Brady
  • For ecommerce it’s a good starting point for campaign structure. – Dennis Petretti (@Denetti)
  • If architecture isn’t there it hurts the ability to break out a campaign exactly as it *should be. Have to make compromises. – Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
  • Helps give some structure for ecomm. Always start there, but most time is spent researching outside the site. – Luke Alley
  • Main site navigation = campaigns – Categories = ad groups and so forth, as others have said more on ecomm side however. – Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
  • And from a usability standpoint it helps if the site is set up well, which is going to help increase conversions and results. – Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysem)
  • More product-specific, more categories, more sub-category pages = more opportunities for testing. – Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
  • Website’s architecture is step #1 in keyword build-out and structuring. – Emily Las (@emlas)
  • Also gives an idea of what priorities are for the client – if its in the navi it probably means a lot to them. – Aaron Levy
  • Quality, strong-call-to-action, landing pages are essential for PPC. Like everything with PPC: Separate and Silo! – John Ellis (@JohnWEllis)
  • I always cringe when I see a site that has a poor architecture. Automatic hindrance to PPC account. – Matt Umbro
  • Affects if fundamentally. It’s like trying to build a deck with a hose, water and a 2X4 without a well structured site. – Ira Kates (@IraKates)
  • It doesn’t. I primarily use single keyword ad groups so site structure is not normally (exceptions of course) a consideration. – Jeremy Mayes (@jeremymayesppca)
  • Also great to use the process to identify landing pg opps (i.e. custom category pages that do not exist). – Emily Las
  • Good site structure & content should also play a role in helping customers move through the buying process. – Jessica Cameron Ruud
  • Unfortunately some extremely low budget campaigns, LPs might not be dooable. – James Svoboda
  • Facets, product categories make great Ad Groups…I got your tisk tisk right here! – Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
  • Match your PPC ad copy to the CTA on the LP. – Eric Farmer (@click_eric)
  • Too often people think PPC is done in a silo. IT’S NOT! – Matt Umbro
  • I like use using the natural flow of the site for most targets, LPs are great for 1 offs, but would rather lean on site nav. – Chris Kostecki
    • This also helps create more of a complete experience instead of a 1 page ecosystem. – James Svoboda
  • Although it should help shape structure, more important that PPC best practice is adhered to. – Blair Kerrison (@blairkerrison)

Q2: What types of PPC data warrant new landing pages or updates to existing pages?

  • Traffic primarily? If there’s no volume, may not be worth it. From there good (or bad) conversion data can warrant new LPs. – Neil Sorenson
  • Bounce rates. – Chris Kostecki
  • Metrics like bounce rate or low conversions. Sometimes it’s not the keyword, but the LP, which is why you need to test. – Mark Kennedy
  • KW research in terms of popularity and internal site search– great sources for identifying opps for strong PPC landing pgs. – Emily Las
  • Bounce rate on specific pages. – John Lavin
  • If the searcher uses "escape hatches" – clicks on logo or other links. Indicates we’re not giving what they wanted. – Aaron Levy
  • Conversion data. Then perhaps Analytics data, bounce rates, time on site, etc. – Luke Alley
  • Use relative traffic volume and conversion rates to prioritize creation of new landing pages. – Dennis Petretti
  • Low Quality Score on more important keywords. – Sterling Green (@sterlinggreen)
  • New LP whenever the message from keyword to ad copy to LP would be mismatched (and enough traffic to justify) . – Robert Brady
  • Low Conversion Rates. New Campaigns/Ad Groups. New Keyword Themes. New LP Styles… more of a testing issue. – James Svoboda
  • Be careful using bounce rates for standalone LP’s. Every non-conversion = bounce. – Aaron Levy
    • Don’t know if I agree, can engage site, not convert & still = win. – Chris Kostecki
      • That’s where escape hatches come in- I’m more concerned with people leaving to the site. Big bounce rate = bad campaign. – Aaron Levy
  • Low AOV can also call for some new content, seasons/special events. – Chris Kostecki
  • Search query reports help influence new LPs, especially when testing the waters with modified broad match keywords. – Matt Umbro
  • Conversion Rates, ROI, Bounce Rates, Exit rates, revenue, leads <– all data leads to landing page development plan. – Jessica Cameron Ruud
  • Specific new services or conversion type. – Michael McEuen (@lonohead)
  • Traffic. Which ad groups/KWs bring in the most traffic? Optimize those LPs first. – Eric Garmer
  • Google Analytics — "Content" section is gold mine– important to see how people are navigating through. – Emily Las
  • Also new products or services could dictate new LPs. – James Svoboda
  • Also targeting audiences/themes that are not part of the natural structure. – Chris Kostecki
  • High traffic areas that need a boost in QS or conv rate are 1st place for improvement. – Claire Remmetter
  • Fastest growing terms & high/low conversion ad groups can be a good opportunity. – Blair Kerrison
  • I typically look at traffic first then conversion data. Occasionally will look at bounce rate. – Jeremy Mayes
  • Does anyone create new LPs for ecomm sites that aren’t part of site navigation? – Matt Umbro
    • We may do it if it’s a special promotion just for ppc. – Mark Kennedy
      • I agree. Depends on size of client and their budget too. Resources can limit size of campaign. – Luke Alley
    • Yes. Entry/navigational pages. – James Svoboda
    • We have so that we can have specific colors/styles show up. – Gina Vasselli (@GinaVasselli)
      • Another great point, the more targeted you can make your landing page to the search query the better. – Matt Umbro
    • The case for custom landing pgs comes down to relevancy– what customizations are possible & conducive to conversion. – Emily Las
    • Yes! Example, promotional pages that will only be promoted through paid search. – Eric Farmer
    • Yes, usually not in nav (but keep universal head/foot). – Chris Kostecki
    • Yes, for high-consideration purchases (i.e. expensive). – Aaron Levy
    • Yes, to test special offer copy or to offer deals to audience segments. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
    • Yes, Absolutely. Ecom lp development driven by the buying cycle. Not everyone is ready to buy now. – Jessica Cameron Ruud
    • Almost all of our landing pages are separate from our main navigation. You can get to the site, but can’t get to the LPs. – Michelle Morgan
    • Yes! Helps to optimize pages specifically by ad group offer, without duplicating site content in general. – Claire Remmetter
    • Yes, patches for poor site org. faux category pgs. – Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)

Q3: How involved are you with website conversion optimization in tandem with your PPC accounts (ie: shopping carts, buttons, etc)?

  • EXTREMLY. – James Svoboda
  • I wear many hats including analyst, conversion rate optimization and landing page development. It all contributes to PPC success. – Jessica Cameron Ruud
  • Always test shopping carts and give clients feedback…again, PPC is not done in a silo. – Matt Umbro
  • Not as involved as I should be. CRO is full of easy wins. – Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
  • Depends on how competent the website owner is. If they’re already engaged in *good CRO, my involvement is minimal. – Neil Sorenson
  • I see it as the same thing. PPC doesn’t end with a click on the ad. – Luke Alley
  • Extremely involved. I’m the main instigator for new LPs. Work closely with design team to get exactly what we need. – Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)
  • Trying to make it more of a focus, but need to pull in other resources. – Chris Kostecki
  • I make it a point to be involved because if they can’t convert traffic I get fired. – Robert Brady
  • I try to insert myself in the site conversion optimization process wherever/whenever possible. – Emily Las
  • Depends on client. Some let us create the page on the CMS or listen to our input. Sadly, some have to fight internal politics. – Mark Kennedy
  • PPC can only do so much with a struggling site. Thats why we are internet marketers not just PPC Ninjas! – Sterling Green
  • I work directly with SEO, Creative, & Copy to ensure the best U/X for the PPC pages. – Michael McEuen
  • We do lead gen, so no shopping carts… but small company means it’s only a hop & skip over to dev team to test new CTA ideas. – Claire Remmetter
  • Lucky to be in-house when it comes to LPO. Makes it much easier to get stuff done. – Michelle Morgan
  • Not too involved w/ cart, but give TONS of suggestions based on drop off I can see in Analytics & if it hurts ppc. – Aaron Levy
  • Very involved, it’s my duty to dig for optimization opportunity which goes beyond the ad and the click. Way beyond. – Heather Cooan
  • Like I said last wk, PPC is real-time focus group — our data provides amazing insights for site conversion optimization. – Emily Las
  • In a small agency, very involved. We provide wireframes for custom landing pages, UX improvement with our in house designer. – Rod (@rodsblog)
  • PPC is the best channel for testing…Landing Page Tests should always be in place & results fed back to client. – Blair Kerrison
  • In my in house roles was heavily involved, in some cases "owned" site optimization. With agency now so depends on client. – Jeremy Mayes
  • Reading Tim Ash on LPO, and honestly, probably too involved in LPO for what the statistics justify. Gotta let ‘um run. – Mark Jensen (@Just_Markus)
  • Involved in CRO more & more these days essential part of PPC as far as I’m concerned. – Andrew Baker (@AndrewBaker72)

Q4: Have you been involved in website redesigns that factored in PPC data? How so?

  • Yes, mostly from a keyword / messaging standpoint. – Melissa Mackey
  • Yes, a lot of times people see the true importance of the website when they see the traffic and data from a PPC campaign. If they see traffic that doesn’t convert they want to improve and look more into calls to action, content, etc. – Mark Kennedy
  • No – Luke Alley
  • Yep. Looking at conversion rate of page layouts within a site vs landing pages. – Michelle Morgan
  • Working on a huge redesign now that is almost year in the making. PPC categorization is influencing site architecture a little. – James Svoboda
  • Yes, to the extent of new LPs, but never a complete redesign. – Matt Umbro
  • Involved org of site during design phase, ppc data based design is a bit lacking. – Heather Cooan
  • Yes. PPC KW data used for site structure, navigation and on-page copy in site redesign. LP testing can feed page layout/design. – Jessica Cameron Ruud
  • A lot of content rewrite from converting keywords found in Adwords search queries. – Eric Farmer
  • Sadly no because as Richard Fergie points out, dev/design priorities seem to rarely favor PPC. SEO gets more weight? – Emily Las
  • Yes. We just restructured our product categories based largely on ppc account structure and creating proper landing pages. – Dennis Petretti
  • Used to help with taxonomy choices. Should primary sub level be colour or size? That type of question. – Richard Fergie
  • Most site architecture changes are based on large keyword groups that have been generated via PPC. – James Svoboda
  • Yes, big part of my job is helping redesign our properties using PPC data. – Claire Remmetter
  • Using custom PPC segmentation to realign focus and address different funnel parts in design and content. – Chris Kostecki
  • Yes, I use PPC SQ data & landing page engagement from Analytics to assist organic optimisation. – Andrew Baker
  • We’ll definitely give advice from a CRO perspective for ecomm. For lead gen, we share LP and ad copy insights to aid design. – Aaron Levy
  • Yes, on micro site for lead gen picked main navigation links from top ppc queries. – James Hume (@zerospin)
  • Giving feedback into how the path to conversion can be shortened/be made easier is common, and useful to both PPC and SEO. – Brittany Baeslack (@BaeslaBr)

Q5: From a website perspective, what are some easy updates that can be made to improve conversion rate?

  • Put the contact form above the fold!!!! – John Lavin
  • Add a phone number on the page, a form, a special offer, talk about features benefits, etc. – Mark Kennedy
  • Make the form or goal process shorter! – James Hume
  • Page H1 tag, button & image placement can be huge. – Chris Kostecki
  • Clear CTAs, fewer font treatments, a contact form on every page. – Neil Sorenson
  • Tell the visitor what you want them to do next! Shocking how often this is lacking. – Melissa Mackey
  • Change the button color (and location – blog post coming soon). Simple tweak that can have a huge effect. – Aaron Levy
  • Hero shot, headline, call to action. – Andrew Baker
  • Switch standard phone number to call tracking solution. Conversion rates always jump way up. – James Svoboda
  • Usually they need to simplify; focus attention on CTAs. – Robert Brady
  • Make call to action buttons HUGE and make them stand out with bright colors. – Matt Umbro
  • Clearly communicate your unique value proposition. Why choose you vs. your competition. – Jessica Cameron Ruud
  • To increase conversion– highlight hero products/top sellers, push current offers…. TEST, TEST, TEST. – Emily Las
  • Improve the form: combine first and last name, less fields, bigger button, trust symbols nearby. – Luke Alley
  • Make sure the keyword appears on the landing page. – Dennis Petretti
  • Talking about mobile here: Get to the point! As much as you can before the fold (more pgs in the form, but few fields on 1st pg). – Claire Remmetter
  • Check out the conversion funnel in Analytics. long form? too many required fields? is the form easy to find on every page? etc. – Cassandra McClure (@imcassy)
  • Explain EXACTLY what you want the prospect to do to convert. – Andrew Baker
  • Put the deals further out front. Not buried in "specials" page. – Gina Vasselli
  • Point the user to what they need to do with an beautiful arrow! – Sterling Green
  • Don’t ask for marriage on the first date, and leave a little mystery. Make them want the second date. – Aaron Levy
  • From personal experience a BBB Accredited logo on a site greatly helps to improve conversion rate. – Matt Umbro
  • Small tweaks to Landing Page images have helped in the past. Takes a generic page & makes it specific. – Blair Kerrison
  • Prepopulate answers you want (opt outs not opt ins). – Claire Remmetter
  • Depending on where in the funnel the traffic comes from, offer micro conversions that lead them down the path (email, share, ugc). – Chris Kostecki
  • Remove all unessential links out of the conversion funnel. – Andrew Baker
  • If filling out a form is a requirement for conversion, make it as simple & short as possible while still getting necessary data. – Brittany Baeslack
  • Test placement, color, verbiage, etc. of your CTAs Then test it again! – Eric Farmer

Q6: Do you utilize any sort of landing page score system? How so?

  • No, but that’s a great idea – will have to start doing that! – Melissa Mackey
  • All tests, including LP are measured and reported, but not a LP audit. – Chris Kostecki
  • Website optimizer. – David Kyle (@DavidKyle)
  • Yes. We stole this from @IonInteractive and use it to score existing/competitor LP’s. 10-Point LP Checklist – HUGE help. – Aaron Levy
  • Not so much a "score system" but more an analysis of what the client got out of the LP test (more/less convs, clicks, etc). – Cassandra McClure
  • Yes, tools can help. I also track engagement, but not as a score. Might though. – James Svoboda
  • No, but we do utilize a LPO planning flow to track what we tested, why (hypothesis) and the results. Feeds ongoing testing. – Jessica Cameron Ruud
  • I just measure by results and metrics, but I think there may be some tools/software/resources that do that. – Mark Kennedy
  • Visual/functional score or Performance/analytics score? – Chris Kostecki
    • Both, but more so visual/functional, however data talks. – Matt Umbro
      • Yup, data speaks volumes, but not always accessible. – Chris Kostecki


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About the Streamcap Jedi

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; WebRanking SEM Manager in Minneapolis, Minnesota, #PPCChat Streamcap Grabber, Search Marketing Blog Author. Connect with me @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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