Preview Organic Landing Page Conversion with PPC Tests.

Posted in Analytics, Organic Optimization, Paid Marketing

ppcOrganic landing page conversion measuring is a time tested after-deployment technique which, though highly effective, can take days, weeks, or months to fully tune.

As optimized pages gradually rise in the SERPs, conversion is measured and pages modified to achieve better conversion ratios. However we’d rather definitively test and tweak landing page concepts to focus conversion, prior to deploying them for organic indexing, using “fixed length short burst paid search.”

Let’s walk through the thinking. Multivariate landing page testing is an ROI measuring technique often associated with Pay Per Click because advertisers’ can precisely control destination URLs for ads triggered by keywords. Testing grids of landing page permutations is easy, with some structural forethought, using analytics programs like ClickTracks.

Test, Test, and Test Some More.
It’s simple to create multiple landing page variations, rotate duplicate ads pointing to landing page variants, measure conversion (traffic to sales), and nothing is left to guesswork. This modus operandi is exponentially more effective when a matrix of ad-message promise testing is injected into the mix.

Not So Fast with Organic
Organic conversion testing is an entirely different bailiwick for several reasons. Metrics are subject to actually achieving organic traffic, which is not an instant event after pages are deployed. Duplicate content issues arise because landing page versions likely have similar content elements. This requires an intentional robots.txt strategy to avoid duplicate content –which fully defeats the purpose. Also, no matter how terrific search engine optimization is for organic landing pages, there’s no reliable method to absolutely associate search engine keyword searches with specific URLs.

Pilot Organic Landing Page Concepts with PPC.
One solution to this conundrum is to employ fixed length short burst paid search testing to prove conversion ROI of landing page concepts. The PPC expense is minimal given the long term value of deploying pages for organic indexing which we know, with certainty, accomplish the KPI. Here are the steps:

1 Create several optimized versions of each proposed landing page.
2 Create an AdWords Ad Group with several duplicates of the same ad.
3 Purchase keywords you aim to achieve organic prominence for.
4 Avoid the PPC money pit. Use Phrase Match or Exact Match!
5 Exclude the test landing pages from indexing using robots.txt.
6 Measure conversions for each landing page permutation.
7 Tweak landing pages as needed to maximize conversion.
8 Note the version that converts the best.
9 Removed the others from the site
10 Deploy the most effective page for organic indexing.
11 Remove the robots.txt exclusions.
12 Track organic conversion for the page over time.
13 Repeat the process for other pages or run tests simultaneously.

Unexpected Benefits
As a side note I’d like to share that, from time to time, clients who never intended to use PPC discover surprise pockets of PPC profitability. To those ends we employ fixed length short burst paid search tests on many accounts to rule in or out the viability of paid search. Focusing organic landing page concepts using PPC serves the dual purpose of proving potential revenue opportunities for our client’s products and services early in the site development process in a sane and measured fashion

  • Alasdair Bailey

    Hi Marty,
    Love the blog – just a small nugget of feedback. Solutions such as Maxymiser (UK based) can actually optimise multivariate tests in real time. You can multivariate test a PPC landing page and rather than reviewing the results in 7 days and tweaking it for the next campaign, it will then show the best performing content to a greater proportion of future visitors. There’s less click wastage and there’s more revenue for the client.

  • seo blog

    nice post. but what is “fixed length short burst paid search”?

  • Marty Weintraub

    Alasdair, “Fixed length short burst paid search” (which is a phrase we made up :) ) means employing short but extensive PPC tests for a predetermined brief length of time for testing.

    The long-term cost of the campaign is not the main consideration because we know we probably won’t run it for long. Rather we go for as comprehensive a coverage blanket as possible across associated keywords. The goal is to get enough of a sampling to mimic traffic we hope to generate by future organic prominence.

  • Marketing Preston

    Great Article Marty,

    Some really interesting points made; I think it’s definately worth adding that conversions will differ between organic and PPC leads. This is mainly due to the type of user that will clickthrough a PPC link. So it will be hard to get a truly accurate landing page judgement, although I suppose any indication will certainly help.

    This is the second time that I have been drawn to your blog… keep up the good work…

    Nick