How to Build an AdWords Compliant Landing Page
Today I’m talking about a SUPER juicy and fun topic: building a Google compliant landing page!
“Woohoo, so exciting. Finally!” I hear you thinking!
I know right? It’s actually NOT the juiciest of topics, is it? As a matter of fact, it’s pretty darn dry and even a little frustrating at times.
But, one of the first things you need to know when you start advertising on Youtube is how to build a landing page that Google is happy with.
What is a Landing Page?
First things first, what even IS a landing page?
A landing page is the page your visitor will be taken to when they click on your ad. Depending on your campaign you can also send traffic to a youtube video instead, or to your channel for example. But today I’m specifically talking about landing pages.
This can be a squeeze page (a page designed to capture email addresses) but it can also be a sales page where you offer your products directly.
In Veeroll this is the “destination URL” that you fill in when you’re building your campaign.
Now, why is this so important to get right?
Google wants their users to have a good experience when they visit your website.
In their own words: “Landing page experience refers to how good AdWords think someone’s experience will be when they get to your landing page … AdWords use a combination of automated systems and human evaluation to determine landing page experience on your site. Your ads may show less often (or not at all) if they point to websites that offer a poor user experience.”
So, getting your landing page in check is important for two reasons:
- Short term: Approval. Simply put, if they don’t approve your page, your ad won’t run.
- Long term: Your Quality Score. Your landing page experience affects your Quality Score, your Ad Rank and eventually your advertising costs.
The sooner you’re able to get it right, the sooner you’ll be able to get awesome results with your video ads.
First of all, you need to know that what makes Google happy is not what makes Facebook happy!
If you’re used to running Facebook Ads, you might experience Google’s requirements as somewhat of a pain in the you-know-where.
It hasn’t always been that way, but lately, they have indeed become more strict when it comes to deciding whether you’re landing page is any good.
But, let’s get one thing clear. This is NOT because:
- Google hates you.
- Google doesn’t want your money.
IF you are feeling any kind of frustration in this area… If you have had landing pages disapproved, or have heard rumors that make you hesitant to get started, let’s clear that up right now!
Breathe out frustration… …1…2…3… “Google hates me and doesn’t want my money”… breathe out….breathe out….breathe out…
Breathe in possibilities….1…2….3…4… “Google loves me and wants my money AND wants me to make money as well” … *
*Repeat until desired mental outcome is achieved!
Great, now we can get started.
Big Guns & Tall Trees.
The thing you have to understand is that Google is a BIG player, in both our online and offline world.
A.k.a., “the entire world”.
And the bigger corporations get, the more eyes they have on them.
In Dutch we have the expression “hoge bomen vangen veel wind” (“tall trees catch a lot of wind”) meaning that if you stand out from the crowd, you’re going to get a lot of criticism!
In other words, Google, being the tall tree that they are, is being watched by our governments (with Google glass I reckon).
And, if anything they “approve” doesn’t jibe with international rules and regulations, then they’re going to be called to the stand.
They have to do business the RIGHT way and… they CARE about doing business the right way.
So, simply put:
If you too want to offer your users a good experience, you’re not going to run into any problems.
It’s also good to know that, even though Google is leading the pack when it comes to strictness, Facebook is catching up fast.
So that means that, once you get yourself a decent landing page for AdWords, you’ll be perfectly prepared to keep running your Facebook ads as well.
Let’s Get Started.
Today I will focus on helping you create a good “landing page experience” so that you can start running some successful ads.
This doesn’t have to be hard at all! But, you do have to be aware of a few key points, which I’ll share with you right now.
To be complete, building an Adwords compliant page is not an exact science. Not all of the things listed below are absolutely essential. It does happen that websites that don’t have all these boxes checked get approved.
But, as a general guideline we recommend the following:
1. Make sure your website is built on your own domain.
For example “www.yourwebsite.com/awesome-offer” is ok, but www.someoneelseswebsite.com/your-affiliate-link is NOT ok.
So no, you can’t send your video ad straight to an affiliate link. But, there are alternative options for you, which you can check out at the end of this post!
2. Create a clear navigation menu.
Google likes it when you make it easy for people to find the info they’re looking for. One of the simplest ways of doing this is by creating a navigation menu on the top of the page that links to basic website pages where people can find more info.
3. Create basic website pages.
To be more specific, those pages should include a(n):
- Homepage. This is where your visitor first lands and where you should try to instantly capture their attention. Make sure your Call To Action is right above the fold and not to be missed.
- About Page. This is where you give your visitor some information about you/ your company and your products. If you can make it clear that it’s a real business run by actual human beings, you’re good to go! They want your visitor to get a sense of what your company is about and what your business model is.
- Contact Page. Add a basic contact page with a form where people can get in touch with you. Bonus points for including the physical address of your company and a phone number! (whether they will disapprove your page without the latter, we can’t always predict).
- Getting Started and/or Free “Something” Page. This one isn’t mandatory, but a good idea to draw some extra attention to your offer.
Make sure that on ALL of these pages you include your call to action. Give your peeps the chance to sign up, wherever they are on your site!
If you don’t have these links in your footer yet, then just (pun intended) Google it, and you’ll find tons of templates you can use and adjust.
They don’t have to draw a lot of attention, but they DO have to be there.
5. Create quality content.
In general, don’t be sketchy, dodgy, spammy, gimmicky or any other crappy word ending with -y.
Instead, make sure that the content on your website is:
- Cohesive. Make sure the copy and message you use in your video ad is cohesive with the copy you use on your landing page. Did you mention a free guitar lesson in your ad? Then also mention that free guitar lesson in the headline on your website.
- Transparent. What will happen when someone signs up or purchases your product? What will you do with their information? Set clear expectations to build trust, with Google as well as with your prospect.
- Realistic. Don’t use ridiculous claims you can’t backup. “Lose a gazillion pounds/make truckloads of money in 2 days” is a definite no- no. Yes indeed, Google can be a bit more strict on the “weight loss” and “making money online” type of industries. But, as long as you’re running your business with integrity and this shows in your content, you will be just fine.
- Decent. Try to refrain from swearing, nudity, hatred or other content that Google deems inappropriate. For a full list of their policies and what they think is (in)appropriate, see the link at the end of this post.
6. Add some social proof.
Do you have any testimonials from customers? Including these on your website (or having a general comment section) is a great way to show credibility and social proof.
7. Keep people on your website.
Refrain from having too many external links. Make sure that your visitor can find all the information they need on your own website. This creates a better user experience and focuses their attention on your call to action.
8. Check if you have a good Page Load Speed.
On the internet, every millisecond counts! Don’t make your prospect wait for too long… or they might be gone forever. Google cares about your speed and so does your (future) customer.
To check how your website is doing in this area you can use a tool like PageSpeed Insights and improve your loading time if necessary.
9. Turn off popups.
In Google’s eyes, pop-ups interfere with your normal navigation, so it’s a good idea to turn them off.
Now for some examples.
Sometimes a bunch of theory just doesn’t cut it! So to make sure you get to see some landing pages live in action make sure to:
- Check the video at the top of this post. In it, I walk you through the website Splasheo.com and why it’s a good and compliant landing page.
- To see even more examples, just go to Google or Youtube and click on one of the ads that you see! The page you end up on is, of course, a Google approved landing page. Look at the websites, and write down what you like and don’t like about it so they can serve as inspiration for your own page. (And yes this will cost that specific advertiser a click, but hey, you gotta learn somehow!)
A Done For You Template.
Are you just getting started or do you want to get things up and running quickly?
Then we recommend that you use this AdWords compliant template by Leadpages, which is free to download.
If you’re already a Leadpages customer, you can find it in your templates and install it on your own domain through the Leadpages WordPress plugin.
If you’re not a customer, you can still download the html files for free, but you’ll have to know how to code (or work with a developer) to install it on your website.
3 options for affiliate marketers.
Like I mentioned in the beginning, Google doesn’t like it when you send people straight to an affiliate link.
However, there are some easy workarounds you can use and test:
- You can list your affiliate products on your own landing page (on your domain). As always, be transparent about it by clearly indicating which links are affiliate links, or at least have a statement on your page that you are promoting the products listed as an affiliate.
- You can ask your visitor to sign up for your mailing list after which you can send them your affiliate offer.
- You can link your video ad to another one of your youtube videos, from which you can send them to an affiliate offer.
“Status: Disapproved”! Now what?
If you’ve gone through this process and still get the notification that your landing page got disapproved, well… then everything is just LOST! Sorry!
No just kidding, of course. It’s not at all.
Like I shared in the beginning, the approval process is not completely automated. And when humans are involved, results can differ.
But, if your landing page gets disapproved you will be able to see the reason why from within your AdWords account (in the Ads tab, the Status column) so you can fix it.
And, this is important to know, you can ALWAYS call Google’s support team to get more info!
Their support team is excellent and very much willing to help. So if your landing page or ad get’s disapproved and you just can’t figure it out, don’t hesitate to get on the phone with them.
Or, if you have any questions BEFORE you set up your campaign, the same applies.
Check the Resources at the end of this page to find a link to their contact page and phone number.
Your Secret Advantage.
Some people let this “AdWords compliance” stuff scare them and even let it stop them in their tracks.
But that’s not you of course!
So, if you just do the work and get this sorted you’re already ahead of your competition. Fewer people advertising means more audience for you!
And, once you get your template right, you can just tweak it, re-use it over and over again, split test it all day long with slightly different copy and so on.
I’m confident that you can get this right, so what are you waiting for?
Sign up for Veeroll now to get more in depth training on this topic! And a big thank you to Youtube Ad Expert Tom Breeze that shared a lot of excellent tips on AdWords compliance in our member’s area.
As promised, here are all the resources for you to check out:
- Article: Adwords policies
- Article: Landing page experience
- AdWords Worldwide Phone Support page
- Page Speed Insights
- A Done For You Template by Leadpages
- Splasheo.com, the example from the video
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!