How to use Keyword Research to Find New Landing Page Testing Ideas
Conversion rate optimization is all about finding the right elements on a page to test. Should you test a new value proposition, image, headline or redesign a page completely?
All of these things are worth looking into when considering what to try but finding the right elements to A/B test can be very difficult.
Today, I'm going to introduce a shortcut for coming up with winning test ideas. Instead of staring at your page over and over again to come up with one or two new ideas, you can use this shortcut to generate a plethora of ideas in a short amount of time.
Introducing Competitive Keyword Research
Competitive keyword research helps PPC advertisers find out which keywords their competitors are bidding on. This can be done using tools like iSpionage, TheSearchMonitor or Adgooroo. Not only do the tools make you feel like the James Bond of search advertising, but you can then use the competitive data to find profitable keywords you aren't bidding on and to identify new ad groups you should create.
It's possible your competitors will send you down a rabbit hole of unprofitable keywords if they don't know what they're doing, but it's even more possible that you'll uncover keyword opportunities you haven't thought of yet.
Think about it this way: When you do keyword research with the AdWords Keyword Planner, you're limited to the number of ad group ideas that you come up with on your own and that AdWords suggests. Oftentimes there are keywords you aren't bidding on that have high volume and low cost per click. You'll catch these types of terms by doing competitive keyword research and learning from what the top advertisers are doing in your industry.
Being able to start with a keyword list that's already working for someone else will shorten your time to profitability. But not only can you use it to find new keywords, you can also use it to spy on your competitors' landing pages in order to come up with testing ideas. Here's how.
How to Spy on Your Competitors' Landing Pages
To begin, you need to choose a competitor to spy on. We're going to use SalesForce for our example and enter their domain into iSpionage to get started.
Conducting a search like this provides a lot of useful information. You'll learn approximately how much SalesForce is spending per month on PPC ads, their top keywords, their top competitors and their top ads, all of which is very useful.
But, as we mentioned before, the most helpful information for CRO is which landing pages your competitors direct their traffic to, which is something we can find out by clicking on the destination URL for an ad.
After clicking, you're taken to the exact landing page SalesForce uses for each ad in its account. When we do that for the two ads listed above, we're taken to the following page for the Keyword: "partner portal."
We are taken to this page below for the keyword: "sales team tracking software."
So what can we learn from these pages?
Salesforce uses a very simple design that places the emphasis on the demo sign-up form.
They offer access to all of their demos through a single sign up.
The offer on the landing page matches the keyword being bid on. Instead of directing their ads to the same landing page, they direct visitors to a page with copy that matches what people are searching for. They also reuse the same template, which saves design and development resources in order to efficiently create landing pages that match the keywords without costing a ton of money or time.
They include stats to show how customers benefit from using their product.
Trust symbols are placed at the bottom of the page to make visitors feel more secure about giving their information.
A phone number is included at the bottom in case people want to pick up the phone and talk with a real human. Yes, some people still like to use the phone.
These are very useful bits of information and reveal that SalesForce employs a number of industry best practices with its landing pages. And as mentioned before, you can use this information to come up with testing ideas for your own site.
For example, maybe you aren't currently using landing pages. Your boss hasn't bought into the idea or approved the budget to design and create landing pages for your products or services. You can create a presentation with screenshots of your competitors' landing pages and explain, "We're getting killed -- they're using custom landing pages for different keyword groups. If we want to keep up, we need to do the same."
Those are some of the main things we can learn from ethically spying on competitors' landing pages without clicking on their ads and making them pay. Although who doesn't want to drive up your competitor's AdEords bill? Ha.
But -- wait, there's more.
When we do a keyword search for "CRM software," we see the following list of top ads.
SalesForce has the top ad listed, but there are four more competitors: QuickBase from Intuit, Syspro, Zoho and Oracle. Let's look at QuickBase's landing page to see what we learn.
Here are some things that stand out from the page:
They offer a 30-day free trial compared to SalesForce's offer to view demos.
They include a link to learn more about QuickBase in case the information on the page isn't sufficient.
They show off the fact that 50 Fortune 100 companies use the product.
They also include trust symbols and mention the other award-winning products they've created: Quickbooks, Quicken and TurboTax.
So what could you test from this page?
You could consider offering a 30-day free trial on a landing page in place of your current offer to see if conversions go up.
You could consider including a link to learn more to see if that leads to more conversions compared to only offering the information included on the landing page.
You could consider adding logos of your top customers to show off your clientele and gain more credibility.
Do you see how this works? You can go page by page to learn the best practices of advertisers in your industry or in industries with effective advertising practices.
The best part about it is that you learn from the tests that companies with big budgets have run. It's possible that SalesForce and Intuit have A/B tested their pages 100 times to get to the version they currently use. If you know an advertiser takes A/B testing seriously, you can piggy-back off of their tests, glean some lessons and ideas and then test those ideas to see if you can tighten your funnel and improve conversion rates.
In summary, you can use competitive keyword research to:
Find profitable keywords you're not currently bidding on
Improve ad copy by learning what the top advertisers have written
Come up with A/B testing ideas by studying your competitors' pages
So go ahead and do it. Conduct some keyword research, write down some notes, take some screenshots and show your boss how much you've learned about the competition and how you can use the insights to improve your company's conversion rates. Any comments or other examples of how to generate landing page testing ideas are welcome.