How to Match AdWords Ad Copy to Landing Pages for More Conversions

Written by Heather Mueller on August 27, 2015

Posted in Form Optimization, Lead Generation

Looking for a fast way to attract a lot of high-quality leads to your website? AdWords may be your best bet.

Until you’re writing for a high-authority website, search engine optimization (SEO) is a long-distance race of endurance. Results happen gradually, and it can take many months to start seeing a return on your investment.

Not so with pay-per-click (PPC) ads. With AdWords, you can sprint to page one of Google results. While you might not get as many clicks as the organic results, you can capture far more conversions…if you do it right.

For an ad to perform well and cost you as little per click as possible, the quality of your content is key. Success depends largely on how accurately the content on your landing page reflects the words and meaning of your ads.

This means you must forget the homepage. And your products and services pages, for that matter.

It’s amazing how many companies still direct paid search traffic to generalized web pages instead of creating the perfect landing page. Even many marketers still don’t realize just how valuable a strong landing page—one that’s campaign-specific and closely tied to the ad itself—can be.

As Unbounce puts it:

“…only about 20% of traffic is being sent to promotion specific landing pages, which is crazy. Most marketers know that landing pages improve conversion rates, but did you know that they can have a big impact on Google’s decision of your quality score (QS)—translating into a reduced cost-per-click (CPC)?”

Quality Score is determined in part by how closely the keywords and messages in your ad copy reflect the content on your landing page. It’s also much more cost effective to test content changes on a landing page than it is to overhaul your primary web pages.


How can you better match your ad copy to your landing page for more form conversions? Let’s look at a few essential strategies and tools you can use to make this process easier.

Choose High-Intent Keywords

First things first: Your landing page and ads should both be based around keywords with high commercial intent. Who cares if you get tons of traffic for “cheap pet food” if the people who are ready to buy are searching for “dog treats free shipping”?

High-intent keywords are the ones used by searchers who are ready to pay, download, subscribe, or take another action that immediately converts them into qualified leads or customers.

You can begin refining your keyword list fairly easily within Google’s Keyword Planner by:

1. Adding as many negative keywords as you can. A good negative list typically includes phrases like “what is” and words like “job” that are used by tire kickers and information seekers. This step helps reduce the risk of spending money on clicks that aren’t likely to convert.


2. Taking the suggested bid into consideration. Suggested bids provide insight into the value and potential a keyword holds. For example, the suggested bid for “best all natural dog foods” is nearly five times that of “dog food” since those searchers are further along in the buying cycle. This signals a true intent to convert.


Once you’ve identified your high-value keywords, the next step is to turn them into money-making headlines—both for your ad and your landing page.

Use Personas to Write Copy

When you bid on a high-value and high-cost keyword, conversions are crucial. If you want to see a real return on your investment, your landing page has to transform your keywords into a compelling story that persuades visitors to fill out your form.

In other words:

Your ad copy should match your landing page copy, and your landing page copy should match the needs of your target audience.

One of the best ways to get this part right is with clearly defined customer personas. A tool like Personapp or HubSpot’s Make My Persona wizard makes it easy. Or you can use the template in our Beginner’s Guide to CRO to answer key questions (such as “What are my target audience’s biggest challenges?” and “What objections do they have?”) so your ads and landing pages “talk” directly to the needs and wants of the one person who really matters—your ideal customer.


Test for Conversions

AdWords headlines and descriptions are short. Really short.

If your AdWords copy is going to be based on your landing page content, why not test out a few headlines for free before you start paying for clicks?

For example, if you have a WordPress website, you can use a free split testing plugin to compare clickthrough rates for two different headlines:


Or you could use a paid A/B testing page tool to test the headlines on your landing page and its forms. Which headlines lead to more clicks? Which calls to action lead to more conversions?

You’ll launch a strong ad campaign right out of the gate and can continue to refine it with Google’s built-in split testing and conversion tracking tools.

Ready to get started with AdWords?

You’ll find more easy-to-implement strategies in Formstack’s latest e-book, The Stressed Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation with AdWords. Click below and download it for free to get step-by-step techniques you can use to create a conversion-capturing machine.