Have A Plan When Determining Your Google’s Ad Destination

When creating ads to use advertising in the Google AdWords system, advertisers have a number of fields they must complete in order for their ads to be eligible to display.  These fields include the title/headline (limited to 25 characters), description line 1 (limited to 35 characters), description line 2 (limited to 35 characters) and the display URL (also limited to 35 characters).  In addition, advertisers must enter the URL on their website that they wish users be taken when their ad is clicked.  This URL is called the destination URL and properly selecting the destination URL is vital in the success of an advertising campaign and here are the reasons why.

Relevant to all Google advertisers including both Professional Services as well as eCommerce, it is important to direct users to a page within a website related to the ad shown and to the keyword that generated the ad being shown. By doing this an advertiser can ensure the user a good customer experience.  Why is this important?

Two reasons:

1. With Google Ads, advertisers are paying for the customer to be directed to their website. The last thing that advertisers wants to do is to pay for a visitor to come to their website, not find what they were looking for or are expecting and immediately hit the back button (called a bounce). A high bounce rate (the number of customers that navigate away from the website after viewing one page divided by the total amount of customers) costs advertisers money and results in no additional income for the advertiser.

2. If Google determines that an advertiser’s ads are generating a larger than normal bounce rate compared to other’s advertising on the same keyword, Google will lower the quality score on the keywords that are generating the high bounce rate. A lower quality score can result in higher CPC (cost per click) charges for an ad to be served and may even affect whether your ads are eligible to be shown at all! (See my post Why Advertisers Need To Know Their Quality Score for more information).

Review-and-Ratings-SystemSo what can advertisers do to make sure their landing pages are relevant to their ads?

1. Keyword Targeting – Make sure the keywords in your Google campaign that are triggering an ad are also contained on the page that users are being directed to when clicking on the ad.

2. Proper Ad Targeting – Make sure the ad is accurately setting expectations as to what a user can expect at the website once they click on an advertiser’s ad.

3. Use Home Page For A Destination URL Judiciously – The home page should be used as a destination URL sparingly. Only keyword terms for a website’s brand name and the most generic terms should be directed to the home page.  All other ads should link to webpages within a website further down the sales channel that are geared toward the user’s search as described above.  Remember, the end goal is having the user take some sort of action once they reach the website.  This could be a sale for an eCommerce advertiser or completing a contact form for a Professional Services advertiser looking for lead generation. 

In today’s world of information now, users simply will not search your website to find the information they are looking for once they arrive at a website.  Users expect and demand that the page they land on is suited to what they are looking for and expecting.  The negative result of not giving customers what they want is a quick exit from your website and the user moving on to one of your competitors.

Let’s now look at some examples to cement the point:

Suppose you are a dentist offering cosmetic treatments such as teeth whitening and you bid on the term “teeth whitening”.  You very well may have an ad that looks like one of the top 3 advertisers in the image below. All 3 advertisers in this example do a great job of including the keyword or some variation of “teeth whitening” in their ad; however, when the ads are clicked only 1 of the 3 advertisers directs the user to a page on their website specifically geared for teeth whitening.  So which advertiser do you think is going to have the most success with their ad in terms of conversion?

If you said the advertiser that is taking the user directly to a dedicated teeth whitening page, you are likely correct.  For every page a user needs to navigate within a website there is an increased chance the user will exit the website before ever even seeing the information they were originally searching on Google.

Google Search As Seen For "Teeth Whitening"
Google Search As Seen For “Teeth Whitening”

Another interesting example of my point is for the search term “drop safes”.  The majority of advertisers for this term have the keyword “drop safe” in their ad, which again is great.  The interesting fact here is the smaller advertisers take the user to a page specifically designed for drop safes, while the two larger retailers: Amazon and Lowe’s direct the user to a generic page for all safes.  (An interesting find and an example where smaller retailers can indeed gain a competitive advantage over the bigger box stores, but that is a subject for a different day).

Google Search As Seen For "Drop Safe"
Google Search As Seen For “Drop Safe”


If an advertiser is going to spend the money to drive traffic to their website using Google PPC ads, they need to ensure they are taking the time to create pages geared toward the search terms they are advertising.  This is a vital, yet sometimes overlooked step in creating a successful Google advertising campaign.

A great ad is a great start and a great website with clearly defined goals (either sales for eCommerce or lead generation for Professional Services) that engages their customers is even a better start, but don’t forget to have a plan when determining which page to send the visitors you receive through a Google PPC campaign.

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off? I am currently offering free marketing strategy sessions to those interested. Contact True Online Presence at 1-888-456-6943 to schedule.

Happy Marketing!


Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.