A debate we hear frequently centers on where to send your paid search traffic.

Some marketers send paid clicks to their home page and others send them to product pages while yet another group sends clicks to search specific landing pages.  I honestly was surprised to see a study recently from HubSpot that said that more than half of marketers just send those clicks to their homepage despite the fact that there’s dozens of studies out (and have been for years) that show that landing pages are up to 50 percent more effective at driving leads and conversions.

From our perspective, the more you can focus your user on the action you want them to take, the better.  You paid to get them here so dropping them off at your home page which is essentially like dropping a visitor off at the front door of your house and letting them choose their own navigation path, that just seems like a waste.

Even for branding campaigns, landing pages that have the exact branding message that you’re trying to convey, that’s likely gonna work better and be more effective.  For product conversions, our experience says that landing pages win every single time.  Taking a user to a product specific page on your site, that’s better than dropping them off at the home page but you still have to worry about all the holes in the conversion funnel.  Users can navigate to other products or chase all kinds of shiny objects on your site which is the very thing you don’t want paid visitors to do.

Search specific landing pages are a bit more work to create and maintain but they simply work better.  Champion/challenger testing is easier when it’s not a primary page on your site and it’s definitely not easy when it’s your homepage.

Reducing navigation and shiny objects lets you focus the user’s attention on the product or message you’re trying to convey.  We recommend every search marketer at least test that approach as we’ve seen it win in multiple categories.