How to Handle PPC Landing Pages for SEO

Every competent SEO knows that “SEO is not an island.” We need to work with various stakeholders to align our marketing efforts.

But one of the most underused relationships in marketing teams is the relationship between SEO and PPC specialists.

Based on my experience working with agencies and within a company, working with PPC specialists can greatly benefit your SEO strategy and vice versa.

After all, it’s not uncommon for online businesses to use PPC and SEO strategies to grow. Both channels are essential for any online marketing strategy.

While PPC tactics are different from SEO methods, there are a few cases where both channels need to work together to improve overall business performance.

Look at PPC Landing Pages

One of the common ground between PPC and SEO is landing pages that are built specifically for PPC campaigns. Creating alternative PPC landing pages is a great way to optimize pages for conversions—and not necessarily for search.

Take a look at this example of a landing page used for PPC ads.

Monthly PPC review for pspdfkit.com/try.
Screenshot from SpyFu

The page has very little text and no outline (not surprising since it’s not an SEO page).

Screenshot from pspdfkit.com/try.
Screenshot from pspdfkit.com/try

And if you look at the organic keywords that this page is attracting in Semrush, you will see that it only ranks for two keywords, and one of them is brand.

The most popular Semrush keywords for pspdfkit.com/try.
Screenshot by Semrush

(The actual number of organic keywords may be higher, but they are expected to be branded and unbranded keywords will rank low if there are more.)

This is an example of a landing page not optimized for search, but used for pay per click purposes. PPC campaigns may require pages with more branding or creative headlines, less text, more graphics, and clear calls to action.

And because SEOs can be very sensitive to their titles, keywords, content length, and more, PPC pages offer the PPC manager a way out.

Can PPC pages interfere with SEO efforts?

Short answer: yes. Any page that is indexed in search must be optimized for search.

Creating PPC pages without considering the impact they can have on SEO can impact organic performance in two ways:

  • cannibalization. When a PPC page version of an existing SEO page exists, the PPC landing page can potentially compromise the performance of its SEO page counterpart.
  • Creating PPC landing pages means having pages on your website with few words and minimal content, which during a useful Google content update can actually affect the overall performance of the website, including pages that are well optimized and provide value to users. .

Why PPC Landing Pages?

A landing page can be used for both SEO and PPC purposes, so why should we create a PPC landing page?

From a marketing standpoint, PPC pages attract customers through advertisements. Thus, the content of the page must match the advertising message. This means that the most prominent text on a page may be the same as the messages used in PPC ads.

So, for example, if your ad says something like “We’re the best in the Canadian market,” your H1 could be exactly the same text. Some PPC managers even use the ad title as H1 and ad description as H2 to improve the CRO of their ads.

Another issue with PPC landing pages is that they are built to eliminate distractions. They focus on getting the user who clicked on the ad to convert. In SEO, content serves both users and the search algorithm that decides whether that page brings the most value to the user.

How to Handle PPC Pages for SEO

You can use any of the following tactics to deal with PPC landing pages on your website prior to creating them.

1. Mark your PPC landing pages as noindex.

This is the simplest solution and the noindex tag will not affect the performance of your PPC campaign.

2. Create your PPC landing pages on a subdomain

Create PPC landing pages on a subdomain:

  • Does not require cross-domain tracking.
  • Keeps your site organized.
  • Will not affect the organic performance of your main domain as Google treats subdomains as a separate domain.

This solution cannot be 100% reliable. Google’s Danny Sullivan responded to a question about whether a useful content update considers subdomains as part of the main domains, saying, “We tend to see subdomains separate from root domains, but that can also depend on many factors.”

3. Do both

Given all of this information, you may want to do both if you’re processing PPC pages before they’re created. In short, create PPC pages on a subdomain. as well as mark them as noindex.


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What if PPC landing pages already exist?

The decision can be a bit tricky if you’ve just started working on a website and find that PPC landing pages already exist.

First, you need to examine the performance data of these pages in Google Search Console and estimate the number of impressions and clicks these pages receive from search.

If PPC Landing Page No works well

If a page doesn’t perform well in search and there’s an alternative SEO page for it, you can simply tag it as noindex and move it to a subdomain.

You can try to canonicalize a PPC page instead of using the noindex tag on its SEO alternative page. However, this may not solve duplication or cannibalization issues, as Google may ignore the canonical tag and choose to index both pages.

However, since this solution requires the least amount of effort, you might want to test it first and try to implement the correct canonical symbols on a few PPC landing pages and see if Google honors your canonical symbols.

If the PPC landing page works well and there is no alternative SEO page

If a PPC page performs well in search or could potentially perform well in search when optimized (which can be indicated by seeing that the page is getting a lot of impressions in GSC) and there is no corresponding SEO page, you can copy the contents of the PPC page to a new SEO page with an optimized URL.

You can then redirect your existing PPC page to this newly created SEO page. Finally, you can recreate the PPC page at a different URL and tag it as noindex so that the PPC campaign doesn’t get interrupted.

Use this approach if you want to have two separate pages for PPC and SEO and want the URL to be optimized and the PPC page to have less content optimizations.

Note. If the PPC page URL is suitable and you are allowed to optimize the PPC page for SEO, then definitely use this much easier approach.

If the PPC landing page works well and there is an alternative SEO page

If a PPC page is performing well and attracting a few clicks from search, and there is an SEO alternative for it, you can simply redirect the PPC page to an SEO page, create a new PPC page with a different URL, and tag it as noindex.

Here is an infographic summarizing the SEO process for handling PPC landing pages.

How to Handle PPC Landing Pages for SEO - Diagram.

What to look for before making changes

There is a line between perfect SEO recommendations and what you can actually accomplish in real life.

It is not always possible to disable the indexing of every PPC page and move it to a subdomain. We need to consider the following:

  • Number of pages: Does the problem occur on 2-3 pages or hundreds of pages? If you’re only dealing with a few pages, you can easily implement the “don’t index, then go to subdomain” approach.
  • Server part: Does the client have the resources to create and move pages to the subdomain? If it doesn’t, you can skip this part and stick with noindex.
  • Impact/Force: Resources are required to create new pages and redirect existing PPC pages. Is it worth the effort? Does the expected result justify the impact of processing existing PPC pages compared to the minimum SEO settings for the PPC page?

Approach in practice

For one client, a small e-commerce business, I decided to make minimal SEO tweaks to their existing PPC pages and leave them alone. I optimized the title tag, didn’t change the H1, changed the H2 where applicable, and added keywords when needed.

I chose to use this approach because:

  • The client site was small. The effort won’t justify the impact of just a few PPC pages.
  • The existing PPC pages did not compromise or destroy any important pages on the website.

Before you rush to implement SEO recommendations for working with PPC pages, first assess the situation. Before making a decision, look at the data and the expected outcome/impact.


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily the search engine. Staff writers are listed here.


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about the author

Sarah Taher is a Canadian SEO Consultant with over 8 years of experience in the field. She is best known for her SEO tips and tricks, which she shares on her Linkedin account. You can subscribe to her newsletter and check out her blog here.

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