It’s no secret that the ranking order for AdWords advertisers has been determined by a combination of both factors that combine into a total Quality Score.
However, Google has now announced that landing page quality will be another factor:
Today, we started incorporating a new factor into the Quality Score — the landing page — which will look at the content and layout of the pages linked from your ads.
Advertisers who are providing robust and relevant content will see little change. However, for those who are providing a less positive user experience, the Quality Score may decrease and in turn increase the minimum bid required for the keyword to run.
It seems, that at least some advertisers, are not so happy about the change because of the blurring of lines between content optimization & paid advertising, as well as the additional workload required.
The question it seems is, with hundreds of thousands of advertisers, and millions of unique landing URLs, who will determine the quality and how? Whether it’s hand checking when complaints are received, looking at PR scores for landing pages, or simply looking at URLs that AdSense publishers frequently filter, it’d be great if Google was open about their methodology for ranking paying ads.
For now, their only public advice from Google so far has been to read their website design tips and guidelines, and adhere to them.