By Matt Mickiewicz

Landing Pages Now Influence AdWords Quality Scores

By Matt Mickiewicz

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.

  • Ben

    Google keeps referring to their guidelines as if they contain some sort of answer or solution, but they pretty much neglect the guidelines when it matters – serps.

    I expect they’ll fall back on the “You can trust us, our motto is don’t be evil” line so commonly touted whenever Google is mentioned.

    If I had to guess I would say they’re doing this because Analytics might make a few people reconsider AdWords – if they’ve concrete evidence that x in 100 people are a sale and the profit from x doesn’t cover the advertising & time it would be a sound decision to just pull the plug on AdWords.

    That + YPN and soon MSN’s advertising programs may make Google look less appealing, so naturally Google want to boost (or force) an increase in the chance of a sale.

  • I think anyone really trying to sell something will already meet these requirements anyways. It’s part of the holy marketing concept that you have to make consumers happy, and this is how they’re doing it.

    Honestly I don’t think that Google should have to tell you to do this, it should be implied.

  • Google hides behind the wall of secrecy to obscure and obfuscate their real policies and practices. In one experiment I did after Google changed their pricing model — I pasted 1,000 keywords into AdWords account A and 915 keywords were disabled instantly demanding additional pay-per-click. (I bid originally $.05 ad the same keywords were running happily before the price model change.) Into another AdWords Account (B), I pasted the exact same list of keywords, and surprisingly over 900 of them were ACCEPTED at the $.05 per click bid.

    What was the difference between the accounts? Accounts A and B had been running for nearly the same amount of years. Account A had relatively low monthly billing (less than $20 per mont), while Account B had a very large budget (over $5,000 per month).

    Nowhere in Google’s AdWords program do they EVER mention that they treat different customers differently — but this is obviously the case. I can give many other examples.

    Regarding Google’s new AdWords pricing model — they SAY that it will allow you to pay as little as $.01 per click — but what they don’t tell you is that it will be a cold day in hell before you’ll FIND any keywords that you can actually buy for that amount.

    Out of over 10,000 keywords I had running before the price model change, over 99% were rejected the day after — demanding up to $5.00 per click for keywords that ran happily the previous day for $.05 per click (with excellent CTR).

    Do no evil my ##.

    Marty R. Milette
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