It’s been a while since Google announced its intention to start assessing landing page quality as part of its Quality Scoring algorithm. At first it wasn’t a big deal yet over time Google has improved how it performs its landing page quality assessment and it appears to pulling down unprepared advertisers’ quality scores.
Well – if you have been struggling with improving your quality scores (a major driver of your ad’s cost per click) then be afraid now of Google’s new landing page assessment – landing page load time quality. A post on AdWords Insider from early March 2008 stated, ” As part of our continuing efforts to improve the user experience, we will soon incorporate an additional factor into Quality Score: landing page load time. Load time is the amount of time it takes for a user to see the landing page after clicking an ad.”
You can check out the load time of your landing page by viewing your AdWords’ campaign, clicking into an Ad Group on to the Keyword tab and then hovering over the magnifying glass to check your keyword’s status. Once the window opens, then you want to click on the “Details and Recommendations” link next to the Quality Score heading. The link will take you to the keyword analysis page.
It’s interesting that Google has recently alerted advertisers within their campaign dashboards to sync destination URLs to their display URLs. Using redirects for tracking can certainly affect load times and forces advertisers to use Google’s internal conversion tracking tools including Google Analytics.
One thing I have noticed (but have not formally tested so it’s just a “feel”) is that not having proper meta tags on your landing pages that are relevant to your AdWords’ keywords even if your body copy and headlines are relevant, tend to bring down quality scores. Google references their webmaster guidelines as a way to help improve your landing page quality scores.
I recommend learning more about Google’s quality scoring of landing pages by visiting this Google FAQ. With Google representing over 60% of the search market, advertisers have to remain on top of these constant changes in order to compete not only against other companies within their industry but also against losing profits from derived from their limited PPC budgets. Good luck – it’s only getting harder.