One of the primary components of a keyword’s quality score is its landing page. Second only to clickthrough rate, the landing page is an important factor in determining the quality score. However, landing pages are often overlooked by pay-per-click (PPC) advertisers. Advertisers tend to build their sites with several goals in mind, some of which may not always be in line with their PPC and quality score goals.
As with many aspects of search engine marketing (SEM), relevance is king. The destination URL you use in your ads should always be the most relevant page on your site that relates to your ad copy. If you own a take-out-and-delivery Indian restaurant with an ad group themed around your vegetarian menu, you don’t want to send people who click on those ads to a homepage featuring a picture of tandoori chicken. Instead, create an individualized landing page that highlights your vegetarian menu and the benefits of eating a vegetarian diet, as well as possibly adding some unique content about the history of the vegetarian diet in India. Not only will this improve a visitor’s experience on your page, it will solidify to the search engines how relevant that page really is to the search term and ad copy.
Navigation is another major component of landing page optimization, since you need to provide the shortest path possible to the product or offer represented in your ad copy. The best-case scenario here is that the landing page is also the order form or has an “add to cart” option for your product or service (placed above the fold). Avoid any interfering elements like pop-ups and pop-unders, which create frustration for the visitor, and which may lead to a higher bounce rate. Another factor of navigation optimization is landing page load time. In Google, a keyword’s load time grade is shown in the Keyword Analysis field. If your ads are not being served because of slow load times, it will be indicated here.
By making your landing page more relevant, navigation-friendly, and transparent, the visitor’s experience is improved. Combine this with a high clickthrough rate, and you will see a dramatic increase in keyword quality scores, which will result in higher ad placements across the board.