Adwords "Landing Page Quality" & Search Ads

Google has announced that "landing page load time" will "soon" become a factor in "landing page quality scoring."

Okay, so what does that mean to you? Well, if you listen to the blogs & forums since the announcement, it means, of course, the end of civilization as we know it. You’ll need to buy a dedicated server, stream every bit via Akamai, blah, blah… Hold on. Stop panicking. Use your inside voice. Think for a minute…

First of all, if you don’t advertise on the content network (Adsense), this shouldn’t be a big deal, unless it actually creates a minimum bid issue for you. Why do I say this? Well, because Google says so – "landing page quality" is not a factor in ranking search ads.

Is it possible that Google could change their policy, and let landing page load time influence search ad rankings? Sure they could, but to date, they haven’t said so.

Otherwise sane people are insisting that they’ve already been slapped over landing page load times. I’m sure some folks have noticed higher minimum bids this week, but that happens every week. I’m not buying cause & effect with this announcement, because that idea makes no sense. Some of them are even prescribing fixes based on nothing more than complete speculation. Fixes that, if done wrong, could leave your site offline until a professional fixes your mistakes… Relax, people!

According to Google’s announcement, this hasn’t even rolled out yet. When it does happen, we’ll get another announcement and we’ll be able to see the load time score in our Keyword Analysis Page. We will then have an entire month to make adjustments, if it’s even necessary. Until then, take a chill pill, and just wait to see if this means anything to you. My bet is that very few advertisers will be affected.

7 thoughts on “Adwords "Landing Page Quality" & Search Ads

  1. It will affect your rankings in an indirect way, at least, because a lower quality score means a higher minimum bid and thus worse position for the same price. If it’s enough of a factor to move you from “great” to “poor”, I’ve seen that change the minimum from $.04 to $.50 – pretty significant.

  2. Andy, agreed… but shouldn’t we be doing it for the right reasons?

    @Matt, if this creates a new minimum bid that’s close to your actual bid price, yes, it could matter, as I said.

    We don’t know what is going to happen WRT minimum bids, whether it will be that extreme is an open question.

    I see “expert” after “expert” on “authoritative” sites, talking about how this is going to affect “quality score” as it relates to search ad rankings.

    They say this, without mentioning the way the Adwords system actually works. Did they “forget” that landing page quality isn’t part of the search ad equation? Do they have some secret inside information that this is going to change? Or is it more likely that they don’t know what the policy is today?

  3. Well I don’t know what to say guys, obviously this is an important issue that deserves serious thought but, since I’m sure that when Google throws that switch the earth will end in a brilliant supernova like flash, I guess I will just stick my head in the sand and wait for someone to kick me in the you know what before I look at my load times.

  4. Priceless, Jim!!!

    After all, having good landing page performance was never important before this, was it? I mean, we’re not trying to convert visitors into buyers or anything like that. :D

  5. This did kind of strike me as unusual. I can understand if you’ve got a flash(I HATE FLASH) intro that takes forever to load and your server is not up to delivering fine.
    Should it cost more for a click, I don’t think, but it doesn’t matter.
    I think connectability and reliability would be more relevant, if Googlebot finds your site down or slow on numerous occasions a look at quality score would be in line in my opinion.
    I keep a free Net Zero account on hand to check on sites and even the smallest of pages are torture at 26kbps. Going to sites like Ebay and Buy.com are hell compared to most sites.
    Are they going to give Ebay a lower score and hike their cpc?
    Maybe, My only thoughts are Adwords used to be so simple, now you need a PHD in Googlie Adwords to not max your Credit Cards out for a few clicks.
    The landing page score started out a good idea and went totally out of line shortly after.
    Some of us just run honest businesses and are not concerned about branding or anything else but sending a nice customer that wants what you have and is willing to pay for it to our sites.
    FWIW DAN

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