Google's Quality Score Facelift

October 11, 2011

It’s well known just how important (and robust) Google’s Quality Score is. It’s made up of multiple factors, including click-through

rate, landing page quality, and numerous other relevancy factors, and in turn, it affects keywords’ CPCs, ad rank, and other indirect performance factors. While Click-through rate remains the strongest influencer of quality score, Google recently rolled out updates to its quality score calculation that will make the weight of landing page quality a stronger factor in quality score than it has been in the past.

This update definitely makes sense – the landing page a user arrives on after clicking an ad should be relevant to both the ad itself and the keyword that triggered it, and contain original, relevant content that is transparent and easily navigable. Therefore, it only makes sense that landing page quality should be a stronger indicator of quality score than it was in the past. Once the user clicks, it’s the landing page and overall user experience that needs to drive those conversions for your business.

Don’t Overlook Your Landing Pages

Keeping this update in mind, it’s time to revisit all of those landing pages you have set up in your AdWords account to make sure

they’re relevant, transparent, and navigable.

  • Make sure your ads, keywords, and landing pages contain the same content.  The message should be fluid, and the information being relayed in the ad should be relayed on the landing page, which of course, should be related to the keyword itself.
  • Make sure your visitors know what they’ll get when they click on a link, if they enter information, or if they choose to download something off of your site.
  • Visitors should be able to learn about your company and your site easily, without having to dig around too much.
  • Make sure to keep the path to conversion short and quick.  Minimize clicks so that visitors can get where they want to go quickly, before dropping off the page.

If you want to keep your costs down as much as possible while holding a strong ad position on the SERP, all of these landing pages factors (and more) are necessary. Simply getting your visitors to your site won’t necessarily do the trick – spend time finding the best page possible on your site. Also, don’t be afraid to test out the creation of new pages for the purpose of maintaining quality landing pages throughout your AdWords campaigns. The effort will be worth it in the end.

While Important, Don’t Expect a Radical Change from the Update

Google is currently rolling out these changes to quality score globally. Initially, they expect variations to take place across campaigns in regard to quality score and ad position, but expect things to stabilize shortly after the changes take effect. While it is extremely important you ensure your landing pages are the best they can be, this update does not mean you should disregard the other factors that go into Google’s quality score. Also, you shouldn’t expect to see catastrophic changes in your ad positioning and quality scores within your account. Landing page quality is one piece of the Quality Score puzzle, and all pieces remain important and essential to your account’s success.