The new Google AdWords Quality Algorithm kicked into gear today which will change the way advertisers bid and are ranked in sponsored Google AdWords results. The new AdWords ranking system relies heavily on Landing Page Quality, which is a sign that Google is getting more conversion and ROI focused in its serving of AdWords ads.
Sarah outlined the new AdWords algorithm earlier this week on the Inside AdWords blog:
In the next few days, we will be making two changes to how AdWords evaluates landing page quality. First, we’ll begin incorporating landing page quality into the Quality Score for your contextually-targeted ads, using the same evaluation process as we do for ads showing on Google.com and the search network. Advertisers who may be providing a poor experience on their site will notice that their traffic across the content network decreases as a result of this change. Second, we’re improving our algorithm for evaluating landing page quality and incorporating landing page content retrieved by the AdWords system.
As with our July system update, both of these changes will affect a very small portion of advertisers, so the vast majority of advertisers will not be affected at all by either change. However, those who may be providing a low quality user experience will see an increase in their minimum bids for Google.com and the search network and/or a decrease in traffic across the content network. In most cases, we expect that the higher minimum bids will cause the low quality ads and keywords to become “inactive for search.” Since July, we’ve received quite a few questions from advertisers about our landing page quality initiatives, and I’d like to address the most common ones today:
Why are you focusing on landing page quality?
The goal of our ongoing landing page quality initiative is to improve the experience of our users by providing high quality results not only in the ad text, but also once the user has clicked through to the site. We strongly believe that an excellent experience on the advertiser’s site is an essential element in earning the continued trust of our users. Clearly, the better the user experience, the more likely it is that users (who are also your potential customers) will continue to seek out — and click on — AdWords ads over the long term. This is to the advantage of everyone: users, advertisers, and Google alike.
What do you consider to be a high quality landing page?
While we suggest landing page and site guidelines, we don’t provide more specific recommendations because there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to best create landing pages. We therefore encourage you to focus on building landing pages that are best for your users, whether they come from AdWords or other sources. In doing this, it may be instructive to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and closely examine what it is that leads you to explore and do business with a site rather than simply click the “Back” button.
Will my landing page quality affect my ad’s position?
Not for Google search. While one’s landing page quality is directly correlated with the minimum bid required for one’s ads to run, it does not affect your ads position (or ‘rank’, as it is often referred to) at all. However, since there is no minimum bid requirement for contextually-targeted ads, low quality landing pages will result in the need to bid higher to compete in the auction, which could also impact your position on pages in the network.
Doesn’t seem like advertisers are too happy with the change, especially smack dab in the middle of the online holiday shopping season.
Search Engine Watch has a post which outlines advertiser response.
Sorry for the short post on such on important subject, but in the middle of a big International move.