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Google Landing Page Quality Rankings & Organic SEO

Google Landing Page Quality Rankings & Organic SEO

I saw this a couple days ago but didn’t give it much thought until an idea occurred to me. What if Google decides, after tweaking this landing page measurement algorithm, to begin applying it to regular SERPs? Well in this article I look at the pros and cons of such a move.

Ever since the “Information retrieval based on historical data” Google patent came out we’ve seen changes happening with the Google results.

In fact the entire index has experienced change. Google is now applying tons of different factors when determining if a page is index worthy.

So when I heard that Google was going to start applying some sort of algorithm to determine landing page quality I didn’t give it much thought until I considered the possibility that organic results would be next on the hitlist for page quality.

That meant I had to take a look at what Google will be considering when determining the quality of a page.

This page provides Google’s “official” site quality guidelines for AdWords. As you read it you will notice something interesting. They are essentially the same rules that Google claims to already be applying to the organic results.

So what does that mean to us organic optimizers?

Well I think there is still going to be some concerns, especially if this new layer of quality control is added to the organic results.

There is potential for this “quality control” to become the ultimate decision maker. In other words, you can have a great site with tons of quality links, but the page quality for a particular page is low when matched to the query it could be excluded from the results.

How do you ensure your site meets the quality guidelines?

As long as your site is user friendly you should be ok. That means following the 4 rules Google has posted on the AdWords site guidelines page listed above:

Provide relevant and substantial content
Be upfront about your services and offers and how they are provided
Treat a user’s personal information responsibly
Develop an easily navigable site

It seems pretty straightforward, so lets look at each one individually:

Provide relevant and substantial content

This simply means that the content on the page must be user friendly. It must be relevant to the query which means you much optimize your site accordingly.

Provide the content which will be most useful to your customers and then optimize it, trying to consider all the phrases one might use to find your product or service.

In addition make sure you have enough content to encourage the purchase decision. Don’t think that one or two pages will be enough. Be sure to offer more than enough information.

This is true of the search engines in general. A site won’t be considered an authority on its topic with only a couple pages of content. If you sell blue widgets be sure to devote a substantial portion of your site to talking about your blue widgets.

Be upfront about your services and offers and how they are provided

Again, a staple of good business is to be honest about what you offer. For example, don’t wait until the very end of the purchase decision to hit people with the shipping fee. Include it in the beginning so that they are aware of the total cost of purchasing from you.

Conversely if you offer specials or bulk discounts, be sure to mention that early as well. Things like “buy now and save 10% on shipping” help encourage the purchase.

If you don’t offer after-sales support you should also make that clear, but at the same time offer alternatives, such as local warranty depot’s.

Treat a user’s personal information responsibly

This one should be obvious but don’t try and sell your customers contact information to a bulk email service (for example). Many people are leery about giving out personal information over the web because of such things. To help ease their minds tell them exactly what you are and aren’t going to do with their information.

Also, be sure that you use a secure connection anywhere people are asked to give personal information such as address, phone number, credit card information and so on. Having that little lock icon in the browser is reassuring for many people.

Develop an easily navigable site

While this too may seem obvious, I can’t tell you how many sites I’ve worked on over the years that seem to do everything in their power to NOT allow people to convert.

Things like multi-page forms to fill out, non-secure purchasing, requiring a login to browse a catalog are all things I’ve encountered that are guaranteed barriers to extending the relationship with that potential customer.

My advice is to get some friends and family to critique your site. Get them to try and complete a sale. Give them specific tests such as “go buy a blue widget from my site” and note where they have problems.

After all, you’ve gone through the trouble of getting your site found in the engines. Why would you want to stop them with the only thing you really have control over – your own site?

In the end, I don’t think the Google AdWords landing page quality guidelines are anything to be concerned about organically.

That’s because you should already be following similar guidelines in order to get your site found in the search index.

And if you aren’t in the search engine index perhaps you should revisit these guidelines to see if there is anywhere that you could improve. Perhaps there is something on this list that you aren’t doing?

Rob Sullivan is a SEO Consultant and Writer for

Category SEO
SEJ STAFF Loren Baker Founder at Foundation Digital

Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing ...

Google Landing Page Quality Rankings & Organic SEO

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