After a test trial that started in August in Brazil, Latin America, Spain, and Portugal, Google has decided to roll out a new algorithm that weighs landing page quality more heavily when calculating an AdWords quality score. As a result, ads that Google determines have a higher-quality landing page associated with them will rank higher for lower cost per click bids.
The impact of this on PPC campaigns is noteable, as businesses need to take landing page quality into consideration much more so than they previously did. Landing page quality was considered by Google in the past, but more as a factor to reject ads or give them a lower quality score. An ad that directed users to a misleading or low quality landing page could be rejected or lowered in quality score, but a good, relevant landing page wouldn’t raise the quality score. With the new algorithm, Google is attempting to ensure that ads within their network link their keywords closely to the content found on the landing pages. Google plans to enforce this by crawling every landing page associated with an ad and using its algorithm to determine a positive quality score.
Google’s new algorithm also means that a business that invests more time in creating a quality landing page pertinent to the ad campaign will be able to reach a larger audience for a lower cost, something any business can appreciate. Google decided to implement this new algorithm as a response to ads they were seeing in their network that were of the same quality as top ranking ads, but had much higher quality landing pages. These ads were being “lost in the shuffle” as ads with lower quality landing pages and often not ranking as high as they should.
Google sees this as the next step in ensuring that advertisers are adhering to best practices when it comes to creating ads and to reward those that have been following best practices already. The changes are expected to begin rolling out in the next few weeks with Google warning that variations in ad position and quality score are likely, but that variations should return to normal within a few weeks.
To ensure that you are following Google’s guidelines for landing page best practices, make sure to read their AdWords support pages and follow their blog for updates.
Rob Sanders launched RSO Consulting in 2006 and has over 20+ years of experience working in digital marketing including pay per click, SEO and web analytics. He teaches PPC, SEO and web analytics classes for marketing and business professionals in the San Francisco-Bay Area and throughout the U.S. and is the author of the book “42 Rules for Applying Google Analytics”.