Adwords Announces Landing Pages Quality Standards

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According to the Adwords Blog Google is now evaluating the quality of your landing page

In August, we introduced the Quality Score along with the launch of quality-based minimum bids, letting you know that we evaluate many factors, such as your ad text and clickthrough rate (CTR) to determine the minimum bid for your keyword. Today, we started incorporating a new factor into the Quality Score -- the landing page -- which will look at the content and layout of the pages linked from your ads.

and

Advertisers who are providing robust and relevant content will see little change. However, for those who are providing a less positive user experience, the Quality Score may decrease and in turn increase the minimum bid required for the keyword to run. To help define site quality, we've created a general set of website design tips and guidelines that should help you evaluate and optimize your site.

You can see landing page guidelines here. Now with all this talk about how important your qualiy score is, it might actually be nice if you Google told you what it was instead of hiding it behind the curtian like it was the Wizard of OZ.

Comments

Huh?

layout? LAYOUT? They're going to judge the layout of my page?

Google's adwords requirements are getting out of control and opaque; to the point where they're going to start to piss people off. They're already at the point where a newcomer is going to look at what they're offering and think WTF? Quality? Landing pages? I'm paying the freakin' money, show the godarned ad already.

FWIW, I'm not a big player, but easily control a monthly Google spend as large as some folks annual income (and their recent changes has dropped our monthly spend probably by 25K). And yet none of my clients advertise on Overture - because I recommend it. And I recommend against it after trying for 6-8 months to get a decent campaign going. So Yahoo's losing all that money every months....and I'm not alone on that. Google's dancing perilously close to ending up in the same situation. The *only* thing that's missing is a viable alternative. And in a free market as free as the web, that won't last long (heeeeeere Billy gates.....c'mere Billy!)

Sorry, I think I rambled/ranted again.

OK, now I'm steamed

I just read their crap they put up for quality guidelines. It seems Google's got 14 year old's working for them. And not very bright 14 year old's either.

Quote:
The key to turning your visitors into customers (and making your ads earn their worth) is making it easy for users to find what their looking for. Since it's not always enough just to pique their interest, you need to guide users through the transaction. Here's how:

* Provide an easy path for users to purchase or receive the product or offer in your ad.
* Avoid excessive use of pop-ups, pop-unders, and other obtrusive elements throughout your site.
* Avoid altering users' browser behavior or settings (such as back button functionality, browser window size) without first getting their permission.
* Turn to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines for detailed recommendations (which will help your site perform better in Google’s search results as well).
* If your site automatically installs software, consider adopting Google’s Software Principles.

Unbelievable. That's how they judge quality? Oh yeah, plus you should have a privacy statement.

How about if I provide price comparisons in my niche from 140 companies, when the next nearest competitor has only 100? And the 40 company difference consists solely of companies the competitor just doesn't sell (and thus doesn't quote). Is that maybe useful or a signal of quality to the consumer? Sure it is - and I get consumers commenting on it. But that's not part of their guidelines.

PR stunt

Since the exact quality score is unknown I personally think that is nothing more than a public relations move, with them trying to shift the blame for allowing scammy advertisers and placing ads on shifty websites.

The real quality score for some of the stuff they mentioned is that if stuff does drive by downloads it is not allowed in their programs, but this is a way to show they care, even when they don't. Nothing but a deflection move.

They do like to control

They do like to control things don't they?

Bye Bye Arbitrage

I'm thinking they're targeting AdWords / AdSense arbitrage personally.

BTW, where the hell are the standards for AdSense websites?

I feel a rant coming on....

So have they developed some

So have they developed some automated solution to check the landing pages for changes? I have't seen anything in my logs yet to indicate that they are, but I'm only running a handful of ads.

Is this primarily aimed at

Is this primarily aimed at the spamsense sites or are they trying to use it as a ploy to get more $$ out of everybody? It's certainly a good way to "boost earnings" for yet another few quarters...

I'm still waiting for the results of Greg's click fraud test.

I have to pay more than

I have to pay more than everyone else just because mine isn't Google's shite of the month? Bollocks.

I have to pay more than

I have to pay more than everyone else just because mine isn't Google's shite of the month

Exactly. Google regularly rolls in many changes out of nowhere and doesn't even mention some of them.

They would have been better off rolling in some legit quality standards on publishing partners before mentioning they were rolling out this sort of garbage pr.

..

the nasty taste isn't really in that they're going to make some subjective judgements about the *quality* of my sites (although god knows I don't trust their definition of quality sites after the comments that came out of the autolink fiasco) but with what they're going to do if they find sites they claim are lower quality.

Will Adwords then decline their advertising $$$? Will they not accept the ads until they're providing a quality experience for the user? Nope, they're just going to demand more money for showing the ad.

How does that help the user? It doesn't mean they'll be protected by not seeing the ad while the chastened advertiser goes off and creates a better user experience - its cheaper to pay a higher CPC than to get your site redesigned to Googles (non public) design standards for most people.

And they call it a level-playing field

Is this programming gone mad? What about if you're a Big Corporate with plenty of money to throw at your website designs? You should get a step up on everyone else?

Or perhaps more likely they're just trying to weed out Adsense spam sites?

Their logic for this change has left everyone on this site a little askew of left-field, me included.

well thats the truth of it

of course they're not going to invoke this all over the place against standard advertisers, but it gives them the absolute right to mess with any site they like if they feel the need...

I don't know, if they were

I don't know, if they were paying me I might be a little more receptive to hearing their opinions on my pages, when I'm paying them then I'll thank them to mind their own business (Beta), and not mine.

I am thinking some more real competition and choices in this PPC racket will be a really good thing for advertisers.

Dumbfounding

Google has over reached before, but now it's telling folks how to run their businesses? Why can't the folks at the Plex see the not so fine lines they're stomping over.

What next? Let's see. How 'bout the New York Times instituting new ad rules: Make sure your sidewalk is swept and the windows washed; make sure the advertised product is prominently displayed in the store window; make sure you greet the customer with a resounding, "Good morning, Madam." If not, you'll pay a premium to advertise.

Bah, humbug!

Specially written for all you whiners

Waaaaaah, Google's examining my landing page for relevancy, waaaah.

Grow up and be a man!

Google has 65% of the global search market because it continues to out-monetize anything else out there; and it got the that point primarily by factoring in CTR. Lest we forget, Google is the shizzle because it provides all of us huge volume of high-quality traffic.

Now that Google has correctly understood that ad copy is easily manipulated and therefore a poor proxy for a good user experience, Google is examing the landing page itself. This makes perfect sense for Google, perfect sense for the searcher, and perfect sense for the progression of the search marketing industry towards better ad targeting, better websites and higher conversion rates.

IMO, this is a first step towards Google becoming a revenue share-based search engine, and those who are whining about this should focus on giving feedback to Google that will ensure *proper implementation* of a change whose result will be to push advertisers to increase conversion rates and focus on the user experience.

Good design

does not categorically = good conversion. If they really gave a f&@# they could create a pretty damn in-depth conversion and user-experience manual.

This makes perfect sense for

This makes perfect sense for Google, perfect sense for the searcher, and perfect sense for the progression of the search marketing industry towards better ad targeting, better websites and higher conversion rates.

i agree, although i think what's really disturbing/irritating is how veiled their algorithms are, as suggested by graywolf in the original post:

Now with all this talk about how important your qualiy score is, it might actually be nice if you Google told you what it was instead of hiding it behind the curtian like it was the Wizard of OZ.

it would be nice if they were more open about things, or at least if they offered a compelling and upfront explanation about why everything is so masked. it's the same thing with the smart pricing stuff -- that type of secrecy doesnt really leave people feeling too comfortable, and for a business like google that is so dependent upon establishing trust with advertisers, i wonder if this is really the best approach to doing things.

Somehow I suspect that

Somehow I suspect that Google will be making more money for themselves after "reviewing" customers landing pages and assigning a price. ;)

Analyze the Impact Before Jumping to Conclusions

Quote:
This makes perfect sense for Google, perfect sense for the searcher, and perfect sense for the progression of the search marketing industry towards better ad targeting, better websites and higher conversion rates.

Well said.

If your campaign(s) are set up properly from the start I highly doubt this will have a negative impact on your accounts overall performance. Granted it's early, but my account is running at a 5% lower CPC (average) today when compared to yesterday, and 7% less when compared to last Friday.

Keep in mind

Keep in mind that TW'ers are pretty far above average in the things we know about how to make a website work.

In the last few weeks I've had occasion to visit hundreds of sites in a certain niche and there are a dumfounding number of businesses out there that NEED kindergarten advice of the sort Google is handing out here.

Nuevojefe, your comment that good design does not necessarily equal good conversion begs the question, good design according to what standard?

or at least if they offered

or at least if they offered a compelling and upfront explanation about why everything is so masked.

because I'm the mommy ... er Google and I say so, that's why.

I still find it disturbing that this magical "quality score" which plays such a large role in your account and pricing, but they won't share it with you. The second question is do you have one quality score per ad or is like adsense where it's all lumped together, and one bad ad can spoil the whole bunch.

The second question is do

Quote:
The second question is do you have one quality score per ad or is like adsense where it's all lumped together, and one bad ad can spoil the whole bunch.

Thw quality score is assigned at the keyword level.

Nothing New

There have been quality guidelines for Goto/Overture/Yahoo Search Marketing/Whatever it will be called next week for many years.

However the big difference I see here is Google's level of world class ambiguity in their so called guidelines.

Yeah, I don't get this either..

Yahoo/ Overture actually encourages good landing pages. If the content isn't there, it is out.

Google just charges more for bad landing pages.

How does that help anything other than Google's bottom line?

Just a way to charge more...

...while letting the crappy pages remain. Briliant from a business perspective. Financial animals.

Best Move EVER for Affiliate Marketing & Search Arbitrage!

In my humble opinion, this move presents the best opportunity ever for SMART affiliates to achieve lower click prices and continue to arbitrage Google (Not AdSense/Paid Search Arbitrage, REAL Click to Merchant arbitrage). Most merchants are directing untargeted traffic to their homepages and only care about crap like "branding". They will get burned with this new change and if they're they're not converting the traffic, it will hit them.

I agree with Chris, this is the first step toward a rev share model.

GOOGLE BANS PIZZA MAKING GRANDMOTHER FROM GOOGLE SEARCH NETWORK

Last week Google sadly banned a pizza making grandmother from advertising on the Google content network by raising her minimum bids to between $5.00 and $10.00 per click.

This is incredibly sad, as tons of cutomers were extremely happy with this product and sent glowing testimonials regularly.In fact this product sells multiple copies every day. Sadly it can no longer be found on the Google search network...

The only response Google will give the author of the pizza course is "your page is low quality." Obviously visitors to the site disagree, and anybody looking at PizzeriaSecrets.com with their own two eyes would also surely disagree.

This is a very sad day for Google when they're prohibiting honest advertisers from selling quality products on Google... Obviously the "Google Quality Checker" needs a serious overhaul...

Brad

to be fair...

  • you left that whiny message on other sites, too.
  • most single page salesletter sites are garbage.
  • most sites like those are not made by poor grandmothers
  • if that grandmother has to rely on you spamming sites like this one with that whiny message then she should reevaluate/shift/evolve her marketing techniques.

one-page-site webmasters

One-page-site webmasters can't accept any critique of quality beyond the formula for a one page marketing site. If it's spot on (formula-wise) it is by definition (their definition) high quality. It also probably converts.

The good question here is whose definition counts? The users, or Google? And if Google dictates web page design or content, and then ranks the qualified candidates, can it still claim to be objective? One day this will spill into the organic SERPs enough to make the courts decide.

A page with a 3 to 5%

A page with a 3 to 5% conversion rate still means at least 95% of visitors did not get what they wanted in their user experience.

I think it is quite obvious that Google is not fond of the hard close single page site. They are all about trying to make as much information from external sources available free.

Many who have sites which say "buy now of F off" are going to get be told to "F off" by Google many many many times.

And as far as the Pizza Secrets goes, it seems there are some other secrets associated with that business model sauce which makes the comment about it seem like a quite questionable comment at best.

cut off at 25%

In many cases less han 25% gets redone or abandoned. Googland likes 3-5%.

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