How to Determine if Your Landing Page is Hurting Your AdWords Qualty Score
August 6, 2008
Almost every aspect of your Google AdWords account has an effect on your Quality Score and this week we are dissecting the minute details of the Quality Score. In order to optimize your campaign as much as possible, every element has to be firing on all cylinders. You can’t let any one piece slow you down. One aspect of the Quality Score that may not get much attention but it’s extremely important is your landing page load time and site quality. Yes, your landing page is the engine for your conversion process, but it’s also extremely important when it comes to your AdWords Quality Score.
There are two aspects to your Landing Page Quality Score: load time and site quality. First, lets break down the landing page load time.
Google AdWords has been kind enough to remove some of the mystery in regards to how they score your landing page. Within your Keyword Analysis page you can see if there are any specific problems with your landing page including your load time:
There are two grades that your landing page load time can receive:
- If your keyword is graded This page loads slowly, your landing page quality and Quality Score will be negatively affected.
- If your keyword is graded No problems found, your landing page quality and Quality Score will not be affected. The one exception is if your keyword is graded No problems found and marked Load time is faster than the average in your server’s geographic region. In this case, your landing page quality and Quality Score may be positively affected.
What can cause a landing page to receive a “This page loads slowly” score? There are various factors that can cause this unpleasant ranking. Here are some common causes of slow load time that can hinder your score:
Multi-second meta refreshes: Redirects that use multi-second meta refreshes are a common culprit. If you have a redirect set to occur after several seconds, change it to zero seconds so that the redirect happens immediately.
Slow redirects: To check the speed of your redirects, copy and paste your destination URL into a web browser to see how long the browser spends on each redirect URL. You can get more precise values using a tool like Fiddler (English only).
Multiple redirects: Each redirect increases your landing page load time. If you have more than one redirect, consider eliminating unnecessary ones.
Interstitial pages: If you employ an interstitial page (where the user waits for a few seconds before being taken to the landing page), you should consider removing it.
Slow server: Your site may be hosted by a slow server. Use Google’s Webmaster Tools to see how long your site takes to fetch. If it’s slow, contact your web hosting provider.
Large page size: If your page’s HTML document is very large, try compressing it with gzip or DEFLATE.
So, now you know where to find your landing page load time Quality Score; you know what each score means; you know what may cause a low score; but how do you fix it? The Yahoo Developer Network has some very helpful resources that can give you some ideas on how to speed up your load time.
The other aspect of your Landing Page Quality Score is ‘site quality’. So, what is Google looking for in regards to these requirements? Here is a short list:
- Relevancy: Users should be able to easily find what your ad promises. Link to the page on your site that provides the most useful information about the product or service in your ad.
- Originality: Feature unique content that can’t be found on another site. Provide substantial information.
- Transparency: According to Google, in order to build trust with users, your site should be explicit in three primary areas: the nature of your business; how your site interacts with a visitor’s computer; and how you intend to use a visitor’s personal information, if you request it.
- Navigability: The key to turning visitors into customers is making it easy for users to find what they’re looking for.
Once your landing page is loading quickly, you then need to review your content in these terms. Again, make sure that every element of your campaign is firing on all cylinders.
Don’t allow a slow-loading, unoptimized landing page negate all of the hard work you put into creating your expansive yet targeted keyword list, writing unique benefit-driven ad texts, continually adjusting your bids to find the ad position, and everything else you do on a daily basis. Remember, every aspect of your account is important when it comes to Quality Score and none of them should be ignored.
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