I have certainly read many PPC advertising articles and blog posts regarding the importance of landing page text and it’s relationship to Sponsored Search keywords. While there is no arguing that the landing page should be highly relevant for the keywords used in order to facilitate the action of a conversion, there has also been some debate regarding the landing pages text and its relationship to Google’s Quality Score, and ultimately the price you pay per click. Let’s set the record straight.
Our friends from Google stopped by the JumpFly offices yesterday and we had a long discussion on the AdWords Quality Score process. So, this information is straight from the source. I’m only addressing the Quality Score and Landing Page relationship today, and will leave the other important aspects of Quality Score for other articles. Trust me, there is a lot to know when it comes to learning about Google AdWords Quality Score.
First, it is important to understand that there are actually two separate Google AdWords Quality Scores: QS1 & QS2
The first Quality Score, QS1, is the score to see if the keyword is even qualified to show. In the Q1 score, the quality of the landing page is factored into this algorithm. The biggest factors being relevant and original content, how you intend to use a visitor’s personal information, and navigability. Mostly, Google is trying to eliminate the type of poor quality websites that have shown a history of consistently providing a poor user experience from advertising on AdWords.
Once the Q1 score is factored and the keyword is able to enter the auction, the process moves along to the Q2 score.
The 2nd Quality Score (QS2) determines AdRank and CPC. I could go into great detail on all of the aspects of this very important Quality Score, however for this topic it is important to note that landing page quality is absolutely NOT a factor in QS2.
This was sure news to us, and I’m sure many of you might also find this to be unbelievable, however it is true. We spent a great deal of time talking about this and even watched a nice PowerPoint presentation to back it all up.
Of course, this new information directly contradicts some of Google’s online help documents. For example, on the Landing Page and Site Quality Guidelines page it says:
Furthermore, following our site guidelines will help improve your landing page quality score. As a component of your keywords’ overall Quality Scores, a high landing page quality score can affect your AdWords account in three ways:
Decrease your keywords’ cost-per-clicks (CPCs)
Increase your keyword-targeted ads’ position on the content network
Improve the chances that your placement-targeted ads will win a position on your targeted placement
So, what does this all really mean?
Well, it doesn’t change the fact that a well optimized webpage that is focused on a particular keyword will definitely help convert that visitor. It doesn’t change the fact that a landing page that falls short of Google’s initial Landing Page Quality guidelines might not even trigger the keyword.
It does mean that no matter how many times you stuff your keyword into a webpage, or change the keyword density, it will not help lower your cost per click for that keyword at Google AdWords. That, I’m afraid, is determined by other factors involved in QS2.
The bottom line here is that a well designed and focused landing page is a very useful and much needed aspect of any Sponsored Search campaign. Nothing will change that fact. All this simply means is that your groovy new landing page is not going to influence the price you pay per click for that keyword.