Brad Geddes / PPC Geek
Official AdWords Seminar Leader.
Author of Advanced Google AdWords.
Co-Founder, Adalysis.
(312) 884-9017
Brad Geddes's Theories on Marketing 9 Myths of Landing Page Quality Score

9 Myths of Landing Page Quality Score

Your landing page quality affects your AdWords quality score. and quality score has a large impact on the success of an AdWords account. So, it’s important to separate the fact from the fiction about what affects landing page quality score, and to understand what you can do to improve your landing page.

Myth 1: My keyword has to be on the landing page

False. The search engines understand semantic indexing. If a page is about cell phones, it probably has the words: Bluetooth, 3G, mobile or cell, phone, etc on the landing page. If your keyword was ‘mobile phone’ and you sent traffic to your page about ‘cell phones’ that did not mention the word mobile on it, your quality score should not suffer.

It can be a good practice from a consumer’s standpoint to use their lexicon (mobile or cell); however, it is not an absolute must.  The closer related your landing page’s theme is to your keyword, the better your landing page quality score will be. However, it is not necessary to use the keyword on the landing page from the quality score perspective.

Myth 2: Adding a privacy policy will increase my quality score

It depends. If your site doe not collect any personal information, then you do not need a privacy policy (from Google’s perspective, but your country may have different laws regarding TOS and privacy policies). However, if you collect personal information, such as an email address, phone number, or credit card, having a privacy policy will help your quality score.

One of the quality score guidelines is transparency. Your privacy policy may say that you will sell any information given to you to the highest bidder. However, the fact you put that into your Privacy Policy means you were transparent to the user on what would happen to their personal information.

Myth 3: My site is in Flash, so I can never have a good quality score

False. Google has made many improvements with regards to indexing flash. This does not mean they will index your site properly. An exercise you can try is to put your URL into the AdWords Keyword Tool< and have your page spidered. If the suggested keywords are similar to what you think the page is about, then you are generally in good shape. If there aren’t any results, or the suggested keywords are completely different than what you think the page is about, you may wish to try making your site more search-engine friendly using progressive enhancement technologies such as SIFR.

Myth 4: My page is all images. The new load time guidelines are lowering my quality score

False. Google only looks at how long it takes the page’s HTML to load in determining landing page load times. If your site is loading so slowly that you see a problem with load times in your AdWords account, you have larger issues with your site. Just loading a page’s HTML (not scripts, nor images) should be exceptionally quick. It should be noted, Google has said they may eventually incorporate all page elements into the load time for determining quality score. If this happens, you may need to optimize your images, scripts, and other called files.

Myth 5: Adding an ‘about us’ page will increase my quality score

While this is a good practice from a user standpoint, it is not an absolute must. As above, the actual AdWords guideline is to be transparent to the user. My testing has not shown that this will help quality score yet. However, it is a good practice as this could very easily be added to the landing page quality score formula and being transparent to users about your business is very much inline with Google’s goals.

Myth 6: Google hates affiliates

False. The question affiliates should ask themselves is: “Was the user’s search experience made better by visiting my page before going to the merchant’s page?”. If you review several services and show the benefits and features of each service so that a searcher can make a more informed decision – then you’ve helped the search process. If your page is just about a single product and every single link from that page just goes to the same merchant page, then you’ve not added to the search experience.

There are many exceptional affiliate sites that add to the search experience. Google does not hate affiliates. Google hates making the search process longer for the user.

Myth 7: Microsites and dedicated landing pages no longer work

False. While Google does wish a user to have choices, you can easily build a page that showcases a single product or service while still giving the user navigational choices. While microsites or one-page-wonder sites have taken some quality score hits over the past couple years, dedicated landing pages are still effective.

When designing your page, look for non-intrusive ways to add some navigational elements to the page. If you consider this from the user’s standpoint, the page you chose for them may not be the actual product they wished to see. More importantly, if a user wants to find out more about your company before committing to trusting you with personal information; do they have any options?

Myth 8: If my site doesn’t have a high Pagerank, I can’t get a good quality score

False. First, PageRank is stored at the page level and not the website level, but we’ll ignore that fact for the moment. Google has a completely different bot and algorithm for pagerank versus landing page quality score. While both ads-bot and Googlebot may share some data, the way the data is actually processed is separate and for completely different purposes. A brand new site can do well in PPC. A site that is banned from the organic SERPs can do well in PPC. A site banned from PPC can do well in the organic SERPs. Landing page quality and natural search rankings are completely unrelated to each other.

Myth 9: If I only have manufacturer descriptions, I will never have a good landing page quality score

Sometimes true. One of the quality signals Google looks for is unique content. If there are many sites using the exact same manufacturer description, the question to ask yourself is: Why should someone read this information on my site as opposed to the other many sites out there? If you can mix up the content with other information, offer buying guide decision help, or offer other unique content for a searcher – it will help your quality score. However, if you must use manufacturer descriptions, your landing page quality score may suffer some, so that just means you need to focus more on increasing the other factors that affect quality score.

Conclusion

It is important to note the landing page quality’s influence to your account. Landing page quality score is not used for all of the algorithms that determine your account’s visibility. You can view information about your landing page quality score within your AdWords account. Just click on the magnifying glass icon located next to a keyword within your account and you can see detailed information about your landing page.

While it is important to maintain a good landing page quality score for your AdWords quality score. It is much more crucial to ensure that when a consumer arrives at your landing page, you can turn them from a visitor into a conversion.

Learn Even More About Quality Score

Quality Score is so essential to a healthy AdWords account that you need to know how to work with it; and the steps to take to improve it. You can watch this free video on working with Quality Score or sign up for a 7 day free trial of Certified Knowledge where you will have access to the Quality Score Analyzer Tool, and video lessons on how to work with, and improve, your Quality Scores. Take a 7 Day Free Trial.

4 Comments

  1. jspartan
    September 3, 2012 at 2:14 pm · Reply

    Hi Brad, where can I find this magnifying glass?

    “You can view information about your landing page quality score within your AdWords account. Just click on the magnifying glass icon located next to a keyword within your account and you can see detailed information about your landing page.”

    I see the speech bubble but it only designates whether the landing page is average or not. It would be helpful to see a more detailed critique of the LP. Can’t locate the magnifying glass on any of the pages I’ve looked so far.

    Thanks

  2. brad
    September 4, 2012 at 5:08 am · Reply

    The icon is in the ‘status’ column and now look like a conversation icon.

    Google recently changed the landing page display info to only show if the page is below, average, or above. You can no longer see site speed. However, even just seeing if your page is average or above can be useful to know. If you see your page is below average; then work on that first if your QS is 4 or lower. If your QS if 5-7; then you might have something else that is ‘below average’ that can be a quicker fix (such as ad testing).

  3. jspartan
    September 4, 2012 at 9:12 am · Reply

    Thanks for the reply Brad. Ya that was what I was describing and has been like that from the beginning with my account.

    Have you noticed in that same area, where it grades your ad relevance that “average” is not an indicate of your ad but quality score? At first I thought G had an algorithm that looked at my keyword and judged how relevant it was to the ad. This has not been the case with my experience. The same ad / kw that was “average” will turn to “below average” the instant he QS drops to a 3 or lower. Or to say another way. A new person like myself should not use the ad relevance grade as reassurance that your ad is okay. It appears to be just a label governed by the QS after the fact vs. a prediction on how relevant your ad actually is.

    I also wanted to say thanks for your website and your other contributions found throughout the net. It has helped. I’m going to take another look at your premium membership. I’m one month into Adwords and feel like my questions have outgrown the initial help that Adwords gives to new accounts. Every time I Google a question it usually leads to you anyway. Which would appear to make you an authority with organic search as well 🙂

  4. brad
    September 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm · Reply

    The average, below average, etc are a word based reflection of a numerical scale.

    So, a 3 quality score usually means one of components is below average. A 10 usually means at least one component is excellent, and none are below average (this is some fluctuation in this right now that you can see here: https://bgtheory.com/blog/quality-score-makes-even-less-sense-now/)

    So really what’s happening (and this is just an example) is that you have a formula like (and this is *very* simplified):

    (ad relevancy) x (weight factor) + (ad CTR) x (weight factor) + (landing page) x (weight factor) = Quality Score

    So the items listed as average, above, etc are just a slightly more broken down parts of the formulas (and there are many – not just one) that together combine to make the QS number.

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