Google Offers Unclear Landing Page Guidelines

    November 8, 2006

Google has announced changes to its method of assessing the quality of landing pages as part of its AdWords service. The guidelines for landing page evaluation, however, still remain somewhat of a mystery.

Advertisers beware, Google is stepping up efforts to enforce it’s interpretation of “quality” landing pages correlating to your AdWords.

Here’s an except from the Inside AdWords blog concerning the announcement:

In the next few days, we will be making two changes to how AdWords evaluates landing page quality.

First, we’ll begin incorporating landing page quality into the Quality Score for your contextually-targeted ads, using the same evaluation process as we do for ads showing on and the search network. Advertisers who may be providing a poor experience on their site will notice that their traffic across the content network decreases as a result of this change.

Second, we’re improving our algorithm for evaluating landing page quality and incorporating landing page content retrieved by the AdWords system.

While Google offers some landing page and site guidelines, the company admits that there are no “hard and fast” rules for creating a high quality landing page.

Even more interesting, however, is the fact that Google sheds absolutely no light on just what types of content would constitute a low quality landing page.

Why is all this so important? Simply put, a site’s quality rating will have a direct impact on its minimum bid required for its ads to run; lower quality equals a higher minimum bid.

Google provides no specific information on its quality grading scale. Are sites only classified has high quality and low quality, or are there scalable levels of measurement. If so, would these levels have a proportional impact on the minimum bid? In fact, how is the minimum bid penalty even calculated?

What steps can a webmaster take if he/she feels that their website has unfairly been deemed to have a “low-quality” landing page? Does Google have a resolution system in place for such an occurrence?

Questions upon questions abound in the face of Google’s announcement.

One would think that Google would offer a clearer picture of its criteria, given that the impact of its seemingly arbitrary method of quality rating will have a concrete impact on the financial bottom line for its advertising partners.

Google representatives, however, have declined to comment on the AdWords changes thus far.

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Joe is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.