Load Times Matter To AdWords Quality Score

    March 7, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Google will make landing page load times a factor in computing the quality score, which could have an impact on minimum bid prices.

Google continues to try and crack down on low quality sites, with their latest planned change apparently aimed at pages stuffed with ads and little else. It will be the most recent pushback against sites made for AdSense, even if Google doesn’t phrase it that way directly.

A new metric, a grade for landing page load time, will become available in AdWords accounts this month. The grade how long it takes for someone to load a landing page once the ad leading to it has been clicked.

Slow loading pages hurt the user experience, and can lead people to abandon those pages, Google noted on the Inside AdWords blog. Once Google drops its load time evaluations onto an account’s Keyword Analysis page, advertisers will have one month to make adjustment.

An additional help article on load times and their impact said those times will be evaluated relative to servers in the geographic region of the site in question.

Poor load time performance translates to a lower Quality Score. This means higher minimum bids for keywords. Keywords that lead to ads on pages that load faster than average could see a positive impact on the Quality Score.

Google provided some suggestions on improving load time. Using fewer redirects, smaller and highly compressed images, avoiding interstitials, and minimizing usage of iframes all made that list of suggestions.

It sounds like Google has a good idea of what it already considers poor load time performers. Their announcement of load time assessment also serves as an early warning to sites that need to make fixes ahead of the implementation of the new metric.

Google previously announced there would be scheduled AdWords maintenance on March 8th. We expect Google to put the system for delivering load time analysis in place across all AdWords accounts during this window.