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Friday, December 01, 2006

Google's new landing page quality statements...Improving your content to make money two ways...

We recently discussed Google's pre-holiday tightening of landing page quality standards as G tries to shove the "Made for Adsense" arbitrage crowd elsewhere by jacking up PPC bid amounts for advertisers supplying "less than stellar" user experiences.

In case you missed it, the folks at Google have answered a few questions about the changes and what they mean for webmasters at Inside AdWords.

Here are a few highlights:

  • The SEO/PPC distinction. What's good for the goose may not matter to the gander. The Content quality score is a separate entity from the Search quality score. That may not always matter, as it is possible to produce a good landing page that is both optimized for search and that contains top-notch content (in fact, that seems like the goal for which everyone should aim). However, the fact that the scores are distinct may allow you to do a few things differently with respect to your PPC landing pages to enhance the immediate user experience without being as concerned as you otherwise might be with on-page SEO. Don't worry, the Content robots won't rat you out to the Search robots, according to G.

  • Advertisers vs. Publishers. Some people have wondered if the quality assessments would be used to smack lousy publishers around, too. I doesn't look that way. Google seems more interested in attacking perceived problems from the advertiser side, though. Publishers aren't experiencing anything new or different, but an advertiser who is providing a lousy user experience "on the page to which their ad links, then their ads may stop showing on sites in our content network."

  • The Role of CTR in the landing page quality assessment. So, can you be spared from a critical analysis of your landing page's content if you boast a big, fat click-through rate? No. Google isn't looking at CTR when assessing landing page quality. Ads with good CTR aren't necessarily driving traffic to good landing pages, after all.

  • Why is Google hellbent on ruining the holidays for some people? They rolled out these changes to the landing page quality system right before the biggest buying season of the year. I say "follow the money" to figure out why that might have happened. I don't want to seem conspiracy-minded, but if you are able to suddenly hike keyword bid prices up for a significant percentage of your advertisers, there's probably no better time to do it than right now if you want to put some extra goodies in your own stocking. Google, however, argues that it's all about quality for end users and they didn't want to stall on making improvements to their system.

Why is your friendly neighborhood writer blogging about all of this? Because it's one of many reasons you, as a webmaster, should be thinking about upgrading the quality of your landing page copy. In turn, that's a reason to contact Content Done Better.

Not only will your landing page convert better when its carrying professional text, you'll also be able to decrease your advertising costs. Better content makes you money directly while saving you additional money at the same time.

You might not need to upgrade your content to stay on the good side of the content quality robots. Your PPC prices may not be sneaking up and your landing pages might be getting a hearty "thumbs up" from the 'bots. If that's the case, you don't need to think about the tightened standards as a justification for improved text. You might still benefit from better writing, but you don't need to use the LPQ adjustment as a reason for it.

If, however, you are experiencing an increase in your advertising costs through Adwords and think that the quality of your landing page might be at least partially responsible, get in touch. We can come up with content that sells more while reducing Adwords expenditures.