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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Google's landing page quality standards tightening...Adjustment creates additional justification for content investment...

Recently, Google announced that it is revisiting its "landing page quality" assessment for Adwords advertisers in an attempt to improve the experiences of users who click on ads. The "landing page quality" (hereafter LPQ) assessment helps set prices for Adwords bids. Those providing a quality experience are (at least theoretically) rewarded by paying less for their keywords than are those running "made for Adsense."

The recent LPQ announcement had to put a lump in the throats of some Adwords advertisers who rely on click arbitrage systems to generate revenue. If the LPQ program really works that way Google seems to hope, the click cost for arbitrage-based sites that aren't carefully designed to somehow comport with Google's standards could increase enough to crush profit margins.

Those in the arbitrage game aren't the only ones who need to think about LPQ, however. If an advertiser's landing page runs afoul of Google's guidelines, promotional costs could escalate considerably. Many online entrepreneurs make a living based on volume and site diversification. They may not have one "big winner" and may, instead, depend upon smaller profit margins multiplied over a larger network of sites. Significant Adwords price increases due to LPQ adjustments could send many lines that have been barely hovering in the black down into the red.

So, how can Adwords users defend themselves against LPQ adjustments that might hurt them and/or find their way into Google's LPQ good graces (thus reaping the benefit of lower advertising pricing)?

There are many different answers, but a few of them come back to my favorite topic, content.

One can help himself or herself by investing in quality landing page content. Please note, that is not just my self-serving opinion. It comes straight from the horse's mouth. Google's landing page and site quality guidelines say:

"If users don't quickly see what they clicked on your ad to find, they'll leave your site frustrated and may never return to your site or click on ads in the future. Here are some pointers for making sure that doesn't happen:

  • Link to the page on your site that provides the most useful and accurate information about the product or service in your ad.
  • Ensure that your landing page is relevant to your keywords and your ad text.
  • Distinguish sponsored links from the rest of your site content.
  • Try to provide information without requiring users to register. Or, provide a preview of what users will get by registering.
  • In general, build pages that provide substantial and useful information to the end-user. If your ad does link to a page consisting of mostly ads or general search results (such as a directory or catalog page), provide additional information beyond what the user may have seen in your ad or on the page prior to clicking on your ad.
  • You should have unique content (should not be similar or nearly identical in appearance to another site). For more information, see our affiliate guidelines."
Content considerations come into play over and over again. Useful, accurate information. "Substantial and useful information to to the end user." "Provide additional information." "Unique content." That's all directly related to providing high-quality content.

So, it makes sense to commission/produce quality content to boost LPQ numbers. Not only will that decision bring with it all of the well-known advantages of better content (higher conversions, increased page views, longer page views, potential for "spontaneous" backlinks, etc.). It will also decrease advertising costs with Adwords.

Good content isn't just making money. It's also saving money up-front by decreasing the cost of Adwords advertising. That promotional savings is then intensified by the longer tail new content creates for your site and all of the potential gains in organic SERPs related to better content.

If you advertise with Adwords, it's time to invest in content.

Content can help LPQ scores and reduce your advertising costs while supplying you with numerous other well-known advantages.

Get in touch with a content professional and make your Adwords landing page work for you instead of against you.

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