We are always optimizing our clients’ PPC (Pay Per Click) accounts and as part of that process, naturally our attention turns to Google AdWords Quality Score. There are many factors that go into Quality Score but in this post I will be focusing on landing page factors. Based on various conversions with Google representatives here are some interesting insights about PPC landing pages and Quality Score…
- Using targeted keywords on your landing page
We’ve all probably heard that we need good alignment between a prospect’s search query, the ad copy that is displayed, and the landing page they visit. This is absolutely true and important for a well converting experience — but actually has very little to do with Quality Score. Google has indicated that while they do crawl landing pages to assess general alignment, Quality Score is not based on specific text on the page, page headlines, alt tags etc. The elements that they are most interested in are the destination URL (does it match the domain in the ad?) and how mobile friendly the site is, which brings us to our next point…
- Mobile usability
Interestingly, how mobile friendly your landing pages are does influence Quality Score; even if your ads are not specifically targeting mobile users. With Google’s recent push to make mobile usability a larger factor for organic rankings this makes sense. Today, it should not be surprising that we need mobile friendly pages! However, it is important to not cut corners with your landing pages even if they are only targeting desktop users.
- Bounce rate, engagement, conversion rate
One might think that these are the most telling metrics for the quality and relevance of a landing page –but not as it pertains specifically to Quality Score. While bounce rate is a factor for organic rankings; it does not directly impact Google AdWords Quality Score. On one hand, I can see how conversion rate could be manipulated easily by the advertiser since they could put the conversion pixel on the landing page itself but I don’t see how the other metrics can influence the organic side of things but not paid.
Stay Focused on Conversion
My conclusion for PPC landing pages: stay focused on the conversion! Beyond ensuring some of the things above (which should be done anyway for conversion optimization), landing pages themselves have really, very little impact on Quality Score.
I see this as a blessing and a curse because while it would be great to have a hand in improving PPC results, it also allows the freedom for the landing page to focus 100% on the visitor’s experience and conversion rate.
Let us know what your experience with Quality Score has been. Have you seen any noticeable difference based on landing page attributes?