Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Understanding Google’s Latest Landing Page Quality Score

Why Did Google Do This?


Jonathan made the case to Pamela and to me that the intent is to improve user experience.
When landing pages don’t line up well with the user’s search, the user has a poor experience, and ultimately that’s bad for everyone.

It’s bad for the user because they don’t end up where they expected to end up; it’s bad for the advertiser because they clicked on an ad and ended up somewhere they didn’t want to be, winning the advertiser no great brand impression; and it’s bad for Google, because that user is more likely to seek a different search experience and less likely to use Google sponsored links in the future.

This makes perfect sense. As I argued in last month’s post, Google maximizes its immediate term revenue by making QS 100% based on anticipated Click-Through Rate (CTR). Factors related to landing page or anything else reduce Google’s revenue per SERP view by reducing the importance of CTR.
However, poor landing page experiences might reduce Google’s long-term revenue by training users not to click on sponsored listings. That could jeopardize the business.
By creating a finer gradation between “your landing page stinks” and “it doesn’t stink” — essentially where we’ve been with landing page QS — Google rewards advertisers that pay attention to landing page decisions and creates another incentive to provide a great user experience.
In the long run, better landing pages lead to higher conversion rates, which in turn means an increase in the value of traffic, therefore allowing higher bids and correspondingly more traffic at the same efficiency. It’s a beautiful virtuous circle.
It’s also at least part of the reason that Google bought Urchin and made Google Analytics free. Giving advertisers the tools to diagnose user behavior and improve website effectiveness should ultimately lead to better monetization of traffic and higher bids in the paid search auction. Smart. Very smart.
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