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30 Sep 2013

Maximize Adwords Quality Scores by Improving Your Landing Page Relevance

September 30, 2013PPC Advertising

Maximize Adwords Quality Scores By Improving Your Landing Page Relevance

The three main metrics that make up a keyword’s quality score are click-through-rate, ad relevance, and landing page relevance. Because they can be optimized directly within an Adwords campaign, click-through-rate and ad relevance are the focus for many PPC advertisers while, all too often, landing page relevance is disregarded altogether.

At its core, landing page relevance is the only Adwords metric designed to improve Google’s #1 Core Value, “Focus on the user and all else will follow.” Despite click-through-rates having arguably the biggest impact on quality score, I think it’s safe to say that users don’t search Google in order to find a clever ad with a great call-to-action. While that clever ad may take them where they are looking to go, users are inevitably looking for a website that meets their specific search intent. To keep from venturing too far from Core Value #1 and help advertisers better understand the value of a quality landing page, Google changed their original phrasing of a “website that meets a user’s specific search intent” into “landing page relevance.”

Measuring Landing Page Relevance

To see how your keywords stack up, visit the Keywords tab on the Adwords interface and hover over the status for any of your keywords to see how their associated landing pages measure up. There are three different levels:

  • Above Average – You have achieved the highest rating and your Quality Score will not be negatively affected by your landing page experience.
  • Average – You have achieved an adequate rating and your Quality Score will not be negatively affected by your landing page experience.
  • Below Average – You have achieved a poor rating and your Quality score may suffer as a result.

Keyword tab on Adwords interface
If you find that keywords are receiving Below Average rankings, you’re being penalized which likely means paying a higher CPC than your competitors and potentially not having your ad shown for all qualified searches. Even if your ranking is Average, which Google says will not negatively affect your quality score, it’s likely a good idea to review the best practices and tips to see if there are any easy changes that will help your site visitors find what they are looking for and turn into customers.

Landing Page Relevance Factors

Is Your Landing Page Relevant to your Adwords campaign?

The first thing measured is the relevance of the content to your keyword and information shown in your ad. Is it easy to understand what your landing page is promoting? Be clear with your intentions. Google will also measure the originality of your site to see how it compares to similar advertisers and their offerings.

Does your landing page promote your business’ integrity and honesty?

Your site should put confidence in the minds of your potential customers. Your contact information should be in full view, and you should have accurate descriptions of the goods and services that you are offering. It’s also important to inform customers if you intend to share their personal information with third parties. A clean, honest interface lets your customers know that you’ll be able to follow through with delivering the goods that they order.

Is your Landing Page easy to navigate?

Can users immediately find what it is they’re seeking? If you have a special offer, does it stand out immediately? Make sure to limit the amount of external links that you include on the page. The same goes for distracting ads or pop-ups. Do you offer an FAQ page or contact information where potential customers can learn more? A clean design and easy to use order form promotes conversions, sales, and an improved user experience.

Improving your Landing Page Experience

Impact of Quality Score on CPCThere are tremendous benefits to an improved landing page relevance and Quality Score. You will likely see lower cost-per-clicks, increased traffic volume, and best of all, improved conversion rates. The beauty of an improved conversion rate is that it is higher for all traffic sources, not just from PPC. Remember though, just because you’ve made improvements once, doesn’t mean you’re done. Imagine setting a keyword bid and never changing it, regardless of performance.

If you want to maximize your landing page relevance and get the most out of your Adwords campaigns, stick to these guidelines and make a point to continuously test and improve.

  • Your site should be relevant and useful to your potential customers. Your offerings should be exciting and unique.
  • Your site should promote your business as a trustworthy and credible entity. Site visitors should be comfortable giving you their personal information and making a purchase on your site. Transparent sites are typically trustworthy sites. Dedicate a page to your employees. Visitors want to know that there are real, hardworking people on the other side of your website.
  • Your site should be easy to navigate. Within a click or two, visitors should be able to find answers to any questions they may have. Also, forms should be clean and your business contact information should be readily available should a user have any questions.

Too often advertisers get so caught up in long tailed keywords and click-through-rates that they forget to take a step back and look at the big picture. Your Adwords performance, no matter how good your keyword selection is, can only be as good as your conversion rate. If you want your Adwords campaigns to be successful, it’s vital to optimize your landing page experience. Your best shot is to take a minute and think like Google – “Focus on the user and all else will follow.”

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2 Comments

  • Copywriting Services Oct 01, 2013

    Good list, Zach.

    Just to clarify, do you refer to campaigns or ad groups in Landing Page Relevance Factors?

  • Zach Etten Oct 03, 2013

    Hi Andy,

    Thanks for the comment and good question. While campaigns and ad groups are vital, this calculation is actually made at the keyword level. Because we set the landing page (destination URL) at the ad level though, proper campaign and ad group organization ultimately enables keywords to have highly targeted ads and “Above Average” Landing Page Relevance scores.

    Zach