How to Fix Landing Page Quality Score Problems

In this article, the second in our series on Google AdWords’ Quality Score, we’ll take an in-depth look at the eight factors that are taken into account when determining the relevancy of a landing page. If you are not familiar with Quality Score at all, or how relevancy and landing pages can affect the QS of a keyword, then make sure to read the first article in this series.

pay per click blog iconSpiderability. This is how well a page can be crawled. If Google can not crawl a page, either because it is down or built on some technology that Google’s web crawlers can not make sense of, Quality Score can suffer.

Adsbot. This is AdWords’ bot that Google uses to crawl pages to measure landing page quality. It can be blocked in the Robots.txt file located on a website’s domain. While the Adsbot ignores global disallows, it can be blocked individually. If it is blocked individually, it will result in landing page problems in AdWords, so make sure that it is not blocked if you are running a PPC campaign.

Crawl Errors. Any crawl errors that Google runs into when spidering a site can result in low Quality Scores. The easiest way to check if a site has numerous crawl errors is to set it up in Google Webmaster Tools, which will display any messages relating to this issue.

Relevance. This is the same concept as keyword relevance and ad copy relevance. Typically, as long as a web page has some reasonable degree of relevance to the keyword and ad, it will pass. However, if there are huge discrepancies between the content of the landing page and the keyword and ad copy, QS can drop.

Related Keywords. Did you know that people want to “learn;” they don’t want to “read?” Using “learn” instead of “read” can instantly improve Quality Score in some instances, especially if you are selling an Ebook. This is an example of how related keywords can change a Quality Score. Look at related keywords with Google’s Keyword Tool in AdWords to find other words and phrases you should include on your landing pages to avoid a Quality Score drop.

Transparency. This factor has to do with the user’s experience on your site. Don’t alter their browser settings or install software on their computer. Include a Privacy Policy page, and use SSL if you are taking credit card information. Google wants sites to be transparent, and can decrease Quality Score if a site is lacking in this area.

Navigation. This is a big factor for long sales pages which may have thousands of words of promotional language and no other links than a “Buy Now” button. From the marketers standpoint, they want visitors to buy or leave. However, from Google’s standpoint, it is wise to include at least some basic navigation to the home page or related content. Navigation does not have to be featured, but it should be included on every landing page.

Load Time. In PPC and SEO, Google is starting to take into account page load times. No one wants to wait for a website to load one section, one picture at a time, and Google understands this. Extraordinarily long page load times can negatively affect Quality Score.

If you notice that your Quality Score has dropped recently, and there have not been any recent changes to your AdWords campaigns, then checking out some of these factors may help solve the problem. It could be as simple as Google being unable to crawl your website because it was temporarily down, or you may have to add a Privacy Policy to your site. In any case, knowing how Google considers landing page factors in Quality Score is vital for all PPC marketers.