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Adwords Quality Score now includes rating of Landing Page
"looks at the content and layout of the pages linked from your ads"

 11:16 pm on Dec 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

From Inside Adwords [adwords.blogspot.com]:
In August, we introduced the Quality Score along with the launch of quality-based minimum bids, letting you know that we evaluate many factors, such as your ad text and clickthrough rate (CTR) to determine the minimum bid for your keyword. Today, we started incorporating a new factor into the Quality Score -- the landing page -- which will look at the content and layout of the pages linked from your ads.

Guidelines for landing pages [adwords.google.com]



 10:32 pm on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well, I can announce positive news...

Google took a keyword with a high CTR, that I was paying as low as .12/click and made me change the max CPC from .29 to 1.00.

Over the first few days, I paid the full dollar, but had an even higher CTR rate than before (probably because most competitors were flushed with the keyword going inactive for them, meaning less ads to choose from, and more chance of my ad getting a click)

After about a week, that $1 per click has gone down to .55/click. Still far from .12/click, but at least the cost has quickly gone down. I also hope that since I added more content that targets my keywords, I can get a higher quality score.

I'm also happy to report with another keyowrd, that I had to move my .29 max CTR to a $1, but I was not charged a $1...I have been charged about .16...(I have a 12.5% CTR since I reset to $1) So I can confirm that even though you may be asked to pay a high dollar amount to bring from inactive, you MAY NOT be charged that amount.

The only problem is YOU MAY NOT, so you never know if it is worth paying for those $1, $5, and $10 keywords...You may pay max, you may not. I wish google would at least put in some kind of prediction as to how much you will actually pay...Because why should I take a risk of setting my max to $5 to pay anywhere between $5 and .01? I might activate more $1 keywords and $5 keywords if I get the success like I listed above.


 10:45 pm on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Does anyone know if googlebot can handle a meta refresh? My site has a Welcome. Please Wait image only page that redirects to the main landing page. I'm wondering if the bot that checks Quality Landing pages is even seeing the final destination and only seeing the image only redirecting page.



 11:13 pm on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Lots of comments about how G will assess the 'quality' of the landing pages and whether the process will be human, algorithmic or hybrid are all over the forums. Here's one thought:

If a searcher clicks an ad and then G finds them back at the search results within X seconds ... the landing page is not very relevant.

If the searcher returns to the results more than X seconds after clicking an ad, or doesn't return ... the landing page has more relevance.

I can think of several similar measurements that are trivial to collect for the search giant, and why not? An algorithmic approach to relevance doesn't seem that wacky to me.


 11:42 pm on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

lets hope when the maintenance work is over we can rejoice at the number of keywords we have turned back on - it will be interesting to see if what happens


 12:55 am on Dec 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

I started a new adgroup, and went to look at my server logs...Sure enough, there was googlebot on the new landing page I created. Not sure if it was there to just confirm the URL, or if it also issued my quality score...


 3:38 am on Dec 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

FYI, my "Inactive" keywords are being shown and when clicked, I'm charged my existing Max CPC.



 7:43 am on Dec 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Israel, the reason that may be happening is probably due to you being in the content network, in which inactive ads are only inactive for the search network, and will be live in the content network. The other answer is that Google is cycling/testing your ads to see if they are performing to their standards, not really clear or fair, but those are my guesses.


 2:18 pm on Dec 17, 2005 (gmt 0)


It's "the other answer". Except for one experimental AdGroup I'm not including here, I stay away from Content.

These have all been Google or Search clicks/impressions. I've noticed this trend for days, but the showing of "Inactives" at my price has grown sharply over the last 3 days or so. Alleged $5-10 dollar keywords going for 20 - 30 cents.



 3:03 pm on Dec 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Whatever google did last night started me back where I was: $1 per click, the max CPC, when I just got it back down to $.55. I am going to grill my rep about this. In a matter of a few weeks, I go from .12/click, to 1.00/click, to .55/click and back to 1.00/click while maintaining an above average CTR (up to a 15% CTR)

Come on google. Quit screwing around!


 5:38 pm on Dec 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

For me, the past didn't change. However, I entered about 10 AdGroups this morning and none asked for ridiculous $1.00 - $10.00 bids.

They'd up the ante on me a dime or so on a few words, but those tended to be the more obscure possibilities.
No keyword ever topped 40 cents.

The important thing is that I never was asked for $1.00 or more when my overall long term average bid over many sectors has historically been a steady 18-19 cents (This past week it had been around 25 cents, but I didn't mind since the business was so good).

So maybe... they're on the right track again. What I had been asked $10.00 for a week ago was absurd given my past CTR and bidding history.

Obviously, the intent is to raise bids somewhat, but it's now at least within reason.

I wonder if I should delete and recreate the ruined AdGroups and see what happens or wait a bit.....
I may experiment with one ruined AdGroup where what should have 10 cent bids were all $1.00 - $10.00

Why do the propeller heads play in December? Don't they know it's the holiday season?

I've read suggestions that say try to hide affiliate links by building them dynanimcally and cryptically, but I like to play fair and honest. Additionally, we're not even sure affiliate ads are the "targets" for these changes. The junk ads remain, I notice.

Any feedback on this?



 9:30 pm on Dec 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Israel - thanks for going public with a strategy that at least seems to have lowered the bids. I can't even comprehend deleting and replacing all my adgroups. I will be sitting tight a few more days to see what others say on this forum and also importantly what google adwords tech come back to me with. It's definitely a waiting game...I wondered if anyone had noticed a gradual reduction in the high minimum inactive for search bids, as the filter becomes more intelligent .


 3:51 am on Dec 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

I can't even comprehend deleting and replacing all my adgroups. I will be sitting tight a few more days to see what others say on this forum and also importantly what google adwords tech come back to me with.

Don't delete & replace!

I tried with one ad group where 25 of 30 words had been asking for $1.00 & up, the other 5 words had remained happy with 15 cents.

Deleted it, re-entered it with a slightly different creative and all 30 words now wanted $1.00 & up.


I've only had luck with new adgroups that I created today. They didn't ask for anything outrageous even though they pointed to the same or similar sites as the one I tested with above.

Therefore if a re-evaluation of quality score was made, it is not retroactive at least until the page gets re-spidered again. And we have no idea how often this happens. It appears to not be real-time because when I created a destination of www.exaaaaammmppplllee.com, Google didn't notice (or flag any words).


So at this point, at least for me (and I hope others) the only bright spot was a more normal experience when creating new adgroups.

Just created another AdGroup where I went back to my old cheapo 10 cent bids and 1/2 of the keywords took it. The other 1/2 wanted a not entirely unreasonable 20 - 30 cents. At least not the $1 - $5 - $10 we were seeing a week ago!

All this is tentative and just one bidder's experience, but it looks like for the future, they've put some more common sense into their quality score, but sadly it does not help undo the past damage....



 1:44 pm on Dec 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Israel - I'm doing nothing now until a Google Rep gives me solid advice on what to do next. Its taken me years to fine tune my campaigns and then in one hit they get sledge hammered.


 2:39 pm on Dec 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

I totaly agree. For two years now I've built up something nice...... several million impressions a day....now they are down to 250,000 to 400,000 a day...

I'm curious to know if anyone is seeing MORE impressions?



 5:54 pm on Dec 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

.... what is also interesting is I DONT see a large number of "inactive" keywords as I would expect with this drop in impressions.

Probably the other big thing is that 90% of my ads target Content so I'm guess the Internal Quality Score must have just dropped like a log with this new way of doing things.....



 7:03 pm on Dec 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Has anyone been tracking to see if a new/special AdWords bot/useragent is coming to your pages to check your content?


 8:45 pm on Dec 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

I only notice the GoogleBot.


 9:00 pm on Dec 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

I wish AWA would advise further on this as I need to relax through Christmas!


 11:47 pm on Dec 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

I updated lots of landing pages last week, but still not change in the new bid prices. My Google spending is down 66% since this happened :-(

Will keep working at it and see what happens.


 1:17 pm on Dec 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

AWA - Any chance of advising us as to how often Google checks our landing pages. I would like to run a test on a page which I already think has excellent content. The bid price has shot up from $0.06 to $5.00. I would like to add a further 600 words of content every week to see how far I have to go to reduce the bid. It bugs me a bit because compared to competing adwords users my landing page offers just as good content for the keyword I would like to run the test on.


 3:45 pm on Dec 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google raised its required minimum bid on one of my keywords 3 times, to more than 4 times what I my original maximum was. And I finally dropped it.

This was despite having a 2.5-3% click through and being the number 2 or 3 ad for the keyword.

The theory is that the landing page wasn't adequate for the keyword. One problem with that theory - the misspellings of the word (which don't even appear on the landing page) still have a low bid and were part of the same campaign.


 5:40 pm on Dec 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Just got off the phone with my rep and had a long discustion on this new "Landing Page" Quality.....

I was told that this is a "Human edited" quality score and not a bot.... or at least part of it is Human edited


My rep that if customers compain directly to google about your product or landing page that this could change your quality score.

I'm not sure what to belive now......



 5:59 pm on Dec 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

So if you optimize your landing page after a human has assigned a quality score, do you have to email or call google to tell them to check the page? Or does a BOT alert them that content has changed so they can re-assign a score? Seems like a lot of work...

But I was told by a rep that it was soley a bot that assigned the score...And that it would visit on a regular rate to check for updates.

Shocker...This is not the first time google reps don't seem to be well-informed...

When I first called about these rising keyword prices, the rep had no clue about the landing page quality score policy.


 7:11 pm on Dec 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

awa - is that right about human editors? your feedback would be greatly appreciated ...


 7:35 pm on Dec 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

My rep that if customers compain directly to google about your product or landing page that this could change your quality score.


That sounds like a dangerous policy. How many people (besides your competitors!) are even remotely likely to take the time to write/email/call Google about an ad unless it's truly offensive or an outright scam? Even then they'll be a tendency to just move on to the next ad.

No consumer will take the time to contact Google about an issue that would only warrant a lower quality score and higher bid.

First there is no "Contact Us" form readily visible on Google, most people won't be able to find the phone # and "write" - to where?

Most consumers don't even make the distinction between AdWords and SERPs and there is a general tendency among the public to accept that the Internet (and its content) is pretty much unpoliced.

If "complaints about landing pages" start factoring in, you know it's going to be advertiser vs. advertiser.

"Real" people have just gotten used to a certain level of junk on the Internet and filter through it. In fact, they encounter a rather large level of junk...

If the same page is sufficient to move more than one person to contact Google, there's likely to be something seriously, and I mean seriously wrong with that ad or site.

Once I contacted Google about ads that were using a "code word" to advertise something immoral and quite possibly illegal. The ads were still there weeks later though I notice I don't find them now. But this was really bad stuff!

The whole thing sounds very unrealistic...



 11:27 pm on Dec 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

I wish AWA would advise further on this as I need to relax through Christmas!

AWA - Any chance of advising us as to how often Google checks our landing pages...

awa - is that right about human editors? your feedback would be greatly appreciated...

As long-time readers of this Forum will know, I am rarely able to go into additional detail regarding what goes on under the hood, beyond that which is mentioned on the blog or the AdWords site. Such is the case in this instance.

If I were to give any advice, it would be to not panic -- and to follow a few very sound principles - which are exactly the same principles that have always delivered the best results to AdWords Advertisers:

* Carefully choose your keywords. Be specific, rather than general. Make sure that your keywords are about what you actually have to offer. Use negative keywords to your advantage. (This way, you'll have people seeing your ad who are looking for exactly what you have to offer.)

* Have your keywords bring up ads that are about precisely the same thing as the keywords which made the ads appear. (Doing this tells the person who is looking for what you have that you have it.)

* Then, when a potential customer clicks on your ad, send them to a really excellent page [adwords.google.com] that directly relates to what they've just searched for. In other words, show them exactly what they expect to see, having clicked on your ad. Give them high-quality information. Show then you are the sort of business they can trust with their credit card and personal information. Make buying easy and secure. Doing this gives you an excellent chance of converting a click into a customer.

I can not overstate the value of doing these things. (And, along the same lines, I really wish that even one-tenth the amount of attention that this thread has received had also been focused on a really excellent thread started by our moderator, entitled
"PPC Metrics - How they relate to the search process" [webmasterworld.com])

A couple of other thoughts, the first to provide some perspective, and then one possible action item:

* Although the inclusion of Landing Page Quality in the Quality Score is top-of-the-page issue here on WebmasterWorld (and has almost taken on a life of it's own, as sometimes happens), it is anything but a major issue in terms of what the AdWords support teams have been hearing. Yes, of course we have had queries, but they amount to far, far less than one percent of the queries coming in, since Landing Page Quality was implemented. Honestly, this has been a non-issue for the vast majority of AdWords advertisers.

* Lastly, if anyone has been negatively effected by this change, and feels that their keywords, ads, and landing pages are in fact carefully chosen and effectively targeted -- then by all means contact AdWords support, and have them look into it.


Richard Overvold

 12:41 am on Dec 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Why do the propeller heads play in December? Don't they know it's the holiday season?

Because this is the busiest time of the year for shoppers. Catchin' those who are caught in the "BID HIGHER!" stages.

Looks like Adwords is getting a bit more like SEO these days, but with *more* money involved. :)


 3:39 am on Dec 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yes, of course we have had queries, but they amount to far, far less than one percent of the queries coming in, since Landing Page Quality was implemented. Honestly, this has been a non-issue for the vast majority of AdWords advertisers.

What of the keywords whose mininum bid went up 100 fold overnight on December 9th? Did that only affect a minority of advertisers, hence the lack of queries to AdWords?

Some AdGroups immediately became useless for no reason that I could discern when after happily bidding 10 cents for a couple of years, they suddenly required $10.00. There was no question these were the only relevant keywords to be using in those groups. These weren't even traditional high value keywords and they reflected exactly what was on the landing pages.

Fortunately, the real high value items had little change so I didn't find myself affected financially. I fear that the items that I rely upon the most for income simply haven't been evaluated yet. Otherwise there is no rhyme or reason for what happened.

Other advertisers that I spoke with reported the same thing happening and some were far more adversely affected. Seems to have been a bit of "luck of the draw" involved. In my case, my unaffected items shared the same pages with affected items that had their keywords walloped.

I can't for the life of me figure out why some keywords went to $1, $5 and $10 from pennies where others stayed at the same bids. If a program was doing this, it was flawed. If people were doing the evaluating, they had to be under some tremendous misconception.



 4:47 am on Dec 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

AWA, are you're saying the following is top secret?

1. whether the landing page is human reviewed or bot reviewed

2. how often it is reviewed

So sounds funny.

Ok, never mind but you also stated that we should have a very relevant landing page and give the visitor what she is looking for. That's strange because I have a very, very relevant landing page (and high bid) yet many of the ads above mine are a lot less relevant.

For example, for the keyword "widget brand x", I have a completely relevant landing page that gives exactly what the user wants - a review on widget brand x.

Yet (after the policy change) the ads above mine talks about brand y without mentioning brand x? May be they bid 10 times more than me but I find that hard to stomach because I'm already bidding so high it is dangerously close to being unprofitable :(


 8:10 am on Dec 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

AWA, thanks for your reply - a lot of solid advice.

Unfortunately it seems you are not allowed to comment on key areas we wold like some clarification on.

I believe this thread is so long because there is real concern based on an overnight experience where many bids have changed significantly overnight.

I will continue to talk to my rep.


 3:12 pm on Dec 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Could it be that the queries to Adwords reps are less than one percent because we know from past experience that the Reps either (1)don't have a clue what we're talking about or (2)know and don't care.

I know it's a complete waste of time to sit on the phone complaining about this. Nothing will change. Just like the last time they walloped us. I've spent the last three days loading ads onto MSN ppc with good results.

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