Advertisers to Adwords: Huh?

Google’s Inside Adwords blog has announced that they are adding another ranking factor into their “quality score” which determines where an ad shows up in the search results.

The new ranking factor is judging the quality and relevance of the ad’s landing page. Fortunately, Google does provide some guidelines on what they think makes for a good landing page.

As a consumer searching, I like the fact that Google will rank ads higher based on the quality of the landing page.

As an advertiser, I worry that it was already confusing on figuring out why I was showing up where my ad is showing up, and this is another factor to consider. I also worry that Google will understand my landing pages and think they’re quality. Even though they have guidelines, it’s still open for interpretation.

Greg Yardley theorizes this is a direct attack on arbitrageurs who buy cheap Adwords ads to drive traffic to their pages that are full of ads that may make them more money then they spent. This move will make them pay more to get higher rankings and traffic, thus squeezing or eliminating their margins.

I think Greg is probably right, while I also think they probably do care about the quality of landing pages for their ads to some extent. Part of their success has been matching interested consumers with the products and services they’re looking for.

Greg then asks:

I wonder – will we ever reach a point where the complexity and opacity of AdWords frustrates the majority of advertisers to the point where they say ‘to hell with it, I’m moving to a system where the third-highest bid always results in the third-highest ad’?

I think that’s doubtful unless people stop seeing results. As long as Google as the traffic and provides the leads and sales, the people will deal with the system. However, that doesn’t mean they should make it any more difficult then they have to, as I’ve always though part of their success was because Adwords was easier to use than Overture/Yahoo Search.

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