AdWords Landing Page Quality Score Causing Epidemic

Jul 12, 2006 • 10:26 am | comments (11) by twitter | Filed Under Google AdWords

Recently, Google's Internet marketing platform AdWords underwent a fundamental change in its algorithm that determines ad position and cost. The new system greatly increases the importance of the landing page that visitors are directed to from an advertisement. This part of the ranking/cost algorithm dubbed the "quality score" is causing an epidemic of complaints on Search Engine Marketing forums everywhere.

At WebMasterWorld Forums, a member shows a 2000% increase in cost, and discussion indicates this is directly attributed to the quality of the landing page. Later in the thread, a test shows a ten-fold increase when the same page is moved to a different URL.

A Digital Point Forums thread has a member claiming that a large amount of minimum bids were raised to $10, but that most of these were seemingly targeted to "Made For AdSense" sites (MFA's). "Some legitimate sites have been hit," however. One member states

My average CPC increased 20% from yesterday to today. My average position dropped (significantly)...This AdWords update is gonna cost me a few thousand dollars per month

A monster thread at WMW also discusses these topics in detail, and one member this morning complains

An algo that cannot differentiate between an ecommerce site and an MFA cannot be good and has to be flawed...So my main keyword has been hiked 400% and is no longer cost effective for me.

Seems as if Johnson and Johnson may need to come up with a new version of Alka Seltzer specifically formulated for AdWords/AdSense advertisers! Join the discussion or catch up on the epidemic at any of the threads above, and feel free to post links to further related threads in the comments.

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Brandon Hopkins

07/12/2006 03:28 pm

Of course it is causing an epidemic. My margins are already tight in some fields and this will push them into the red and I'll have to stop some campaigns to stay ahead.


07/12/2006 04:24 pm

It's great, thanks Google, you just encouraged loads more businesses down the SEO route. Barry - You might be interested in a topic we have been discussing for a while "cutting off the long tail", something Chris Anderson probably didn't see coming when he penned his book.

chris boggs

07/12/2006 06:45 pm

another thread at SEW seems to be part of the epidemic...


07/12/2006 09:04 pm

PS. I was being sarcastic in my last comment, but in reality that is the inevitable outcome of this rediculous decision by Google. So from an agency perspective there are pros and cons.


07/12/2006 09:09 pm

digg this!


07/13/2006 08:29 am

It makes sense that Google is doing this. They are tired of all the automated contentless landing pages designed for AdSense arbitrage. I am not thrilled about it but you can't cry wolf when this future was written months ago by many Internet marketers who saw this writing on the wall. I don't do any of this AdSense miracle work myself so I am not affected but I can empathize well with those who are making money this way. I have to stick to the old methods of making something and selling it for now. I won't tell you what I do so you don't think this is a spam posting though. If you care to know, check out my site.


07/21/2006 07:16 am

Number 1 in organic Google results but not allowed to advertise! (sounds evil) The travel products compared on my website give a number 1 ranking in the organic Google results (flightticket in our language). For the related keywords adwords does not allow me to advertise!...... History: I started a price comparing service long before Google Adwords existed. No income, just months of programming work to make an automated system. Consumer associations have praised the website. After a few years the companies that profited from my website offered payment through affiliate links. What have I done wrong Google?


08/23/2006 04:34 am

In some of the areas we run PPC campaigns I see the top advertisers still running no-content (non-MFA) sales only pages. So either 1. They are paying more and taking a profit margin hit. 2. They are not reviewed yet (what a Googler told me today when I was trying to see what was wrong with my ads) or 3. They have so much other "uplifting" scoring mechanisms that the low quality score barely effects maybe a long history with Google or some other factor that does not hurt the's of the net. Do you think Amazon's millions of Google ads for " Buy dead babies on Amazon" have really been hiked up 1000%? I think not. Another example of the Golden Rule. The question is does the handful of "Amazon's" revenue outweigh in value the tons of small internet entrepreneurs that have been hurt? I have worked at software companies that did not really know who sold their products and turned on their channel and a quarter later their revenues showed it. To be continued Evil Google! M$R


10/22/2006 11:57 pm

I, for one, am very happy at Google new policy. Before, the person with the most money got the higher ad position. Now, even people like me with limited finance, can rank higher than someone paying more per click. Stop complaining, group your keywords, split test your ads and get a high click through rate and pay less per click. Yeah some keywords are competitive and you pay more for it, but ive found for all my campaigns if i think hard enough i can find keywords that no one has thought of and only pay 5c for it

Elvis McNeely

11/20/2006 07:19 am

Hi, I have been blogging over this landing page issue for a few months now. On the last algo change it actually went into my favor for one of my sites. Anway, I thought some of you might be interested in reading up on it. Thanks


05/20/2007 12:18 am

I don't get it My site is I targeted the key words No Reserve and noreserve. They both went to 10 bucks in the first 2 hours of my campaign. For the first 2 hours it was running great around 14 cents then it just turned off. You would think google would want to make the money.How do I target any better than that?

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