This has been such a debate throughout the years. Whether it is with a client or within your company, landing pages and the quality of them and how this impacts your paid search marketing has always been something that has been talked about yet nobody really has had a good answer. Google has made this much easier now to find this out by telling you!
Landing Page Quality – How Do I Know?
Google wants your landing pages to be relevant, ulta relevant to the paid search keywords and ad. They want this so that you convert higher and want to spend more money while limiting any click fraud settlements they have to make. Most industry experts have always said if your search quality score for a keyword (or ad group) has been a 1 out of 10 there must be some kind of violation going on. I really do not subscribe to this theory because many keywords within a poorly structured ad group can give you a QS of 1 yet the overall health of the ad group is good. Google has not been very transparent about this and it has left you guessing as to why. Take a look at the screenshot below:
Notice how it clearly tells you? NICE! You have no idea how many “discussions” I have had with people about how landing pages are causing higher CPCs via bad quality scores. Now they tell you which is which. If you’ve violated an actual Google policy, you’ll get a “site suspended” notice.
My Landing Page Shows No Violation – Now What?
This is where you need to stop and re-evaluate you entire paid search marketing strategy! It starts with your keywords, flows to the ad reads, and converts on the landing page. If you have not adopted a paid search strategy that looks at these key elements as a whole, it is now the time to start! First thing you need to do is is review Google’s terms of service for landing pages at: http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/static.py?hl=en&guide=28439&topic=30210&page=guide.cs . Then I would dive deep into your paid search campaign and find where you are doing the right and wrong things! From here you can make changes and optimize.
Google’s offical announcement is located at: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2011/04/more-clarity-in-adwords-for-advertisers.html.