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Google’s PPC algorithm amendments

Last week, Google made the most significant amendment to its PPC algorithm in years; the implications of which will affect everyone using Google adwords (thought that would get your attention!)

Google has increased the proportion of quality score (QS) weighting that is attributed to landing page relevancy and decreased the weighting that is attributed to Click Through Rate (CTR).

Whilst CTR is still the most important factor in QS this shows a shift from just focusing on CTR to taking more heed of landing page quality (other key QS metrics include relevancy and account level QS).

This update should lead to more honest & intelligent advertising with excessive ad copy claims now having to be supported with realistic and targeted landing pages. However it should be noted that this QS ‘improvement’ does presume that targeted/ specific landing pages result in better customer experience/ conversion rates and this is not always the case as sometimes more images (hence fewer keywords on the page that helps inform Google of landing page relevance) or a homepage converts better than a specific landing page.

This algorithm move should help brands a little as at the moment comparison sites and aggregators often win ad auctions with generic landing pages whereas brands will now be rewarded if they target by specific audience types and serve customers with a super targeted landing page.

This amendment will also help pre qualified ad proponents e.g. stay dates, product prices, sizes, product requirements, etc as prequalification always hits CTR and thus shoots up the CPC. Whilst the fact that pre qualification will still impact QS and thus increase CPC’s it should happen to a lesser degree with the up weighting of landing page relevance.

In summary we need to see closer working relationships between PPC departments and the data/ analytics teams (more digging around in Google Analytics for landing page insight), UX specialists (conversion rate optimisation and text integration)  and SEO experts (think keyword/ page optimisation) if QS and ad rank are to be maximised.