Mar 6, 2008 114 reads by Navneet Kaushal

Recently, a WebmasterWorld thread found a new Google AdWords quality score parameter, page load time. It was a new addition and had been added to the AdWords full dump of their help section. You could have seen it where it said "How does website load time affect my landing page quality?" But now it's been removed as it was an outdated FAQ, as has been clarified by Google via AdWordsAdvisor. A snapshot of the FAQ had been taken by Barry.

Landing Page Load Time To Affect Google AdWords Quality Score!

Anyways it served to be a primer for the things to come in the next few days. This new factor for determining the quality score was supposed to be put in place just a couple of days back, it said "Beginning in February 2008." What surprised everyone was that Google didn't seem to actively spread the awareness to the folks in the industry!

Page load time refers to the time it takes for a web page to load, and is calculated in seconds. It affects your quality score negatively if your page is slow to load or when the load time is high, so it's preferable to have a less load time for your web page. It affects the quality score because it's frustrating for users to wait too long for webpages upload in their browsers. Google had asserted earlier that users are all the more important for it, see: Matt Cutts: What Should NOINDEX Do?.

But has the page load time already been used in the quality score algorithm? Well, it's a no and would only take affect several weeks after your load time grade becomes visible to you.

In order to view your load time grade, you'd need to go to your Keyword Analysis page. Furthermore, what you should expect to see on the page according to Google is:

The load time will receive one of two grades. If it's graded This page loads slowly, your landing page quality and Quality Score will be negatively affected. If it's graded No problems found, your landing page quality and Quality Score will not be affected.

You'll see the number of redirects the user is taken through after clicking your ad. Typically, the more redirects there are, the slower the load time.

We'll report the site's average load time.

We'll provide a comparison of the load time for your site versus other sites in the geographic area. Note that your load time grade is determined relative to the average in your geographical area.

Google makes use of the destination URL to measure and assess the load time. If you have assigned a keyword-level destination URL to a particular keyword, then the keyword's load time grade will be based on that URL. However, if you didn't assign a keyword-level destination URL, then the keyword's load time grade will reflect the slowest load time among the ads in the ad group.

So apparently, it's the "slowest load time" of all your ads that actually make up your load time grade score. But one might ask why would Google want to consider only the slowest time and not the average. Moreover, for what duration it's gonna affect the quality score?

There are a couple of key points that Google recommends for improving your load time:

  • Use fewer redirects.
  • Reduce the page size by using fewer, smaller, and more highly-compressed images.
  • Do not use interstitial pages.
  • Minimize the use of iframes on your landing page.
  • Contact your webmaster or webhosting provider to discuss other ways of improving your website's load time.

When it all came up blogs and forums were trying to come to terms with the discovery and appeared to be in the need of more information and clarifications.

Later, clarification did come from Google via AdWordsAdvisor

“…the key information is that this is a planned initiative that has not yet launched. A precise launch date has not yet been set,” said AdWordsAdvisor. “…and my apology for the confusion caused by the FAQ which should have been deleted, but wasn't…As an aside, now that the page load time initiative has been mentioned in this and other public forums, the Inside AdWords blog post is likely to be posted sooner rather than later – perhaps as early as this week.”

Here are the key point of clarification:

  • Landing page load time will become an additional factor in determining landing page quality in the near future. An exact date has not been determined.
  • An Inside AdWords blog post has always been planned to announce this in advance, to explain why it is occurring and outline the potential benefits to users and advertisers.
  • At some point following the blog post, landing page load time will begin to be reported on the Keyword Analysis Page.
  • Then, following that, several weeks will pass before load time starts to actually be factored into the Quality Score – so that advertisers will have time to make adjustments to their pages if they wish.
Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
Navneet Kaushal
Navneet Kaushal
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