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Google Ad Adjustment Threatens Bloated Web Pages

With Quality Scores, excessively large Web pages, or Web pages served by slow servers, will cost more to advertise.

Later this month, Google plans to begin weighing Web page load time as a factor in assigning search keyword Quality Scores, which influence ad placement on Google and Google Network pages and search keyword bid prices.

This means that ads leading to landing pages that take a long time to load will perform worse than ads linked to svelte pages.

Google said it is making this change to improve the user experience. "Interstitial pages, multiple redirects, excessively slow servers, and other things that can increase load times only keep users from getting what they want: information about your business," a Google AdWords team member named Vivian explained in a blog post Thursday. "Second, users are more likely to abandon landing pages that load slowly, which can hurt your conversion rate."

Excessively large Web pages, or Web pages served by slow servers, will also cost more to advertise. Keywords associated with ads on slow-loading pages will require a higher minimum bid than they would if associated with a page that loads quickly.

A Google spokesperson said in an e-mail that Quality Scores are relevant only for advertisers and do not influence organic search placement.

AdWords regularly re-evaluates Web page Quality Scores, so Web publishers should take steps to make sure their pages aren't too large. Options to consider include using fewer redirects and smaller images, giving up interstitial pages, and reducing the use of iFrames, which bring in content from elsewhere.

This change may also make clicking on online ads more secure because it will deter deceptive Web page construction, which often relies on redirection and iFrames to connect searchers with malicious content.

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