I reported a couple of days ago about Googles new landing page quality update and criticised the lack of transparency in Googles methods for these.

Andrew Goodman has already voiced his concerns regarding Googles lack of transparency and it seems the new update has brought about further debate over at Threadwatch.

A threadwatch member, Graywolf has published some interesting statistics which highlight the lack of understanding we currently have in how Google determine landing page quality and its direct correlation with the minimum bid you are forced to pay. Remember, landing page quality does not effect your ad rank, it only determines your minimum cpc.

In this particular case a keyword has a 11% CTR and 41% conversion rate, which to anyone would seem to be performing very well – Yet this keyword has been forced with a high minimum cpc with the latest update. Now remember, Googles landing page quality score is there to help improve user experience, is this really whats happening with a 41% conversion rate? It would suggest not.

Does the landing page algo have problems or are we witnessing Google using the lack of transparency as a tool to just increase their revenue?

Whichever way you look at it, with the complete lack of transparency, Google are able to pretty much do as they please without the fear of repercussion under what it can deem as a landing page quality score update – rather than just a hike in bid prices.

Danny Sullivan went a little further with his thoughts;

you told them your conversion rate?!!! Plenty of people have been paranoid that if Google say conversion rates, Google would push up the prices on things that work. It’s not hard to think that if they see a term getting lots of clicks (number 1 pulled twice number 2) and a high conversion and a low CPC, up the CPC. Not saying this is happening, but with even less transparency, I think it gives people even less reason to want Google to see what their conversion rates off. Might be interesting to track your conversion outside their system and see if that stops those type of changes.

So what do we think? Is this really in the users best interests? Or is this a charade for Google to make even more profits

If Google is really after the MFA sites and arbitragers, why does it not just try and enforce its polices properley?

  • No Google ad may be placed on any non-content-based pages.
  • No Google ad or Google search box may be displayed on any domain parking websites, pop-ups, pop-unders, or in any email
  • No Google ad may be placed on pages published specifically for the purpose of showing ads, whether or not the page content is relevant.

Well, Shoemoneys latest post explains

“Keep in mind Google is not going to stop letting you do this… They are just going to charge you more cause of your “quality score”. There is just to much money to be made right now in arbitrage and Google wants a bigger slice.”

More conversation on this over at the SEW forums.