Over on the Adwords blog Google has just posted a response to all the uproar over the most recent landing page quality update, most specifically this one. I’ll save you the effort of reading the actual post and summarize it up with one word, horse-poop.
Can a page that has a high CTR or conversion rate be considered a poor quality landing page?
In short, yes. Though the Quality Score incorporates the CTR of your keyword, when our system is specifically evaluating your landing page quality, it does not consider the CTR of your keywords or any conversion tracking or Google Analytics data in the account. Instead, it’s focused on the actual content and relevance of your landing page to a user who clicks on your ad and ends up on your site. It is well worth noting that not all ads with a high CTR provide a good experience for users. For example, an ad may promote a new home for sale in San Francisco for the query ‘San Francisco homes’, but after clicking on the ad, the user is taken to a page that shows houses in Seattle. This is not a particularly good experience for the user — but the ad itself could still be highly relevant to the keyword, and thus is likely to have a high CTR.
So essentially what Google is saying that one part of their algorithm is completely independent from the other and even though your ad has a huge CTR and a great conversion rate (see this threadwatch link), if you do not have enough content you will be penalized for having a low quality landing page. You must conform to what Google say is a good quality landing page or else pay more, innovation be damned!
I know what you are thinking and I agree, it is completely bogus. As the second smartest PPC guy I know says “I wish we had somewhere else to spend our client’s money” and “it’s total bs, how can they quantify LP quality if they don’t look at conversions?” He couldn’t be more right.