A WebmasterWorld thread tipped both Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Roundtable (that’s me) off on the fact that Google has added an additional quality score factor to the AdWords ranking algorithm.
The new factor is page load time. If your destination URL is a very slow loading page, then Google will give you a poor “load time grade.” The load time grade will be part of your quality score and if you have a poor load time grade, then it can impact your AdWords rankings.
The Google AdWords FAQ section has a part on “How does website load time affect my landing page quality?”
It has detailed information on this new metric. For one, it does not seem to be live just yet. Google’s FAQ said it was launched in early February, but I have seen no mention of it anywhere. In addition, Google says once you see the “load time grade,” then several weeks later that grade will impact your overall quality score. Since no one saw it yet, and I did look for it myself, it seems like we have at lease several weeks until it will have a direct impact on our ad rankings at Google.
I do have several questions about this finding. I submitted many of the questions to Google. Some of my questions include:
- What are poor load times, how many seconds?
- When will this be going live?
- What happens if a site has server issues and the AdWords crawler comes at that time, do AdWords advertisers have to wait a month for a new crawl?
I have a lot more detail about this load time grade metric at the Search Engine Roundtable, but I hope to update this post when I have more details from Google.