Load Time Confirmed As AdWords Quality Score & New Category Exclusion Feature

Google has confirmed that they will be adding page load time as a quality score metric in the near future. The feature will go live in the “next few weeks,” but it won’t impact your quality score right away. A month after the metric goes live, Google will then implement the grade into the overall quality score. I still have a few questions pending answers from Google on this topic and hope to postscript this post when I get the answers.

Google also enhanced the site exclusion feature in AdWords by breaking out a way to also exclude by category. The Inside AdWords blog announced the new feature allows advertisers to “exclude certain categories of webpages from your content network campaigns in addition to excluding individual sites.”

For the category exclusion feature, Google uses their contextual engine to determine the page type or topic. You can then, as an advertiser, exclude topics and page types based on your preference. Here are pictures of the new exclusion features:

Google AdWords New Site and Category Exclusion

Google AdWords New Site and Category Exclusion

Postscript: Here is my Q&A with Google, paraphrased:

(1) Question: What if a site has server issues and goes down? What technology do you have to retest the page? We know that Google updates the quality score monthly; if the quality score bot stumbles onto a page that is slow due to server issues, will they have to wait a whole month to improve their QS?

Answer: Landing page load time is computed using the average of several visits to a landing page, so one excessively slow visit will not hurt the loading time score of an otherwise fast-loading landing page.

(2) Question: When is this going live? Answer: In about a month – we’ll post a follow-up to the Inside AdWords blog

(3) Question: Do you have screen captures of the page load score that is mentioned in the FAQ? Answer: Not available yet

(4) Question: How many seconds is considered a bad page load time? Answer: Our goal is to encourage advertisers with landing pages that are excessively slow to speed up their sites. It’s not possible to provide an exact number of seconds above which we would consider a site to load “slowly,” since we adjust for regional and country differences in average load times.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: AdWords

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About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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