By way of their AdWords blog, Google just announced that they will be penalizing companies whose landing pages load slowly; it will become an additional factor into Quality Score. Essentially, if you receive a low Quality Score as a result of a slow landing page you’ll receive higher minimum bids (it’ll cost you more).
Here’s their reasoning for adding load time criteria:
“Two reasons: first, users have the best experience when they don’t have to wait a long time for landing pages to load. 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. Second, users are more likely to abandon landing pages that load slowly, which can hurt your conversion rate.”
Naturally, I see a lot of value in this – as we are an agency focused on the user experience. It seems like such a natural thing to weight this along with other criteria, and it will certainly improve the AdWords experience for the end user.
However, this does mean that folks – and their agencies – using AdWords need to pay some attention to their load times. Now, Google is giving you a chance to improve before they toss penalties at you. They will be offering time evaluations and providing a huge 30-day window to make adjustments.