Google's Plan To Penalize Advertisers Whose Websites Load Slowly Will Benefit Consumers And Google
from the now-less-irritating dept
News.com points out that Google is planning to measure the time it takes to load the target pages for its ads, and penalize ads that point to slow-loading pages in AdWords auctions. Ads that point to websites that pop right up will be ranked above those that load like molasses. I think this is not only a great idea, but a good illustration of why Google has been so successful in recent years. As we've noted before, one of Google's great strengths has been its relentless focus on improving the user experience, even when doing so might not help the bottom line in the short run. One of the ways Google does this with its ads is by prioritizing relevance over cost-per-click: Google shows you the ads it thinks you're likely to click on before the ones with the highest bids.
The payoff for Google is that over time, people begin to subconsciously associate the Google brand with a fast, clean, efficient user experience. Most user don't specifically notice that Google's ads are more relevant or its pages load a half-second faster. They just begin to feel that Google sites are generally less annoying than other sites. An extreme example of the opposite phenomenon is About.com, which I've learned to avoid it like the plague (despite the fact that it often has relevant information) because every time I click on an About page my screen seems to fill up with pop-up ads. Another example is mainstream sites like Forbes and Salon that make you watch a full-page ad before they'll show you the content you asked for. These policies goose revenues in the very short term, but at the expense of making it less likely that users will come back in the future. In contrast, by giving preference to advertisers with quick-loading websites, Google will be ensuring that users who click on ads find the experience as painless as possible -- and therefore, more likely to click on ads in the future.