If your landing pages are taking too long to load up, then potential customers are going to get restless and may choose to click on another link.

This is even more important since Google decided to include landing page load times in its Quality Score criteria earlier this year, meaning that advertisers pay more for poorly performing pages.

This means that you need to test the loading speed of your landing pages, to see if there are any issues you need to deal with.

AlertSite has just released a useful tool for AdWords advertisers to test the performance of landing pages. Simply type in the landing page URL, and you get a report which details response time, as in this example for gocompare:

Landing page speed

As well as giving landing page load time, 1.7 seconds in the case of gocompare's ad, it also give details of the time it takes to redirect, as well as DNS lookup time.

So what if your landing page is too slow?

There are a number of steps you can take to improve page load time, as well as reducing your AdWords costs. Here are a few tips:

  • Compress images

    This is a good way of losing a few kilobytes from your website and reducing the overall load time - compressing images can reduce the file size by 50% or more.

  • Beware of FlashYour Flash powered landing page may be responsible for slow load times, and it makes it harder for the AdsBot to read your page, so removed any unecessary use of Flash.

  • Avoid third party content on landing pages

    Putting third party content on a landing page can mean that a delay from any provider prevents the page from being fully loaded, and gives you a slower load time.

    This can include tracking tags from analytics providers or ads served via networks, so avoid this where possible.

  • Use video content with caution

    As with using too many images, or Flash elements, video content may be useful for converting visitors but it can also slow load times.

Related research:
Paid Search Marketing (PPC) - Best Practice Guide

Related stories:
Ten tips for product landing pages
Five ways to speed up your website

Graham Charlton

Published 5 June, 2008 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is editor in chief at SaleCycle, and former editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin.

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