Category Archives: PPC – Adwords

Quality Score – AdWords Optimization

Quality Score - Adwords Optimization
Serve Better Ads

To make the paid ads more relevant in search results, Google implemented the AdWords Quality Score Attribute / algorithm. No longer is the number 1 ad position given to the highest bidder for a specific keyword / phrase.

It might be possible Google was also trying to cut down on the practice of brand name keyword arbitrage. Because you can basically bid on any keyword, but are not allowed to use Trademark names in your ads, Your QS goes into the toilet, dragging your whole campaign with it, keyword cost go up discouraging this practice.

Quality score can be driven down by different variables, even when your doing everything right! Of course a seasoned AdWords manager can quickly observe CTR for a given keyword, and check the bounce rate for the same keyword in Google Analytics to determine the true quality of a keyword.

Lets quickly define doing everything right:

Keyword your bidding on appears in the ad copy on the first or second line, the keyword is in your landing page title, and on the landing page a few times, you know the ad is good because your CTR is good, and people who visit the page for that keyword via paid search don’t bounce, or your bounce rate is under X%.

If you doing everything right but your Quality Score is in the 3 and 4 range don’t panic, but check to see if you:

  • Have any other campaigns in your account with low keyword scores like; 2’s or 3’s. Your keywords have to match the ad copy and landing page, that goes for singular versions and plural. Either make changes to your ads, tittle… or move keyword to a new ad group.
  • Make sure your CTR are good… Low CTR’s will negatively affect your QS. Try testing a new ad to improve CTR’s.

Quality Score Ranking Factors Include:

  • CTR
  • Ad copy relevance
  • Landing page relevance
  • Current and historical Account keyword quality Score / performance.

CTR – Ad Copy Relationship

We talked about how to improve CTR by trying or testing new / more compelling ad copy. Ad copy has to stand out – few corporate PPC management techs will bother to do this check- They know the best headline to use, compelling tag line… the problem is- so does everyone else, so you look at a SERP for your keyword and all the headlines match. Try reading Seth Godins book “Purple Cow” or check out his blog Seth Godin for ideas about how to stand out.

Make sure you use the ad preview tool under the tools and analysis tab in the campaign management software to check on ad copy, no need to lower your own CTR’s!! New customers are so blow away by their name being on the first page of the SERP’s they constantly perform searches, try to discourage this. But no matter what you say, they will do searches, and most will even click their ad costing themselves money just to prove it’s working.

Ad Copy

Ad copy relevance we discussed, and is simple, use the words in you copy – plural or singular, think about putting all singular keywords in their own ad group. Be original –

Landing Page Relevance

Again we talked about this already, but as Anthony Robbins always says “repetition is the mother of skill”… And I can expand a bit…Make sure keywords are in the first three words of the page tittle, on the page at least three times (top, middle, and bottom). Put keyword in an image alt field, and bold the keyword text once on the page. Sounds a lot like On-page SEO, hmmm.

If you are not in charge of the webdesign or SEO too – you may run into some headwinds from other departments. I hope for your sake there is someone with a wide view managing the SEM and integrating all elements into a cohesive strategy.

One last thought – Don’t expect to see immediate results after optimizing your campaign and landing page, which brings me to my next point.

Historical Account Performance

Once everything is cleaned up and your campaigns are optimized you will have to wait. Google wants to see better performance before they bump up your keyword quality score rankings.

Myth: By bidding a lot of money to be first on the SERP it will improve your CTR and improve your quality scores. This is a bogus myth, probably started by Google, but definitely propagated by people that don’t know what they are talking about.

If you made it this far, please share in the comments, and follow me on twitter @Inform_Local

Written by Michael Kern

Google’s Greed

Google Get Your Greedy Hands Off My Client

Google has been reviewing all new AdWords accounts, or at least accounts that redeem a coupon for a free $100.00 of AdWords spend. Then an “AdWords Expert” will email the new client, telling them they looked over their new account and seen “potential for improvements”, and that they can help, essentially saying it looks like the campaign you just paid someone set up for you, should be optimized by a “real expert”, and that your agency is apparently doing something wrong!

Letter Sent To My Client From Google AdWords Team

adwords letter to my new client

In football jargon this is a major C’on Man!

How can Google make suggestions and point out “potential” improvements without understanding the clients goals? I believe I am fulfilling a much needed service to very small businesses, that would be better off leaving their PPC campaign for me to run.

Could very small businesses get more leads if they spent more money? Of course, but some are selling services with tight margins, and looking for maximum return on investment.

Client Goals For Paid Search

Not concerned with growing brand, only attracting potential clients close to his location that are ready to hire. Looking for maximum return on investment.

AdWords Client Campaign Set-up

We targeted keywords deep in the buying cycle, targeting a 25 mile radius around clients Geo-graphical area, negative keywords include: how to, videos, instructions, employment, etc… Ad copy also tends to discourage the do-it-your-selfers (DIY), and information seekers from clicking the ads.

Google interprets low volume and especially low click through rates as a failure.

There is of course plenty of DIY information on the website for seo purposes, but I don’t want my client paying for traffic that is unlikely to convert. We could of course design content to convert information seekers and the DIY, but with a small budget I feel obligated to go after the lower hanging fruit – which is of course people ready to hire my client.

Thank you Google, but three views and zero clicks is exactly the look I’m going for, put plainly I’m cherry picking!

Do Low Click Through Rates Sound The Death Rattle Of The Inexperienced PPC Manager?

To a customer who doesn’t know the difference between CTR and QS, I believe it looks like they have tied their wagon up to a dead horse. After all, who should know more about Google than Google?

I’m A Skeptic Turned Cynic

I personally believe in the long run it would be in Google’s best interest to keep me (AdWords Management Agency) out there convincing people to try AdWords, and helping clients be successful, than to encourage people to go it alone.

Google must believe more money will be made by people – trying AdWords – failing – and quitting, than by building a successful campaign where the client is successful and continues to spend money on ads. Why else would they undermine their affiliates (I am a sad member of their Google Engage program).

I once believed in Google, thought it was great company, but the shine has come off the apple, and I see them for what they are – Responsible stock holders looking out for them-selves alone.

Written by Michael Kern