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:
- 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 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.
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Written by Michael Kern