Optimizing for Google Adwords Quality Score

Google Adwords Quality Score is one of the most important metrics in a paid search campaign. Improving the Quality Score for keywords across your account is one of the best ways to reach many common campaign goals such as, increasing click through rates, reducing cost per click and improving click to lead/sale conversion rates.

Google’s definition of quality score states:

“Quality Score is an estimate of how relevant your ads, keywords, and landing page are to a person seeing your ad. Having a high Quality Score means that our systems think your ad, keyword, and landing page are all relevant and useful to someone looking at your ad. Having a low Quality Score, on the other hand, means that your ads, keywords, and landing page probably aren’t as relevant and useful to someone looking at your ad.”

In this post we review the details of how Quality Score is calculated and some tactics we use to improve Quality Score in the campaigns we manage for our clients.

Quality Score Optimization:

Below is a list of the factors Google uses to determine Quality Score. As you can see, the grand majority of the factors relate to click through rate and account structure.

  • A keyword’s historical click through rate
  • The display URL’s historical click through rate
  • The historical click through rate of the overall account
  • The quality, relevance and transparency of the landing page
  • The relevance of the keyword to the ads in its ad group
  • The average relevance of the raw keywords to the ads in its ad group (when using broad, modified broad or phrase matching)
  • Click through rates for the geographical region being targeted

These key factors reveal Google’s goals for your paid search account. Google’s number one priority is making money. Since they only make money when customers click on your ads they give priority to the keyword/ad combinations that get the highest click through rates. Their secondary goal is to maintain/increase their user base. Therefore they want to ensure that when a customer submits a search they get ads that are as relevant as possible to their search and that when they click on an ad the landing page is not deceptive/malicious or overtly inconsistent with the ad itself.

Consequently, to make the most significant impact on quality score, your attention should be placed on improving click through rates and having compliant landing pages.

Factors such as the structure of the paid search account including campaigns, keyword grouping within ad groups, ad copy and display URL have a significant impact on keyword/ad relevancy and click through rates. Specific recommendations include:

  • Ensure that ad groups are organized to include a small number of very focused and congruent keywords
  • Ensure that every ad is as relevant and specific to the adgroup keywords as possible
    • Using dynamic keyword insertion in the ad text to ensures higher relevancy and click through rate
    • Test 10-15 different ads in each ad group and eliminate those who are under performing and replace with new alternatives that build on the success of the successful ads.
  • Avoid broad matching keywords as much as possible
    • If broad match is used, raw search queries should be reviewed on a daily basis. Raw keywords that are not relevant should be converted to negative keywords and those that are relevant should be added as exact match keywords to eliminate waste and increase control over the account.
  • Keywords that are very broad should be isolated in their own ad groups so ads can be created that reduce clicks from unqualified participants while having minimal impact on the Quality Scores in the rest of the account.
    • If possible, a different display URL should be used for these broad keywords.

It is a common misconception that landing page content is one of the most important factors in driving high Quality Scores. Google, when speaking on how landing pages affect quality score, has said the following:

“Unlike Quality Score, we don’t give you a specific number that shows your landing page quality. Instead, we show you one of two statuses: No problems or Poor.

  • No problems: If you see this, you’re in good shape – your Quality Score won’t be negatively affected by your landing page quality.
  • Poor: This means that your landing page quality is in need of improvement, and your Quality Score might be lower as a result.”

Consequently, paid search landing pages should focus first on what will convert a visitor to a lead, rather than on keyword optimization.

That being said, here are some landing page compliance/quality and relevancy recommendations that will have a positive affect on quality score and conversion rates:

  • Landing page meta data (title and meta description tags) should be dynamically built based on the search query and ad copy that delivered the visitor to the page.
  • Landing page headers should be dynamically built based on the keyword and ad copy that delivered the visitor to the page.
  • Landing page body content should be easy to scan and as relevant to the ad copy and keyword as possible while maintaining normal copy flow (don’t keyword stuff).
  • Landing pages should be designed to hold the visitors attention to increase the time on page and reduce bounces.
  • Google’s policies require that landing pages must include:
    • Easy to find contact information (phone, email, address)
    • Privacy Policy Link
    • No automated redirection
    • No duplicate content from other advertisers
    • An HTML link to the company’s home page or FAQs

Hopefully these suggestions will help you continue to improve the effectiveness of your Google Adwords account. If you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@hyperxmarketing.com.

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