Maximise Your Adwords Quality Score

Nothing amazes me more than the incredibly poorly implemented campaigns that we regularly compete with in Google Adwords. OK, some campaigns are implemented at a very high level by the end user. The user establishes a basic campaign and pays through the nose for ineffective “head” keywords that don’t convert to business. But they save some money by not paying a search marketing agency like SearchVista. In the process they make Google very happy … and wealthy. But at least they get some some leads so that’s fine. I can live with that.

What I don’t like to see is the shambolically implemented campaigns put in place by so-called search marketing experts who “take the money and run” and trade off the fact that almost irrespective of how badly your campaign is implementated, Google will find some leads for you. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great for SearchVista and for our clients, but I don’t like to see companies being fleeced and paying through the nose when their ads should be appearing in a higher position for a lower cost, thereby stretching their budget further and making their business grow more. And it’s all down to Quality Score. The only thing that winds me up more is the “We’ll get you to the top of Google for 3 phrases for only £100 per month” brigade. If you don’t know why that’s a scam the then contact me now. I’ll tell you how it works and you can stop wasting your money. Or I should say, how it doesn’t work for the customer!

What is Quality Score?

Adwords evaluates a ‘Quality Score’ for every keyword in a campaign by analysing several key factors to measure the relevance of keyword to ad text and to a user’s search query. Quality Score is updated regularly and is a hugely valuable weapon in the armoury of the successful search marketeer due to the close relationship between Quality Score and performance of the keyword within Adwords. Ad Creative for keywords with a high Quality Score appear in a higher position for a lower cost-per-click (CPC). So you could be paying 50p per click at number 2 position and getting 50 clicks per day (cost £25), whilst your competitor at number 3 may be paying £0.80 per click and getting only 20 clicks (cost £16). And all because you maximised your ad quality score because you know what you’re doing in Adwords.

Quality Score is calculated each time a keyword matches a user search query, ie every time a keyword has the potential to trigger an ad. A high quality score has the following benefits:

  • reduces actual cost per click
  • affects the volume of ads appearing on the first page of search results
  • allows a keyword to enter the ad auction that occurs for each user search
  • affects the ad slot in which your ad will appear

Generally, higher Quality Score means lower ad costs and better ad positions. It’s all about Google making sure that their all-important users see the most relevant ads.

The only way to improve Quality Score is by optimisation of your account. Make sure that all ad groups contain descriptive ads and that they all advertise the same thing and that keywords closely relate to the ads in any given ad group.

Organise campaigns by subject
Create separate campaigns for each of product or service. This facilitates effective management and development of campaign performance. Structure your campaign based on this goal.

Languages and locations
Make sure that you only target the languages and locations that are relevant for your business.

Create specific ad groups
Make sure that your ads reach targeted users by creating a dedicated adgroup for every product or service. Separate keywords into related groups. Create ads that pertain directly to those keywords.

Avoid duplicate keywords
It is incredibly easy to generate a situation where you’re bidding against yourself. A lot of these problems are caused when mixing Broad, Phrase and Exact match keywords and this requires careful planning. Or better still execution by experts like SearchVista.

Choose keywords carefully.
Only go for keywords that directly relate to the theme of your adgroup and landing page. It’s fine to include relevant keyword variations, along with singular and plural versions. Try to avoid broad match where possible once your campaign is well optimised.

Use unique URLs and dedicated landing pages
Destination URLs should send users to a specific landing page that is also optimised for the search terms. In an ideal world you would have a landing page for every single search term. Landing pages are great because having taken the time to build them, they then generally generate high positions in the natural search results, particularly if your website has a reasonable pagerank.

Include keywords in your ad text.
Including your keywords in the text of the ad is a very good thing for relevance and therefore for quality score. The keyword will appear in bold in the ad text which maximised clicks. Make your ads stand out however you can and use a strong call-to-action. Then test multiple ads to find which one work best.

And never forget that ultimately, it’s your landing page and your website that determine how well your ads convert to business, so make sure it’s designed with your users’ needs in mind.

Use Web Analytics to evaluate campaign performance
There’s no better way to work out what needs to be done to optimise a campaign that monitoring the whole process end-to-end. And for that you’ll need an analytics package such as Google Analytics. SearchVista deploy Google Analytics for every client routinely as part of our Paid Search management solution.

Try different bidding options.
If your campaign is eligible for the Conversion Optimiser, this feature can help you increase your conversions and decrease your cost-per-acquisition.