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PPC tips and advice

Google AdWords Quality Scores

The Quality Score function within Google AdWords was partly developed to help improve the experience of the searcher and the cost-effectiveness of the advertiser, as well as to add additional functionality in the face of new services being launched by Microsoft adCenter and more recently by the new look Yahoo! Search Marketing management tools. The ranking position of an advert was now being determined by a number of ‘relevancy’ criteria of the landing page, as well as by the bid price and clickthrough rates for each keyword (or search term).

The problem with this was that advertisers couldn’t really see what was going on ‘under the hood’ of Google AdWords, other than how the minimum bid price was being set. However, Google has now gone some way to resolve this by providing a Quality Score column within the campaign control panel, so that advertisers can get some idea of how each search term is viewed in terms of the relevancy of their advert and landing page on their website.

This column is hidden by default, but can be displayed at the Ad Group level by selecting the ‘Customise Columns’ option. This will then show the minimum bid required for each search term and then one of 3 Quality Score levels, which are:

Great: This indicates that the keyword is very relevant and may have a high click-through rate (CTR), relevant ad text and a unique, relevant landing page. As a result, the minimum cost-per-click (CPC) bid for this keyword may be low, but may be reduced further by optimising this keyword’s Ad Group by using more targeted ad text or improving the landing page content.

OK: This keyword may not be as relevant as it could be and therefore may display a mid-range minimum CPC bid. Further optimisation of the Ad Group may be recommended to reduce the minimum bid further since this can lower the overall costs, draw more clicks to the ads and result in a better return on investment (ROI). Optimising could be achieved through more targeted ad text and keywords or improving the landing page content on the site.

Poor: This indicates that the keyword is not very relevant to users and as a result may have a very high minimum CPC bid. This can tend to happen with very general terms or those attracting low CTRs, so that the keyword may need to be deleted or replaced with a more specific or relevant term. Optimisation of the campaign may work, by lowering the minimum CPC bid, writing a more targeted, relevant ad or improving the landing page content.

These measures can therefore help advertisers to refine their campaigns and enable a quick view of the better performing terms. It may not affect your overall bid strategy if you don’t want to hold the minimum bid cost, but it can help to reduce average costs per visit over time. We’d probably like to see at least 2 more levels to create even more differentiation within the keyword performance, but this is a good start and another tool to help refine a PPC campaigns results.

This article was first published in the March 2007 edition of our monthly newsletter.

To find out more about the Quality Score measure and how it can help your Google AdWords campaign, please contact us for more details. Alternatively, please request a FREE website assessment and see what you could achieve with a successful search engine marketing campaign.