Google recently released a new whitepaper claiming to shed new light on how AdWords calculates the Quality Score of your campaigns. The biggest draw to the whitepaper, titled Settling the (Quality) Score, was that is was to share “Six Things that Matter (and Don’t) When it Comes to Quality”. However, as initial feedback from the search industry suggested, Google’s comments are not exactly straight forward. Below I will breakdown my two Key Take Aways from the Google resource, Settling the (Quality Score).
The Structure of Your Account Doesn’t Matter…Unless You Disagree with Google.
“Set up your account in whatever way lets you manage it best.” – Google
Key Take Away: Technically, the structure of your account will not affect the Quality of your campaigns, so long as your structure adheres to the AdWords practice of similarities. That is, your Ad Groups should contain extremely similar keywords and deriving from those keywords should be ad copy that is extremely similar and always has the Ad Group’s main keywords in the headline. I’ve found it best practice for ad groups to include a bare minimum of two identical words in every keyword (you may have a broad keyword that is only one word, but that is fine. Just make sure you place that keyword in the closest Ad Group possible). My example follows:
Sale - Discount Sofas – Search
(should contain keywords and variations that include discount sofa, such as)
[discount sofas], [discount sofa beds], [prices on discount sofas], +discount +sofas, +discount +sofa +prices
Keywords like [sofas on sale] or [discount couches] will deliver better results in separate Ad Groups)
Focus On The Big 3 (There’s nothing wrong with not being a 10)
This was the point in the document where Google halfheartedly admits that it has been leading advertisers down the wrong path for quite some time. We’ve all been there, looking at our account in a state of discontent because we’ve done everything we believe is best practice, yet many of our keyword Quality Scores are mere 7s out of 10. Well, Google has finally encouraged us to take a step back and look at things from a broader point of view, referring to your Quality Score components: ad relevance, expected CTR, and landing page.
Key Take Away: Google is now saying, do not work to increase your Quality Score, but let your Quality Score work to increase the success of your account. Using my example of +google +analytics +agencies, if your expected CTR is “above average”, and the other two are “average”, but you don’t have immediate resources to change the content of your landing page, focus on ad relevance. You can use the tactics I mentioned earlier to focus on tightening your Ad Groups and keywords to better match what people are searching for. Below is how Google recommends using Quality Score as a optimization tool:
• Look through your high-value keywords and use Quality Score to identify the ones that are lagging behind.
• Use low Quality Scores to find components (or trends across components) that are doing worse than in other places in your account, and set priorities for improvement
• Remember that even if your score is 8, 9 or 10, you may still be able to improve your results. A Quality Score of 10 won’t go up if you improve an already above average clickthrough rate, but your performance and results can still get better.
Final Thought: When AdWords tells you to make your information as relevant as possible, it often means make it as similar and simple as possible. Doing this will comply with Google’s best practice methodology. Complying with their best practice can result in greatly reduceing your CPC, therefore giving you better positioning than your competitors, additional sitelinks, and most importantly increasing your Return On Ad Spend.
You can read the entire Settling the (Quality) Score whitepaper here