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How the Google Quality Score Affects the Performance of Your AdWords Ads
Those in the search engine marketing industry know the Quality Score; it is a rating that Google uses to determine the success of keywords used on an ad or account. What many do not realize is that this rating can have a large impact on the rest of a marketing campaign. Unfortunately, these problems caused by a bad score are complicated, and can often not be solved by simply exchanging keywords.
Successful solutions usually need to be very broad-sweeping and require solid knowledge of the campaign, as well as of Google AdWords ads in general. This guide will aid you in understanding the factors that influence the Google Quality Score and identify misconceptions you may have about it. It also provides a checklist of actions that can be undertaken to increase the Quality Score of an ad or account.
What Is the Quality Score?
In the simplest words, the AdWords Quality Score is a numeric rating given to a keyword; a number between 1 and 10 tells the advertiser how relevant Google thinks its keywords, ads and landing pages are when combined.
What Does the Quality Score Do?
The Quality Score can influence the ‘Cost Per Click’ (CPC); if an account has a low score, then the CPC is higher than it would be for owners with accounts that have a higher score. It should be noted however, that the CPC can vary from keyword to keyword. Observing this effect immediately, therefore, can be difficult. Instead, the advantage of a high Quality Score unfolds over time.
Having a high Quality Score may also result in obtaining a higher ad rank. This makes the ad more visible compared to those of the competition. It is therefore worth to take a professional approach to creating AdWords ads, as you will benefit twice under these circumstances: both from the expertise of professionals in writing the ads and from the rewards awarded to you by Google.
In short: a high Quality Score increases the success of a campaign and simultaneously reduces its costs. If the CPC is lower, the cost per conversion is also lower, which increases your profit margin. Conversely, a low Quality Score can harm business by making ads invisible if the competition is high.
How Does the Quality Score Come About?
Google is not usually very accommodating when it comes to disclosing their criteria for ratings. However, quite a bit is known about the Quality Score, with the most important factors being:
According to Hal Varian, Google’s chief economist, the CTR has the largest influence on the Quality Score. With that being said, individuals are still debating whether 30% to 60% is made up of it. This means that the more Internet users click on your ad quickly when they see it, the better it ranks in the Quality Score. If users stay on your site for an extended period of time, and because they actually find what they are looking for, you could receive additional rewards.
Note, however, that the CTR is more complex than it appears at first glance; it takes into account the history and current competitive level of each keyword, meaning that a keyword with a low CTR can still achieve a high quality score.
When creating an ad, Google will tell you what CTR it expects it to have. A rating of “below average” should encourage you to further adapt the text of the ad to the selected keywords in order to better address potential customers.
Relevance of the Ad to the Search Term
How relevant an ad is to the search term is a determining factor for its future success. If, as mentioned above, the ad text and keywords do not fit together well, potential customers remain skeptical and you run the risk of losing your chance.
Here, too, Google offers support: you can also look up how relevant Google expects your ad to be. If the determined relevance is “insufficient”, you should narrow down your keywords and ad text to better fit the subject. Alternatively, it could be necessary to break up a group of ads that cover too broad a subject range.
Quality of the Landing Page
The ad is only the first step in a longer process.
If a potential customer is to become an actual customer, your landing page must then convince them to buy your service or product. Google is aware of this, so this factor is included in the Quality Score.
What makes a landing page valuable is primarily the usability and design. Is the website easy to navigate? Is it easy to get an offer or place an order? Is the site appealingly and professionally designed? If these questions can be answered with “yes”, a site is likely to convince prospective customers to buy.
Understandably, this makes Google think your ads are more relevant. After all, Internet users seem to think they are relevant. Importance should therefore be attached to user-friendliness, including fast loading times.
How Can the Quality Score Be Increased?
Of course, there are many things that can be done to increase the Quality Score of a Google AdWords account. Yet, you should not blindly do whatever you think might help. Here are the most important and effective steps you can take:
Research new keywords: get to the bottom of your keywords and discover new, relevant terms that will give you more visibility. Sort out inefficient keywords, but do not delete them, only pause them. This way, you can avoid duplication later on.
Organize existing keywords: ensure that your keywords are tied to specific campaigns and ads to which they fit exactly. Also organize related ads into campaigns to prevent keyword generalization so that your ads remain relevant.
Exclude negative keywords: you know best what works for your campaign, and also what does not. So exclude keywords that cause you loss in order to generate more profit in the future.
Rephrase the ad text: word your ad text so that it matches the style of your landing page. Use the now available extended length of the ad text to convince potential customers. Customization of a text to gear it towards a very specific target audience is also possible. All this makes your ads more effective – and with more effective ads, you generate more profit.
Optimize the landing page: as mentioned previously, the landing page is the ultimate instance of persuasion. So make sure that fast loading times, good usability, appealing design and high-quality texts make it attractive. When the ad and landing page match, you’re creating a compelling, consistent image for your customers.
Are There Different Quality Scores?
Google does not like to reveal its secrets. Accordingly, not too much is known about the different types of Quality Scores. The Quality Score for AdWords ads is best known because the user interface of the account readily gives information about it to enable users to place more successful ads.
Quality Score for Landing Pages
The Quality Score for Landing Pages linked in ads refers to the usability, only affects the ad. Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that Google also rates web pages outside of the context of AdWords – and that this rating has an influence on the ranking of the page.
It is to be expected that the criteria here will be the same as the factors Google views as signs of high-quality websites: navigability and transparency, as well as relevant and unique content. The content is a major factor: if it is current and original, your website will likely do well in a ranking. Here too, loading time and usability are very important.
Quality Score in the Display Network
The ads in the display network are separated from the AdWords ads in the search network for a good reason: they are simply viewed and rated differently by Google.
In this case, it is very important what parameters you choose to utilize for your ads. If your campaign uses a CPM model in the bidding process, your Quality Score will depend on the quality of your landing page. If, on the other hand, your campaign is based on a CPC model, the most important factors are the quality of the landing page and the historical CTR combined. Different ads can therefore be evaluated differently by Google.
In this case, it is recommended to test which ad types work best for you. On certain campaigns, image ads may work better than responsive ads. Finding the right ad type can significantly improve the quality and success of your marketing.
Mobile Quality Score
If an account it set up in a particular way, Google treats users with PCs and on mobile devices the same. However, this is not necessary and also not always profitable: if they are separated in the rating, a mobile phone user’s location can be taken into account.
Since the last update, ads can now display the locations, stock levels and opening hours of stores. Users of mobile devices can then be tracked to see whether they have made local purchases after having seen the ad. In this way, successes that the Quality Score would otherwise not have considered can be credited to you.
Misunderstandings About the Quality Score
A value as complex as the Quality Score can easily be misunderstood – and it happens often.
Since these mistakes cost money, they should, of course, be avoided. Here is a list of the things that people most often get wrong:
1. The influence of keywords
As far as keywords are concerned, more is not necessarily better. Specifically, relevant keywords are highly likely to achieve a higher Quality Score. On the other hand, inaccurate keywords, can negatively affect the score of an ad. Therefore, it is important not to try to artificially increase the score by simply adding more keywords.
If you find an inefficient keyword, it is a good idea to pause it. If you delete it, and then later decide to add it to the campaign again, Google may see it as a duplicate and simply not count it; paused keywords and ads, on the other hand, do not affect the quality score.
2. Mutual influence of different ads
It is often thought or hoped that a great Quality Score of individual ads can positively influence the rest of an account. This is not the case.
The display network and the search network have no influence on each other, because they are so different; instead of hoping that a few good ads might boost your account, make an effort to improve them all.
3. Higher rankings mean higher Quality Scores
Since higher Quality Scores can lead to higher positions in the ranking, it is quite reasonable to presume that higher positions also mean a higher Quality Score. However, that does not mean that this is the case.
The Quality Score is used, among other things, to slightly adjust the success of certain ads. Those who bid higher also appear higher in the ranking. With that being said, advertisements that you pay more for, does not ensure that they are better. As a result, that means that you can still rank well with ads created by a professional, even if your budget is small.
4. An old account guarantees a higher quality score
No one quite knows where this idea comes from. What is known, however, is that it is incorrect. All accounts are created equally, so ads on different accounts have the same chances if they are of the same quality.
5. The Quality Score is the most important thing in SEA
Of course, the Quality Score is important, and it can support you in your marketing activities. But it is not the perfect system to recognize a successful ad. The best indicator for this is still the profit you make. A high Quality Score does not automatically mean that you earn more money. So while you should use it, you should also not give it top priority.
Professional AdWords Ads Thanks to Professional Help
Perhaps you read this article with a sinking stomach. You are not alone in this: numerous businesses today feel overwhelmed by search engine marketing. Increasing precision in the field leads to increasing complexity. Yet, that does not have to be a problem.
Professional online marketing agencies, including AdPoint GmbH, offer full-service marketing. If you are taking advantage of such a service, you can concentrate on your daily business, while experts operate your SEA and thereby increase your visibility and profits.
As managing director of AdPoint GmbH, Felix Wenzel is a sought-after Google AdWords expert. He has been published and has been certified multiple times. In addition to managing the AdWords accounts of many satisfied customers, he actively educates others by having lead over 150 seminars in the past two years, many of which were for Google.
AdPoint GmbH – Agentur für digitale Werbung und Google AdWords
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