Google AdWords: Quality Score problems – Give a boost to your business project – Digital Marketing Tips

Question #2   What do you do to attack an account with Quality Score problems? In other words, which factors determine which ad groups/keywords you focus on first (ie Quality Score, cost, number of keywords per group, etc.)?

Andrew GoodmanAndrew Goodman: Most accounts run on what we consider a normal Quality Score profile. We glance at Quality Scores in such cases, but in no way do we “optimize” to that statistic or focus heavily on it in our detailed marketing implementations. That would be a bit akin to trying to build your business around toolbar PageRank.

If an account has Quality Score problems in isolated areas, and they’re low volume, then why worry? You can simply bid accordingly, or in grave cases, pause those keywords. They’re likely rated that poorly because of keyword intent issues. Seasoned marketers factor keyword intent into the way they build and manage accounts.

Sometimes, diffuse keyword intent is endemic to the keywords you use in your industry, especially in B2B. Patricia Hursh has a great take on that: you’re still generating high value leads at a certain cost. If your important words come up “3” on QS, don’t commit hari-kari: pay the damn money and get the lead!

Of course marketers should tighten up with all the usual best practices including negatives (exclusions) where appropriate, making good use of the search query report and other tools.

I hate to say “it goes without saying,” because I’ve been saying it so long. It’s in both editions of my book and in my previous handbook dating back to 2002: a good skeleton & proper categorization are a great start along the road to a well optimized account. Sometimes I have nicknamed the overall process “Build a Powerful Account.” If you build a powerful account, usually QS will take care of itself. You are then just going for incremental wins for that profit icing on the cake.

If a whole account is in the doghouse due to Landing Page and Website Quality issues, or it’s in a cycle of failure due to an improper (often overly broad, or lazily built, or really weak ads) build from the start, then you need to consider a complete rebuild/reset and your Google reps may even weigh in on the best direction to take — a fundamental reassessment as opposed to tweaking and losing major bucks in the tweakage process.

Brad GeddesBrad Geddes: We use two different methods for identifying areas of quality score improvement.

The first method addresses your current spend and impressions. We do a roll-up of normalized quality score at the ad group level, compare it to spend, then run it through an algorithm to determine which ad groups would benefit the most from quality score improvement. In fact, we’re launching this tool publicly soon as it will be bundled with the tool set.

The first method does not address keywords that have few impressions due to either their bids being much lower than the first page bids or due to low ad serving because of current low quality score issues. Therefore, we also examine keywords that have a QS less than 4-5 or first page bids more than 10-20% below Google’s estimate to see which one’s would gather the most conversions if their quality score issues were fixed.

Dave DavisDave Davis: The first thing we do is determine if it’s an account/site level problem (all keywords with a poor quality score) or just a small subset of keywords/ads. It’s pretty easy to diagnose between the two and there are a number of ways to tackle each. This depends on what the customer is willing to sacrifice in terms of cost, time, traffic and temporary impairment of historical CTR.

George MichieGeorge Michie: If you write targeted, compelling ad copy in the first place, grouping closely related keywords appropriately, QS shouldn’t be problematic.  If you’ve inherited an account with poor QS, obviously it’s important to prioritize based on where the money is spent.  Writing tight copy for KW and adgroups for the top 200 keywords and AdGroups has more impact sooner than tackling the problem randomly.  If the QS of the account’s “head” is already good (8+), move to the next cluster.

Larry KimLarry Kim: In diagnosing Quality Score problems, I tend to look for:

  • Low Quality Scores (duh!)

  • Excessive usage of broad matching

  • Poor campaign and ad group organization

Since every account will suffer from some elements of the above symptoms, focus your attention on the groups that drive the most conversions, traffic or ad spend.

Greg Meyers, President & Founder of iGESSOGreg Meyers: Well, before I start any AdWords consulting and scoping out a Google Adwords Account for Quality Score, I must have a good understanding from the client as to their goals, target markets, Cost-Per-Acquisitions, etc… before I start diving into the Campaigns. It is this discovery phase which helps determine priorities of optimization.

Once I have identified the campaigns and Adgroups, I prefer a more disciplined and methodical approach based on the current hierarchical structure from Campaign>Adgroup>Keyword>Text Ads, then at the campaign level I look at Geo Targeting, Networks, Daily Budgets, Negative Keywords, etc…

I then investigate Relevant Keyword Groupings within the Adgroups to see how tightly organized they are. If there are keywords in a specific Adgroup that are grammatically irrelevant or just “out of place” I will either create a new Adgroup based on their relevancy. Once the keyword groups are relevant enough, I would then look at the Test Ads that are being served. If the Ads were not representing some of the keywords in the Adgroup, I would recommend and provide the client with some new “Keyword Rich” Text Ad examples for them to review and approve.

I would follow this same procedure to all campaigns within the account. But most importantly, understanding what the “Quick Wins” are from the client/company will help the PPC marketer “move the needle” more efficiently.

Tom DemersTom Demers: You really want to cross reference the high spend, low Quality Score areas to identify where your money is being spent on keywords and Ad Groups that could be better structured and segmented.

Richard CottonRichard Cotton: First of all I strip out those with low impression numbers, focusing on those that are, or have potential to, benefit the account. You can always build the keyword list back up, but if the account has quality score issues then cutting away the deadwood will allow the problem keywords with potential to be rectified faster.

Going after the highest traffic terms will obviously make the biggest difference to account performance so I would start with high traffic keywords that produce conversions at poor cost, followed by those high traffic keywords that are still managing adequate cost per conversion and so on.

Geordie CarswellGeordie Carswell: First, you have to gauge your expectations as to “good” or “poor” Quality Scores for your account.  If you have a 1/10 Quality Score and can’t get any traffic, it’s likely due to landing page quality issues that can best be addressed by contacting Google and asking for a human review or some specific feedback.  (Important note:  If you are an affiliate marketer using Adwords, contacting Google directly may not be in your best interest for various reasons, caution should apply). You might  be better off asking for advice from any experienced AdWords Consultant.

If your Quality Scores are consistently 3/10 or 4/10, you need to take a close look at your account, campaign, and adgroup structure.  Likely, you could split your campaigns and adgroups into smaller, bit-sized chunks where you can more closely integrate the keywords and themes in your campaigns and adgroups to the ads you’re writing.  Cutting your campaign sizes down to a manageable level while you ‘rehabilitate’ your Keyword Relevance Quality Scores will make this easier as well.  Starting again with a smaller plate can help a lot.

If your Quality Scores are 5/10 or higher, you’re likely just a few better ads away from increasing your QS.  Start aggressively split testing new ad copy that’s entirely different from anything you’ve tried before and see if you can get the CTR up.  You’ll need to set your ads to “rotate” to get new ads proper exposure, and monitor them carefully to cut losing ads when you have enough data to make a call.

Elizabeth MarstenElizabeth Marsten: Traffic is what determines what gets worked on first. A keyword pulling in huge amounts of traffic with a low QS is most likely a culprit for bigger problems with QS on an ad group/campaign level and dragging the rest of the keywords down with it- plus it’s probably wasting the most money.

Joe KerschbaumJoe Kerschbaum: At a very high level, advertisers should attack the keywords/ad groups that generate the most traffic/conversions/revenue first. These are the elements of the account that are driving the other core KPIs such as conversions, conversion rate and CPA. By improving the ad relevancy and Quality Score of these ad groups, you can quickly improve the CTR, ROAS, ROI and Quality Score of these mission critical keywords and ad groups. One quick way to determine which areas need attention first is to determine the keywords/ad groups that generate 10-20% of the clicks/conversions and start there (this number isn’t set in stone. This way, you’re gaining ground quickly.  Of course, advertisers need to pay attention to an entire account when it comes to Quality Score and those other core KPIs but this method can help you prioritize.

Jenny AndersonJenny Anderson: If I have a Quality Score issue, I would focus on those ad groups and keywords that have the lowest QS first. Then I would start to look at relevancy of keywords and ads.

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