Google AdWords: the nuts & bolts of quality score – Give a boost to your business project ! – Digital Marketing Tips

The Ultimate Guide to Quality Score: 15 PPC Experts Discuss the Nuts and Bolts of Google AdWords Quality Score and How to Improve Yours

Google AdWords Quality Score Guide

For pay per click marketers, Quality Score is the key to a successful paid search marketing campaign. Yet many PPC advertisers find it a frustrating and confusing metric to fully comprehend and to master. To help PPC marketers solve the AdWords Quality Score riddle, we’ve compiled The Ultimate Guide to Quality Score, featuring insights from some of the top minds in pay-perclick advertising.The following guide contains feedback from a panel of 15 PPC industry experts. We asked them four questions on Google’s Quality Score, and these are their answers.

Quality Score Factors

Question #1   Based on your experience, how accurate a depiction is Hal Varian giving in this video?

Andrew GoodmanAndrew Goodman: Until Hal posts the entire code for the Quality Score algorithm and lets us look at it, prudent marketers should assume this is largely a public relations exercise. As we know, public relations is not only about what you include, but what you leave out. By and large, minus the fancy equations, many of us have been whiteboarding the same story since 2002. By improving your CTR relative to other advertisers and other CTR benchmarks, in any regime that multiplies keyword CTR (or Quality Score) by your bid to arrive at your ad rank, you will outrank lower-CTR competitors, all else including bids being equal.Google notes dryly in their help files that the best way to improve keyword Quality Scores is to “optimize your account.” Of course, that’s true. 🙂

Brad GeddesBrad Geddes: At a high level it’s not bad when everything is good in the account.

When the landing page or your ad copy is considered not relevant; those two items can affect your ad much more than the percentages laid out by Hal Varian. For instance, in his video it looks like landing page is roughly 10% of your quality score; however, if your landing page is considered not relevant – it does not just lower your quality score by 10%, it affects your quality score dramatically.

Rarely will you see a quality score higher than 3 if your landing page is not relevant. As displayed quality score is a 1-10 number; there is no way a bad landing page equates a 10% reduction in your overall quality score. The same argument can be made for ad copy relevance. If your ads are not relevant; rarely will you see a quality score over a 4.

So, either there is a quality score cap when one of these items is bad, or they negatively affect you much more than they positively affect your quality score.

Elizabeth MarstenElizabeth Marsten: If I were explaining how PPC works and how CPC is determined to someone who has never dealt with or even knew what PPC was, this is an accurate enough description. It’s simplified, which is great for that. I do not agree with the little pie chart that showed the breakdown of CTR, relevance and landing page- since there wasn’t a slice of that pie for max CPC bid. I know that they say when determining QS that bid isn’t a factor, but with the complication that is QS, I can’t believe that it’s really not one of the factors in any way at all. (I can see Google arguing that they take care of that by with the minimum bid though.)

Joe KerschbaumJoe Kerschbaum: The description in the video seems accurate. The video neglects to discuss the differences between the Search Network and Content Network Quality Scores. However, if this video’s purpose is to serve as an introduction to Quality Score, then discussing the Content Network may hinder its effectiveness. Also, Hal doesn’t mention that the landing page element of Quality Score can only negatively affect your overall Quality Score, as opposed to give it a boost. He states the aspects of successful landing pages but doesn’t mention that all advertisers start with a similar landing page Quality Score, but their score is detracted from when the landing page doesn’t adhere to best practices.

Jenny AndersonJenny Anderson: The theory of it seems accurate but I don’t think the math is necessarily spot on.

Dave DavisDave Davis: I think it’s pretty accurate. Almost perfect. In fact, we recommend our clients watch this and his bidding tutorial videos so they can understand why we change certain things in their accounts. Quality score isn’t actually that difficult a concept to grasp and with a little experience you get the “feel” for what makes quality score tick. Hal mentions that the “biggest factor by far is click through rate”. That is spot on. It’s the single biggest factor that the advertiser can influence directly and can literally make or break a campaign. In most cases, relevancy is pretty obvious and is rarely an issue as most advertisers don’t want to be bidding on unrelated keywords. Landing page quality score is a WHOLE different ball game.

George MichieGeorge Michie: Hal offers a very accurate depiction overall.  It’s important to note that Click-Through Rate and Keyword Relevancy are very closely related.  Conceivably the keyword “Caribbean Cruises” could fire an ad promising pictures of nude women.  That might generate a high CTR, but the Keyword Relevancy penalty keeps that from happening.  Assuming that the Keywords are targeted to the advertisers products/services, CTR and Relevancy will move together.  There is a great deal of confusion about landing page quality.  My understanding is that as long as you’re a legitimate business, not just an AdSense spammer, the landing page QS factor is a non-issue provided that the page load speed is reasonable.  Folks who are moving pixels around the page hoping to improve their QS are wasting their time.

Larry KimLarry Kim: This is an accurate high-level depiction of Quality Score. What is omitted are the implementation details, for example:

  • Why do keywords with high CTR, high traffic and excellent relevancy get low Quality Scores?

  • How exactly are CTR’s normalized by ad position and match type

  • How does historical account CTR weigh in calculating the Quality Score of a new keyword?

  • How is the “minimum bid” for an auction with no competing advertisers calculated?

It’s somewhat frustrating to read / hear differing information and advice from Google on these implementation details, especially in cases where the high-level advice doesn’t align with what’s actually happening in an account.

Greg Meyers, President & Founder of iGESSOGreg Meyers: In watching this video, the elements in which Hal highlights on are very interesting and provide a good understanding of how Google portrays their Algorithm, or as they called it “Auction”. (Not sure that is the best way to identify it).

However, in my opinion, there are too many other factors that take place at any given time which pushes the limits and alters this mathematical methodology. For example, depending on the competitive saturation and “CPC Value” of the specific term or groups of terms, the Ad positioning levels can adjust sporadically as other advertisers may be using Day-Parting, increased overall competition, or maybe have reached their daily budgets during specific times of the day.

Another observation worth noting is that Google’s assumption that possessing a good CTR% is key to the “everyone wins” mentality to keep the cycle going is not exactly full-proof because they are not taking into account the “After the click” conversions which can be a double edged sword. Another area of interest, for me was the fact that Landing Page optimization was identified as a rather small piece of the pie when determining Quality Score, which leads me to believe that Google only cares about getting the click, and not so much after that.

In conclusion, this Video provides a good understanding of how their algorithm functions, however with some of the variables mentioned above, I feel there is more that is needed to ensure that PPC Marketers can get a better understanding of how their Algorithm handles all of these different “real-time” events.

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