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Under the Lens – Ads in a Quality Score World

Google Quality Score - Ad Lense

Moderated by Dana Todd, CMO for Newsforce, Day 3 of SES San Jose found SEM experts discussing how Quality Score has impacted results and how you can impact quality score results.

Ron Jones, Search Engine Watch Expert & President/CEO, Symetri Internet Marketing

Google originally rolled out quality score in Aug 05, however as an answer to Yahoo Panama launch they revised the algorithm in Feb 2007 to incorporate landing pages and started to display it as well.

Factors that affect min bid

  • Historical CTR for each keyword
  • Relevance of the keyword to the ad group
  • Quality of your landing page
  • Account history (CTR) of all ads and keywords in your account
  • Historical CTR of display urls it eh ad group
  • Other factors

Factors that affect keyword ad position:

  • Historical CTR of ad, display url and matched keyword
  • Relevance of the keyword and the ad to the search query
  • Account history (CTR of all ads and keywords in your account)
  • Other factors.

Case Study:

A client came to Ron with an average min bid of $0.40 across 5 ad groups. Each ad group had about 80 to 100 keywords and when they checked the quality score they were shocked to find that 72% of these keywords had a poor quality score.

Ron’s team built out the campaign significantly by splitting keywords into smaller more targeted ad groups (17 instead of 5). They wrote more relevant ad copy for each ad group and used Google Optimizer to test better ad copy and landing pages.

The Result: Average CPC went from $0.40 down to $0.09! CTR went up by 11%. Conversion rates from 2.6% to 4.8% some as high as 8%. Within 2 weeks QS for 58% of the Keywords went from poor to great. After a month the ones that still had poor quality score were deleted. And most importantly, Ron had a very Happy Client

RON’S HOT TIP: Testing – testing landing pages and testing creatives. As an agency allocate 10% to 15% of your budget to testing. You are really going to learn what’s working and not working.

Makes you look good and makes client look good!!!

Brad Geddes, Founder, bgTheory.com

“There are over 100 factors that can affect quality score. However, not all will be triggered depending on the conditions involved”

-Google Engineer

Why is Quality Score important?

It affects your Ad Rank (higher numbers are better)

Ad Rank + [keyword] Quality Score x Max CPC

Google determines your minimum bid. You are eligible to be shown on search. If your minimum bid is lower than the minimum bid your ad is not eligible for search (but it’s still eligible for the content network).

Where to spend your effort?

Minimum bid of 3 or 4 cents can’t be affected much. 20 to 30 cent bids are the ones that are easiest to tackle. These should be brought down below 10 cents.

Account Organization is #1 factor improve quality score. Better to be as granular as possible.

Your ad copy should meet 1 specific intent!!! If a keyword doesn’t fit that intent then you should move it to another ad group.

You are much better off having 100 ad groups with 10 keywords then 10 ad groups with 1000 keywords.

BRAD’S HOT TIP: Go into reporting and run a bid report sort by minimum bids and you can see the keywords that have a low quality score. Is a great way to diagnose visually where to start affecting quality score?

Kendal Allan Former Managing Director, Incognito Digital, Digital Marketing and Convergence Media Consultant

A closer look at relevancy:

How does the Landing Page affect Quality Score?

  • Relevancy and it’s methodology were precursors
  • Relevancy has always been delivering on the query
  • Landing page factors + content and layout. Usability and navigability and load time

Getting everyone on the same page is crucial to Quality Score. Sales and editorial, visual design and SEO, marketing and it, agency entities.

Guidance – Content rich strategies always a good idea. Robust, descriptive, clear, uniques to your site, alternative if necessary for workaround on ad heavy pages

Usability – useful relevant and direct response to query

Transparency – nature of business, interaction with computer, use of personal information

Load time – minimize number of re-directs, work around for slow servers, balancing design and content consideration.

KENDAL’S HOT TIP – Collaboration. Get interested parties together early on. Also, campaign organization is key. Keep the keywords and ad groups as tight as possible.

Misty Locke President & Co-founder, Range Online Media

1) Quality Score – Keyword Building

  • Build out variations on your trademark keywords, non-brand terms as well as the long-tail product specific terms
  • Utilize tools to build this list – product feeds keyword research tools Google SQR report
  • Goal is to capture every possible relevant query as exact match keyword
  • This will provided you with the highest CTR which will improve quality score.

2) Keyword Structure and Organization

  • Sort keywords into extremely granular ad groups – don’t build 1000’s of useless keywords build 1000’s of keywords in the way people are searching
  • By getting really granular you will

3) Every keyword you run should be on every match type

  • Goal should be to make it as exact as possible AS campaign matures and you continue to build your keyword list and negatives using the SQR tool.
  • A healthy campaign should see a significant drop off in the Phrase match spend.
  • Adjust broad match budgets to scales for additional spend and budget.
  • Phase and Broad should be trolling to find the exact match’s. Don’t have to turn off broad if it’s meeting your goals but every keyword you find from the broad
  • and phrase then you should move into exact. Also use broad and phrase to find negatives.

4) Creatives

  • Run multiple ads in each ad groups to test

5) Dynamic Keyword Insertion

  • DKI should not be your best friend. Should have ad groups broken down so granular that you don’t need to use DKI. You should have every product, color type in your ad group.

6) Landing Pages

  • MSN – Your landing page isn’t specific enough your keyword could be disapproved.
  • Yahoo – if your landing page isn’t specific enough your ad will be disapproved but most important should be for the consumer

As Misty says, “Quality Score brings us back down to the fundamentals of search. Connecting the client with what they’re looking for. Moving us away from getting excited about bid management tools and back to basics.”

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