As with anything related to your online visibility, quality matters. This is especially true with your Google AdWords campaigns. When properly executed, pay-per-click can be an effective way to get your message to the right audience to entice browsers to take the preferred action — usually meaning conversions. If you want to run a successful paid advertising campaign, you’ll need to have a firm grasp of what your AdWords quality score is, why it matters, what factors go into calculating it and how you can improve it.
What Is a Quality Score?
An AdWords quality score is all about keywords and relevance. It’s basically an assessment of how each of your selected keywords is performing for each campaign. You’ll have a different score for each campaign. Each score assesses the relevance of your PPC campaigns and the keywords associated with each one. Multiplied by your maximum bid, the results are used to determine your cost per click and ad rank for the auction process. Factors considered include:
• Click-through rates
• Keyword relevance within its ad group
• Landing page relevance and quality
• Ad text relevance
• Cumulative AdWords account performance
What Matters Most with Quality Scores?
As is the case with anything Google considers for ranking or quality purpose, the exact ratio of how factors are considered is a closely guarded secret. It’s a safe bet to assume, however, that click-through rate is the top factor since the act of someone actually clicking your ad is a clear indicator of whether or not people are finding it relevant to what they’re looking for while browsing.
Why Does It Matter?
Your quality score determines where an ad for a paid campaign appears and how often it appears. Google is the granddaddy of all search engines for a reason. It’s the main way most of the people who are likely looking for something you have to offer are going to find it. For every dollar spent on Google AdWords the average business takes in roughly two dollars in revenue, meaning a well-planned and managed campaign can easily be well worth the investment. A high quality scores means you’re more likely to enjoy:
• Higher ad rankings
• Lower costs
• Increased visibility
• More conversions
Selecting Quality Keywords
Your odds of seeing an acceptable AdWords quality score will greatly increase if you put some effort into your selection of keywords. Google has an assortment of tools you can use to narrow down your keyword preferences, with Keyword Plannerbeing one you definitely want to use often. Dive a little further into AdWords and you’ll find plenty of useful tidbits you can use to get a better idea of what to consider when picking keywords like list building tips and other goodies you can use to make more informed selections.
Impact On Cost Per Conversion
Not to be confused with cost-per-click, cost per conversion (CPC) refers to how much you actually pay when someone clicks your link and takes the desired action, as in making a purchase or signing up for a free trial. Realistically, every click isn’t going to result in a conversion, so your CPC is likely to be higher. Use your quality score to determine which campaigns have lower CPC and which ones need some tweaking.
Increasing Your Quality Score
A low quality score generally means one or more of your keywords isn’t connecting with browsers for some reason. You could be choosing keywords that are way too competitive within your market or you may be missing the mark and using keywords your preferred audience doesn’t find relevant. Many times, a quality score can be improved with:
• Doing better keyword research
• Opting for long-tail keywords, or a series of terms likely to be used by searchers
• Dividing your keywords into specific groups to achieve a better focus for each campaign
• Testing your PPC ad copy to determine what’s resonating with your targeted audience and what needs to be adjusted — or ditched altogether
• Optimizing your landing pages based on your ad groups to form to increase consistency
• Using negative keywords to fine-tune where you target browsers in the buying cycle
• Excluding irrelevant search terms
What is a Null Quality Score?
Google’s latest AdWords score update is the null quality score. Essentially serving as an indicator of keywords that are too new to be accurately assessed, a null score serves as a placeholder. Think of it as having the same weight as “N/A” when a required field doesn’t apply. Represented by dashes, the null score will serve as a temporary default for new keywords in your AdWords campaigns.
A Step Up from a Preset Default
Once upon a time, Google would assign any new PPC keywords a quality score based on a specific keyword’s overall system-wide performance and the general performance of your account. Google then shifted towards a default quality score of “6” for new keywords in mid-2015. After enough impression data was accumulated, the default score would be updated to whatever the results showed.
What About Ad Auctions?
The new null score will have no impact on ad auctions. It’s simply a better placeholder for a keyword that’s too new to receive an accurate assessment. Keywords with a “null” score will be automatically excluded from your reports and displayed score. You can, however, opt to have new keywords included by checking an adjacent box.
Checking Your AdWords Quality Score
It’s fairly easy to check on your quality score to identify any possible issues with your paid campaigns sooner rather than later. From your Keywords tab, you will have a few ways to access your quality score:
• Running a keyword diagnosis: Receive a diagnosis by clicking the Campaigns tab, selecting Keywords and clicking the speech bubble by any keyword’s status to view the QS for that word.
• Enabling the quality score column: Get a QS this way by clicking Campaigns and selecting Keywords and looking for the “Qual. Score” column.
If “Qual. Score” doesn’t show up, add it by clicking your column’s drop-down menu just above the statistics table in your toolbar. Select “modify,” “attributes” and “add” next to “Qual.” and save it. A typical quality score listing shows expected click-through rates, ad relevance and landing page experience. Either method will result in a listing of quality stats you can use to get an idea of where you stand at any given moment.
What are your thoughts about AdWords quality scores and the new null quality score? Leave a comment and share your thoughts with me!