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A Note On Adwords Quality Score!

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#1 saschaeh


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Posted 24 October 2007 - 07:19 AM

After my lonely post :) about Quality Score I came to some answers: (leads to other questions)

First what is Adwords Quality Score about? Google has scoring system which is meant to increase user experience with their google adverts by ensuring add relevancy. If you score highly in the system you pay less for the advertising or if you score very poorly you may be removed altogether.

To get a good Quality Score you need to:
  • Advertising copy that relates to landing page
  • High CTR - i.e.: advert needs to be relevant to search terms
  • Good landing page
Rather than just paying for top positions you should adhere to the above 3 points. Yahoo! allows you to see all bid for top ten - so theirs is a money game. Google want users first and advertisers second - good game plan.

Above 3 points in more details

1: Keywords in advert need to match keywords on landing page - how deep they search your site is unkown.

2: High CTR - Logic is the more people click through the more relevant your advert is to the keywords people are using. Furthermore it takes int account estimate time on your site and adds it to your QS score - longer they are on the site the more relevant it was.

3: Apparently the landing page has more to do with affiliates and secondary parties that send traffic to a separate landing page using a "gateway" page. You are, in fact, not allowed to have more then one affiliate to one site in the same list of sponsored links - again to improve user experience.

So; the rules are as follows: On Google only ONE partner can use the url www.dell.co.uk as a landing page, or desitnation url, so if i want to send traffic on behalf of dell i have to create a 'gateway' page (example of gateway page). From the gateway page then i navigate the user to the dell site. ;) Now these pages are usually very badly built and google does not like that... as they dont enhance the user experience. So; QS takes into account how well these pages are built , updated etc... If you not an affiliate you can just create a landing page with relevant content SEO it a bit and you will score QS points.

So if you score well with all 3 you get a good 'Quality Score' which in turn means that your bidding rates go down!

Example: Do the terms i use and copy on landing page match. If not Google will start to charge you more for the same terms. I.E.: I will pay more and list on the same position as someone who has a higher QS.

Now this made me think about CPC rates and managing campaigns for clients:

If we give client x amount of traffic for a certain budget and your QS changes your CPC changes. How does that effect our campaign if you promise X amount of traffic for X amount of budget?

Means i will get more or less clicks for the same cost. Examples:

Increase QS: R1000 gets is 100 clicks CPC is R10. Now QS gets better so CPC becomes R8 that means now i get 120 clicks for R1000. Campaign manager is making/delivering more...

Decrease QS: R1000 get 100 clicks CPC is R10. Now QS gets WORSE so CPC becomes R14 that means now i get 60 clicks for R1000. However PPC manage promised me 100 click for a R1000 pm. Campaign manager is making/delivering less....

This gives rise to some questions:

Is it PPC managers responsibility to inform the client about QS and the changing CPC rates? "To get the most out of your budget you need to implement some of the following things: XYZ" - which are essentially SEO tactics. You see you could say that and reap extra profits which your client was not aware of or fail to say that in loss profits. Or you dont say anything to client who by chance increase the QS by bettering the landing page and you gain profits due to a dropped CPC rates. lol

Or are the changes to CPC by QS to small to warrant even thinking about this but then why does google have it in the first place? What if it is a really big campaigns then small margins suddenly start meaning more. :ph34r:

So some more light on the subject which lead to some more questions.... They say 1 answer gives rise to 2questions.

Any thoughts?


Edited by saschaeh, 24 October 2007 - 07:54 AM.

#2 victor363


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Posted 25 October 2007 - 10:13 AM

Nice post; you pretty much said it how it is. I think though most people don't realize the affect quality score can have on ROI. Given its importance, quality score is almost a speak easy thing :) Honestly, I think it is ignored by a large portion.
Should marketing manager's keep their client's abreast of QS updates? They should take some type of accountability for their work...

One of the things I've noticed about keeping ahead of quality score updates is that holistic marketing, and staying up to date on the best practices of online sales , seem to work better than trying to reverse engineer google's algorithm's. Why? Because Google's landing page quality score algorithm was created by reverse engineering the best marketing practices around (signified by the best conversion rates being recorded by Google-analytics').

Here is my theory on how Google adwords determine's a page's quality score (originally from the oscommerce forums), and how it affects your ROI.

Google is all about the user. Therefore, if someone clicks on a PPC ad because they are interested in buying something; Google is going to damn well make sure that the website they land on sells what they want. More than that, Google wants to deliver the internet browser to the most relevant e-commerce site that has the best chance of selling you something.

People click on PPC ads because they are interested in making a purchase ( Iím keeping this discussion to products for simplicity sake). So the most relevant matches, the ones Google strives to deliver first to browsers, are the websites that are marketed the best and generally have the highest conversion rates.

How does Google make sure that the best marketed, highest conversion rate, websites always appear first? They give them a crazy discount! This is capitalism at its finest folks. The wealthiest internet companies pay the lowest price for ppc ads (lowest CPC) and the poorest internet companies pay the most for advertising (highest CPC).

You either make no money or become rich with adwords[b]

If you donít know how to sell your products well, if you suck at online marketing: Google will squeeze you like a tube of toothpaste and brush its teeth with your love. You will be paying 10 times more for an advertisement that works a tenth as well as your competitor. You are exponentially screwed! Your return on investment will 1/100 as sharp as the industry leader.

What does that mean for the industry leader? If you make $100 a month net from adwords Ė the industry leader is making over $10,000 a month. Sorry man.

#3 saschaeh


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Posted 25 October 2007 - 01:32 PM

Thanks Victor! Was beginning to think QS was a figment of my imagination. :)

I guess its always been a case of the big players having access to tools that allowed them to reap bigger profits - money makes money but is it applicable with QS?

We can score QS just as any other player by adhering with the QS guidelines which are not all the challenging, right?

Im really interested in knowing what kind of margins we are looking at? perhaps % - so for example the CPC rate can variate by up to 20%...??


#4 victor363


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Posted 25 October 2007 - 09:46 PM

Hey Sacscha,

One of the good things about Google developing its quality score algorithm is that many marketer's are being *forced* to evolve and embrace a highger converting sales strategy. But the internet is still a backwards place, and I know what you mean when you say that you don't see many competitor's taking advantage of these best practices.

There is a lot more that goes into the landing page quality score algorithm than most people are aware of. Even minor things, like having your photo's on the left side of the screen, opposed to the right, could be factored in. Of course this is just my personal theory - after all, its not like Google tells us what it is analyzing. Basically though Google designs it's quality score to reward the highest converting website's out there. So ROI in the search arena can be a slippery slope sometimes - the most successful businesses pay the the least ammount :(

But it is really good marketing that is going to spare your business Google's bottomless wrath - not deep pockets. One benefit that big companies have that us normal people don't is that a website can often increase in-store sales. People like browsing online and buying in stores.

Currently, I think the industry average conversion rate is around 2.5% for organic search listings; and slightly under 5% for PPC. These numbers rise every year. Count on google tightening up their future QS algorithm's when that happens.

One thing that I would recommend is to install and use Google optimizer. Like Google did with analytics, before the first quality score algorithm, they are data mining the successes and failures of marketing strategies being conducted in multivariate tests. There was an interesting theoretical conversation of this over here if you want more elaboration.
....It's best to stay a few step's ahead of google :)

#5 saschaeh


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Posted 26 October 2007 - 12:33 AM

you say that you don't see many competitor's taking advantage of these best practices.

Well i meant that it should be as easy for us to take part in those practesis as big players becasue i thought it was simple SEO type tactics... however if it is measured by ROI then it is different. Hmmm but how does Google measure ROI. I guess time on site is a good indicator. But they cant be too accurate with determining what our conversion pages are.

People like browsing online and buying in stores.

I recently read a study done that showed that in many/most cases people will purchase offline. (wish i could find the article.) This was particular relevant for localized PPC campaigns. So people search for 'golf clubs' find the website brows the products on the site but make the actual purchase at actual shop. Interesting!

Thanks again, Sascha

Edited by saschaeh, 26 October 2007 - 12:38 AM.

#6 cav


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Posted 29 October 2007 - 05:53 PM

How do! Only me. Sorry if im in the wrong place, but it kinda seemed like a good thread to get in on.
Just a quick question really.
I'm running a few adword campaigns at the moment, 2 to be precise, but have run 4 previously.
When my add is shown on whatever site, is this automatically making links to my site? i.e. Links being good.
Its just that if I go to Google and type in to the search bar www.myurl.com, there are an increasing number of pages 'linking' back to mine.
So, the question phrased a different way; Are these links that would help my Google Page Rank?
Google Page Rank being the be all and end all <tounge in cheek>

Thanks peeps :cheers:

Cav :)

#7 ryan5billion


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Posted 27 November 2007 - 07:41 PM

I've found the easiest way to get my quality score up is
to generate lots of article directories and then link them
to my landing page.

After this I bid high to get my ad up to and a decent CTR.

Then I can slowly start decreasing my bids and keep top

#8 saschaeh


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Posted 28 November 2007 - 12:25 AM

ryan5billion - thanks for the tip.


#9 A.N.Onym


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Posted 28 November 2007 - 09:12 AM

Cav, you are probably talking about AdSense, where ads are shown on other sites than Google. In this case Javascript is used, so the links don't pass any link value. And Google doesn't do anything, if you or anyone else enters your domain in the search bar.

Btw, CTR is influenced not only by the relevance of ad to the landing page/offer, but also by the persuasiveness of the ad. Call to action definitely helps, as well as using a benefit or two for the customer. It is about knowing customers and how to motivate them, of course. Sometimes even changing one word can change CTR and conversions. You can read about such AdWords tips at http://blog.mindvalleylabs.com/

Also, conversion rate should matter, but if you are running CPC, you really need to convert the visitors. I'd suggest making it extremely, absolutely easy to convert (list the benefits on the page, too).

The landing page matters, but also the site it is placed on (that has or has not trusted links), the relevance of the site, other pages that link to the landing page, etc. I think the whole on-site optimization factor plays a role here.

Also, as mentioned by ryan, payment/performance history matters. If it is an old ad group, it works. If you move it to a new adgroup, it sinks. To up the performance, you need to pay well for a week or two to get high CTR and some stats, then to get back to normal level.

I am not sure how article directories help, though, since they are junkyards of duplicate content without value and links. I bet careful and diligent AdWords campaign optimization, as discussed in this thread, would help.

Btw, here's an example how I managed to increase CTR and conversions by a noticeable amount by doing the stuff that we were talking about.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 28 November 2007 - 09:12 AM.

#10 cav


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Posted 29 November 2007 - 02:05 AM

Thanks for the comments Ryan and Onym, thats a great help. I still need to get my head around it. It all seems a bit of a minefield. At the moment, we run the same ad and some days are good and some days are bad.
At present, I'm wondering if the discs that went missing here in the UK with 25 million peoples bank details have had a negative effect on people parting with their details over the net.
Could just be coincidence, but I've noticed a drop in sales since it happened.

Thanks again!

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