Google Quality Score: Using Google Adwords is much harder than you think. For example, people often do extensive keyword research and sort out a set of keywords which they think are the perfect targets for their next search ad campaign. They set your bid amount so high that they are sure none of their competitors will be able to match it. And when they do post thier ad, they are often surprised that their ads show up in none of the keywords they targeted?
There may be many underlying reasons for it. Enter Google Quality Score. It is a measure set by Googe to determine the quality and relevancy of the ad’s landing page to a search query. This is a crucial parameter set by Google to weed out irrelevant or poor quality ads and landing pages which the user probably has no interest in seeing. (Similar to this, Facebook has a relevance score metrics).
Google earns a majority of its revenue through advertising. Making the online ad space of a popular search query valuable to both the advertisers and Google themselves. Low-quality ads or landing pages which have a low clickthrough rate results in a loss of ad revenue for Google even if the bid amount set by the advertiser is high. As a measure to regulate the quality of ads, the Google Quality Score metric was introduced to score landing pages based on relevancy and usefulness to the user.
The best thing about this whole setup is you can display your ads for competitive keywords even with a low bid amount if you have a great landing page which converts. In the world of search advertising, quality score can be the difference between a subpar campaign or a highly successful one leading to significant growth and high return on investment.
Before comparing your AdWords performance with others, one should know that the requirements and demand for each industry are different, sales and conversion data considered high for one may not even be marginal for another. To get a true picture of how well you are doing, you can measure up your performance with your competitors and other companies in your industry.
What constitutes the Google Quality Score Factor
Google Quality Score Factor (QSF) is measured on a scale of 1 to 10. Google has specifically stated that landing page experience, Click through Rate and ad relevance are the major factors in determining Quality Score of a landing page. In addition to this, historical performance of the account in previous ad campaigns are also considered to be a key factor. The weightage among various factors has not been revealed by Google, but there is a general consensus that clickthrough rate is the most important factor. Let’s elaborate on each of the factors separately,
1. Click through Rate is the most important Google Quality Score:
The ratio of number of viewers to number of clicks on the ad is known as click-through rate. This metric can be determined by Google only over time, therefore the click-through rate is not assigned for ad campaigns that have just begun. It has been widely observed that the higher the click-through rate an ad gets over time, the bid amount for your ad decreases, the ad gets shown on various other similar high volume keywords and improves your ad position in search engine results page. Thus making it the most important part of the ad campaign you must focus on optimising. To improve your clickthrough rate, you can adopt the following measures:
- Highly specific keywords: In many cases, the performance of the ad have improved if the target keyword is highly specific indicating the intent of the user is further down the conversion funnel. For example, if you aim for a keyword “school”, it includes a large section of the audience who may type this keyword, who may not be interested in your ads. But instead, if you aim for a keyword such as, “primary school for my 12-year-old kid in Bangalore”, the term is highly specific with an intent to buy what you are selling. Even with a low volume, these kinds of keywords are known to provide valuable leads and customers. This kind of keywords may have low volume but has an unusually high conversion rate.
- Highly attractive ad copy: Even with thorough keyword research, it is not guaranteed that all the viewers will click on your ad unless you have a highly attractive ad copy which entices the interested users to do so. To improve the performance of your ads, you must start with the headline as it is considered to be the most important part of any ad copy. The ad copy must contain the keyword and must be persuasive enough for users to click on it.
- A question in the headline: Adding a question which the users might have while typing the query may gain the attention of the user. Asking question implies that the ad is made just for them and they will be more inclined to click on the ad.
- Meta description: Add further information in the meta description that will persuade the users to click on the ad. The meta description must be an extension of the headline, conveying information about what the ad is all about.
- Avoid oversimplification: Brevity is a necessity to gain the attention of the people in the digital world. But oversimplification and skipping out on important details about your product in the ads will hamper your clickthrough rate.
2. Ad Relevance:
While creating an ad, the relevancy of your advertisement to the query you are targeting for should be your anchor point. If your ad is not relevant to what the users of that query are looking for, they are highly likely to get frustrated. If a person is looking for home insurance but is bombarded with the real estate ads to buy a home instead, the person is most likely to quit searching and look for other ways to get what they want. Without ad relevancy, your ad campaign is guaranteed to go bust even if you have done everything else perfectly. Understanding this, Google has incorporated Ad relevance as one of the important quality score factors. Having highly relevant ads is likely to improve your overall marketing performance as well. To improve the ad relevancy:
- Highly Extensive keyword research: Simply put, you do not want to target your ads towards people who do not wish to see it. Doing so is bad for all the involved stakeholders.
- Highly specific ad group: Create an ad group towards a specific theme or set of users. This helps in the better organisation of your ad campaign and will help you in targeting a specific set of keywords that are similar to each other.
- Optimise landing page: Create a landing page that is optimised for that set of users. Even if the product offered is quite similar to what the intent of the user is, the user is still going to quit the page and will not stop looking until he gets exactly what he is looking for. On the other hand, if the landing page is optimised exactly for the user intent. The conversion rate of the landing page will probably go off the charts.
- Use keywords: Keywords have lost relevancy over time for both SEO and search ads, but it is still an important parameter for Google to determine what the landing page is about.
3. Landing Page Experience:
Landing Page experience can be considered as an extension of ad relevancy metric. The Aha moment a user gets when he has found what he was looking for and hopefully ending their search. The landing page experience metric takes into account both the user experience and other onsite factors. Mobile experience of the landing pages is another aspect Google has started giving importance to recently.
To improve the landing page experience, advertisers can take a number of lessons from the search engine optimisation practises. Often, the landing pages are also manually checked for determining the quality. According to Google, to improve the landing page metric you have to look into the following factors:
- Unique Content: The content of the landing page should be original, unique and match the intent of the user (i.e., what the user is looking for). The intent of the user should be the defining criteria here, So much so that you should design your whole landing page catering specifically for the intent. For example, a person looking for a coffee mug will expect a landing page selling coffee mugs when they click on the ad, instead if they see a landing page selling spoons or any other utensil they will exit the page immediately, increasing your bounce rate and decreasing your session time. High bounce rate and low session time will affect the performance even for those keywords which do match the user intent. Features unique to your service, providing useful information which the user probably doesn’t know can add up to your landing page experience score.
- Exude Trustworthiness: The content of the landing page must create a sense of trust among its visitors. To provide that trust Google advises to, clearly state what the business is what all about, contact information should be easily visible in the landing page, provide reasons for obtaining personal information and highlight sponsored links in case if there is any. Testimonials will also increase the trustworthiness of a website.
- Navigational structure: Provide an easy navigational structure for users throughout your website. Make it as simple as possible so that if a user lands in any part of your webpage, they must know exactly where to go to reach their intended destination. To improve the navigational structure, you can decrease the number of popups and make it easy for the customers to order the products shown on the landing page.
- Quick loading of landing pages: The loading time of pages in mobile, as well as websites, must be very low. Turning your landing pages into Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) is one of the advice given by Google to improve upon this metric. In case of any bugs or errors, it is better to resolve them or remove them to make your site load much faster.
4. Account’s Historical Performance:
Are you on a bad spell recently with most of your ad campaigns turning out to be duds? Many experts believe that your bad spell will affect your account’s historical performance score. This metric is uniform throughout the account and affects all the ad campaigns conducted in that account.
Google has yet to confirm that this metric is a part of Google Quality Score, but its effects have been observed by many users in their search and display campaigns. To improve on this metric, you have to make sure that your account has more successful campaigns than unsuccessful ones.
Any efforts to change poor historical performance score will be gradual and will take months to see any positive changes. But before deleting the account due to prolonged poor performance, it is important to note that, it may well be the case that Google rewards strong performance over penalising poor performers.
The longevity of an account is another minor factor that Google considers in it’s Google Quality Factor. So it may not be worth deleting your account just because you think you have a low score on this metric. To improve the account’s historical performance you can take the following steps:
- Optimising current campaigns: Despite your best efforts, some campaigns are going to perform poorly. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be a complete failure. There are multiple ways you can improve the performance of your ads and learn from it. A/B test your ads even if they are doing really well. Include more relevant keywords to include queries which you think might contain users who are interested in your ads.
- Deleting underperforming ones: It is better to accept defeat and stop campaigns that are underperforming before it tanks the overall account score. It is necessary because it might affect other campaigns that are doing well.
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