Quality Score isn’t just some shop term that you can learn later “when you have more time.” For one thing, let’s be honest: More time is a myth of unicorn proportions. For another, it’s unlikely your Google AdWords results are going to be meaningful until you have mastered the basics of Quality Score (QS). Instead of flailing along, here are seven tips to help you improve your score stat.
1. Understand Quality Score
The basics of Quality Score are pretty simple: QS measures how accurately your ad and landing page reflect the keywords you chose. Google gives a brief description, however, implementing this information is much harder than understanding it. It means you can’t just throw up ads to “see what works.” Make sure you take efforts improving QS by answering some of those basic questions:
- Are the keywords relevant to the ad copy and landing pages?
- Are the landing pages offering good user experience, such as updated information, user-friendly navigation, and fast page speed?
- Is the ad copy written well with highly relevant keywords?
Until you spend the time actually assessing your ads/landing pages in tandem with your keywords, you won’t get anywhere.
2. Source Your Keywords from Your OWN Data
Most businesses make the mistake of sourcing their keywords only from keyword search tools. While that’s a great starting point, and one we use here ourselves at inSegment, it’s only the beginning. When you use those search tools, you do have a good chance of targeting your segment and building a keyword list that accurately represents your audience. However, that list will have a hard time matching the accuracy of a list sourced from your own data, so turn to your own analytics. You can look to Google AdWords to see which keywords and ads are working for you, as well as which actual search terms are generating clicks and conversions. Moreover, pull out data from Google Analytics to understand which organic search terms are driving traffic to your site organically. If you find a term that consistently generates eyeballs, that’s a sure bet you should run ads on that keyword.
3. Pay Attention to Bounce Rate and Time on Site
Landing page influences Quality Score, but maybe not as much as you might think. As Frederick Vallaeys explained way back in 2013, Quality Score didn’t used to take landing page relevance into account, but the significant numbers of sites that tricked searchers into clicking and landing on irrelevant sites changed that.
Now your landing page’s relevance does matter, but not so much that you should spend your time endlessly tweaking it at the expense trying to up your click-through rate. If a landing page gets no love whatsoever, you’ll see a high bounce rate and low time on site. If you do, you can safely ditch that keyword.
Now your landing page’s relevance does matter, but not so much that you should spend your time endlessly tweaking it at the expense trying to up your click-through rate.
4. Don’t Slack
We all lead busy lives, and in the pursuit of other important to-do list items, it’s tempting sometimes to let other tasks slide a bit. Naturally, we’re planning on coming back to them later, but when it comes to Quality Score, even minor sliding may be damaging. Why?
Because of historical performance. Google’s algorithm, when calculating QS, takes into account what your QS has been in past. So if your score was strong last week, and the week before, and the week before, it’s likelier to be stronger today, so pay attention.
5. Watch the Numbers
Your analytics can give you lots of information, the most basic of those being the QS. It’s updated roughly every day, meaning you can glean insight into attributes such as your click-through rate, landing page relevance, bid price, ad performance and more on the daily. How to best make use of these numbers? Pull the data every day at the same time for the most accurate results, then do your calculations based on those.
Once you get comfortable with handling these numbers, you can move toward success more and more easily. For instance, you can duplicate ads that work, and optimize or test from there. That way, you can keep the better ads and get rid of the worse ones, thereby maintaining an improving stream of successful marketing.
6. Bid More Effectively
Your bidding has a huge impact on QS and the success of your account overall. When you bid, you are stating your willingness to pay for ranking, and therefore for ad placement, and therefore for eyeballs. But because bidding puts you in competition with other bidders for the same keyword, it’s important to bid effectively. If you overbid, you’re wasting your money and could have gotten those ads for cheaper. If you underbid, your keywords will not receive any play.
When you set bids at the wrong level (too high or too low), your click-through-rate will suffer (i.e. people won’t be clicking your ad). This in turn tells AdWords that your ads aren’t effective, which lowers your Quality Score in the end. Pay attention to how your bids perform, and adjust accordingly.
7. Write Clear Ad Copy
The clarity of your keyword use also affects your Quality Score. If your QS seems lower than it should be, it could be that confounding search terms or factors are influencing this. For instance, you may be bidding on terms with double meanings: nails and nails, say. If you don’t clarify whether you’re a salon or a hardware store very clearly in your copy and match it with the related keywords, your ads will prove ineffective and your QS will drop accordingly.
Quality Score is of critical importance to your AdWords success overall. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you do just that, we invite you to learn more about our services or get in touch with inSegment today.