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Quality Score – Google Adwords’ PPC Algorithm

An Overview of Google Adwords Quality Score:

GoogleTo understand Quality Score, it must first be understood that while in most cases it is used as a simple integer on a scale of 1-10 (with ten being the highest quality), there are actually several individual Quality Scores that together produce the Quality Score we recognize in the AdWords interface.

Some of the different Quality Scores (QS) include:

  1. Common Quality Score (seen in Adwords)
    • Updated daily to reflect changes in the click-through-rate (CTR) and changes in the ‘invisible’ Quality Scores below
    • Displayed as an integer from 1-10
  2. Ad Rank Quality Score
    • Internal QS only known to Google
    • Updated in real-time as each search is performed
    • Used for determining the Ad’s rank in the search engine result pages (SERPs)
    • Most likely operates on a different numbering scale
  3. CPC Quality Score
    • Internal QS only known to Google
    • Updated in real-time as each search is performed
    • Used in determining the actual cost-per-click (CPC) during the ‘auction’ process
    • Most likely operates on a different numbering scale

How Better Quality Scores Benefits Your Bottom Line:

Although a keyword’s Quality Score relies on dozens of pieces of real-time information that are outside of advertiser’s direct control, what can be managed by advertisers are the keywords for which they choose to bid, their ad copy, and the ads landing page.  Assuming an advertiser has all of these items in order according to Google Adwords Policy Center and being found relevant by users (consider the keyword CTR as its measurement of relevance), they should begin to see their keywords achieve Quality Scores in the 7-10 range.  Benefits for these keywords include:

  • Lower Costs: discounts on the keywords CPC stretches an advertising budget further and can lower the cost per conversion.
  • Greater Exposure: better positioning/rank of ads in the SERPs without additional cost

Practices that Weaken Quality Scores:

Just as a quality score can provide added benefits to a campaign, certain practices can also lower Quality Scores, including:

  • Deceptive or misleading offers
  • Pop-up windows
  • Slow download times of the landing page
  • Misleading redirects
  • Disabled browser functions
  • Duplicate content
  • Lack of transparency in company practices

General Rules of Thumb for Quality Score Management:

  • QS of 7-10 are considered strong and should be left as-is
  • QS of 5-6 are considered OK, but should be worked on to reach the 7-10 category
  • QS of 1-4 require immediate attention to be improved or should be paused
  • Use keyword match types to focus Ad Groups and increase relevancy (CTR)

For advertisers interested in learning about Google Adwords Quality Score in greater detail, check out Quality Score in High Resolution by Craig Danuloff.

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Contributed by: Jonas Pauliukonis, Sr. eStrategist, Milestone Internet Marketing

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