Four stars, two thumbs up, top ten. We have a lot of ways to rate a lot of different things. Whether its David Letterman’s list, Siskel and Ebert’s opinion, or the BCS, knowing what goes into these rankings, ratings and scores can be challenging. Of course 2 of the previously mentioned 3 are strictly subjective; but the recently expired BCS and its chaotic formula parallels another rating system that can be a powerful tool for your business, the Google AdWords Quality Score.
Originally the BCS was famous (or infamous) for mixing a combination of sports writers’ and coaches’ thoughts with metrics like strength of schedule and margin of victory along with algorithmic rankings. The intention was to scientifically determine the two best collegiate football teams at the end of the season. The way that Google runs its ad auction is fairly similar, only it does it millions of times a day. But instead of a crystal football, Google wants to reward you with a premium placement at a discounted price. How does it do this? With a little thing (actually a big thing) called the Quality Score.
What is a Quality Score?
A Quality Score is Google’s quantitative (1-10, 10 being the best) way of ranking your ad’s relevance to the keywords on which you are bidding. So, the more relevant your ad and your landing page are to a query featuring one of your keywords is, the higher your Quality Score will be. Google will actually discount your CPC (cost per click) for achieving a high Quality Score, in addition to placing your ad atop the SERP (search engine results page). In fact a Quality Score of 10 will result in 50% discount. A Quality Score of 5 is considered the benchmark and will result in market price for a click. Correspondingly a Quality Score of 2 will result in 150% increase in cost. With a little work and research you can significantly increase the ROI of your PPC (pay per click) advertising.
Why does Google care about relevance?
Google’s number one priority is their users’ experience. If they are presenting ads and organic search results that don’t provide the information their searchers want, they’ll go elsewhere. Of Google’s nearly $75 billion revenue in 2015, over $67 billion of that came from their advertising platforms. So it’s in Google’s best interest, and your potential customers and clients as searchers, to have the highest quality ads and other results for any particular query.
How can you increase your Quality Score?
There are many things that go into Google’s Quality Score. But these three elements should help your Quality Score and revenue increase.
- Optimized Landing Pages- A landing page is the page that a visitor will arrive at after clicking on your ad. This landing page should be optimized to reflect not only your ad but also the keyword(s) you are targeting. Using keyword variations in your landing page’s page title, H1 tag, and URL, all tell Google that your page (and ad) all match what the searcher is seeking.
- Ad Text- Ad text is your quick elevator speech to tell the searcher that you have what they are looking for. This is an important element because there are going to be 2-3 other speeches happening at the same time. So everything from your headline to your description to your display URL needs to inform and entice. These ad features should also reflect your targeted keywords (obviously) and your landing page content. A/B testing and dynamic keyword insertion are great practices to really dial in your ad text. This step will go a long way to improving your CTR, which as you’re about to read may be the most important element of your Quality Score.
- CTR (Click-Through Rate) - A normalized click-through rate is the most important factor for a high quality score. Your ad’s click-through rates tell Google that your ad and content are relevant. It means people continually click on your ad, it means you have something valuable to offer, and Google wants to reward you for it. An average CTR for a PPC campaign is 2%, anything above this benchmark, along with other optimization factors will play a role in improving your score.
This could present a “chicken or the egg” situation: If CTR increase Quality Score, but Quality Score improves my ad (and CTR) where do I start? Following these first two strategies will be a great beginning to not only increase your CTR, but also your Quality Score. These along with sound keyword planning and monitoring will not only change your AdWords performance, but also your costs.
By following these best practices and optimizing and maintaining your ads and ad groups you can increase your CTR, Quality Score, and ad-driven revenue. Pay-per-click advertising, specifically AdWords, is an effective and efficient advertising platform. BlinkJar Media is a Google AdWords certified partner that serves the Baton Rouge area as well as clients nationwide.