With Google AdWords Quality Scores, you can be your own worst enemy, especially if you obsess on the score without regard for proper experimental procedure. In this week's column, I'll discuss five great tactics to improve Quality Score in Google. These tactics generally can't hurt in Microsoft AdCenter either. However, you may want to control your impulses to execute on more than one of these Quality Score tips at once, because if you really want to see the impact of one specific tactic on your campaign performance, it's best to do a controlled experiment.
Search marketers (and all marketers) are naturally competitive. Heck, I even got annoyed when one credit rating agency gave me a score slightly under 800, but back to the matter at hand. When speaking recently at the eMarketing Association Conference, an audience member asked a question about Quality Score that I've also heard several times at the Search Engine Strategies conferences over the last year or so. The questions asked are often framed in a competitive way but essentially revolve around the fear that competitors have a higher Quality Score or that the marketer has missed some Quality Score enhancing tactic. The Quality Score possible on some keywords in some industry categories may max out significantly below the visible score of 10. If you are like other marketers, you are fearful that you have a Quality Score of five and your competition may be at nine or 10. Even if you have room for improvement in your Quality Score, you may never be able to reach the coveted nine or 10. The commercial intent of some queries is low, or a certain segment of the population may never have an interest in your specific ad. Some keywords also have a high level of ambiguity, resulting in significant difficulties in getting a high Quality Score due to a low CTR from the general pool of searchers. For example, consider the following ambiguous queries:
So, yes, strive for the very best Quality Score you can achieve given the resources that make sense for you. Remember, like keyword expansion, there is a point of diminishing marginal returns, meaning that if a keyword (or Ad Group for that matter) doesn't get much volume of impressions, then the benefit of increased Quality Score is lower than the converse (a high volume keyword or Ad Group). Finding that balance of what to work on is half the battle.
Now on to the five tips for improving Quality Score:
Go forth and grab a high impression Ad Group and take a look at your Quality Scores. You may get a holiday present early in the form of a better Quality Score.
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Kevin Lee, Didit cofounder and executive chairman, has been an acknowledged search engine marketing expert since 1995. His years of SEM expertise provide the foundation for Didit's proprietary Maestro search campaign technology. The company's unparalleled results, custom strategies, and client growth have earned it recognition not only among marketers but also as part of the 2007 Inc 500 (No. 137) as well as three-time Deloitte's Fast 500 placement. Kevin's latest book, "Search Engine Advertising" has been widely praised.
Industry leadership includes being a founding board member of SEMPO and its first elected chairman. "The Wall St. Journal," "BusinessWeek," "The New York Times," Bloomberg, CNET, "USA Today," "San Jose Mercury News," and other press quote Kevin regularly. Kevin lectures at leading industry conferences, plus New York, Columbia, Fordham, and Pace universities. Kevin earned his MBA from the Yale School of Management in 1992 and lives in Manhattan with his wife, a New York psychologist and children.
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