If you are in the search business, then you are likely familiar with the term ‘Quality Score’. It indicates that for every keyword in your AdWords campaign, Google assigns you a Quality Score. This score takes into account a variety of factors to measure how relevant your keyword is to your ad text and to a user’s search query. The higher a keyword’s Quality Score, the lower its minimum bid and the better its ad position.
At our agency, we work very closely with clients to improve the overall quality of their campaign. Our experience indicates that bid prices contribute only a small portion to the overall success of a campaign. By improving the Quality Score, we can achieve a more cost-effective campaign and reduce the cost per acquisition.
While Google continues to refine its Quality Score formulae, the core components remain more or less the same: the historical click-through rate (CTR) of your ad; your overall campaign CTR; the historical CTR of the display URLs in the ad group; the quality of your landing page; the relevance of the keyword to the ads and other relevance factors.
I’d like to share with you three tips that will help you improve your campaign’s Quality Score:
1. Understand the impact of using a Facebook Fan Page as your landing page.
Starting in 2009, we received lots of requests from advertisers to link their pay-per-click campaign ads directly to their Facebook Fan Page. We notice that these campaigns typically achieve a low Quality Score, which is due to several issues.
The first issue is related to ‘domain’. Instead of linking to the advertisers’ website, the landing URL starts with www.facebook.com/product. Hence the display URL also starts off with www.facebook.com, which will adversely impact the relevance of the keyword to the landing page. There’s also limited content that you can include in your Facebook Fan Page compared to a company website. What’s more, many ad texts might emphasise “Come register on our Facebook fan page and have a chance to win… ” How relevant is the ad text to the keyword in this case?
2. Be cautious when setting ad scheduling.
Ad scheduling lets you specify certain hours or days of the week you want your AdWords ads to appear. With ad scheduling, a campaign can run all day, every day, or as little as 15 minutes per week. So what’s the relationship between ad scheduling and Quality Score?
From our experience, you need to accumulate a certain search volume to build up a Quality Score. If you implement ad scheduling at the beginning of the campaign, it will limit the number of impressions delivered, and hence, adversely impact a Quality Score. This is especially true for developing countries such as Thailand and the Philippines, where total daily search volume is not generally comparable to developed countries such as Australia or Hong Kong.
Thus, we suggest that you don’t implement ad scheduling at the beginning of a campaign. Instead, wait for sufficient impressions to build a good Quality Score. Once you build up a good Quality Score, you can review your analytics data and determine how to set your ad scheduling.
3. Be aware of your website load time
‘Load time’ refers to the amount of time it takes for a user to view your landing page after clicking your ad. Load time impacts your landing page quality, and hence, your Quality Score.
A Google tool helps assess your landing page load time. You can see a keyword’s load time grade in the Keyword Analysis field. If your keyword is graded ‘This page loads slowly’, your landing page quality and Quality Score will be negatively affected. If your keyword is graded ‘No problems found,’ your landing page quality and Quality Score will not be affected. The one exception occurs when your keyword is graded ‘No problems found’ and marked ‘Load time is faster than the average in your server’s geographic region.’ In this case, your landing page quality and Quality Score can be positively affected.
We always help our clients review their landing pages. Typical problems include having too many Flash or rich media elements on the page, and having multiple tracking solutions in place, which lengthen the loading time. To improve load time, we suggest clients to use fewer and faster redirects. Never use interstitial pages. It’s worth discussing with your Webmaster to see how you might compress the size of the landing page.