How to Put Quality Score to Work for You

If you are a PPC marketer with a less than perfect understanding of the AdWords Quality Score, don’t feel bad. All of your fellow online advertisers are in the same boat because Google keeps it that way on purpose. The formulas the Google techs use to determine your QS change on a regular basis and nobody outside of the company knows exactly how they are derived. You can read more about Understanding Your AdWords Quality Score here. For now, let’s concentrate on things that you can do to make your QS work for you even if you don’t know exactly how it is calculated.

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Even a brief glimpse at the AdWords Help and Learning Center should be enough for you to get the idea that better quality scores allow you to pay less for your ads while still achieving higher rankings. It seems that there are many marketers out there that insist on feeling picked-on by Google and resist doing what they can to improve their campaigns. Don’t be one of them. Realize that since AdWords is probably the best PPC system out there, you have to play by the rules if you want to stay in the game.

Cynical businessmen may feel that Google has no reason to be concerned about the conversion rate of any of the ads in their system. After all, if a customer decides to click on your ad, Google’s part of the profit is already made. In some ways it doesn’t matter to them whether or not that customer actually continues through the process to complete a sale from your site. On the other hand, however, it is in the best interest of those at AdWords to help you get the best conversion rates possible. If you and thousands of other e-commerce folks like you become disillusioned with the rate of return you are getting from your AdWords dollars, you will simply find another way to advertise. Therefore, when Google offers you some assistance in your AdWords accounts, you should be sensible enough to take the help. It’s a win-win situation.

Take Google Analytics, for example. It is a free and very useful tool that is free to anyone with an AdWords account. It gives you valuable information about how your visitors found your site, the mouse clicks they used to get around it, and lots more. It can help you figure out ways to improve your websites, get higher conversion rates, and make more money with your online enterprise. AdWords also offers conversion codes from inside your account.

Regardless of how impressed you are with AdWords customer service, the bottom line is that if you are going to use their system, you need to figure out how to make it work to your own advantage as much as possible. It is undeniable that keyword relevance is the thing that can help improve your Quality Score more than anything else. All of your PPC efforts should be focused on turning web surfers into your customers, and a good QS can help you do that. Here are some concrete and not-too-difficult steps you can take to boost your score and increase your profitability.

• Be sure that you have activated the Quality Score column found under the Keywords Tab for each ad group. This feature has only been available to advertisers since 2007 and there are still some marketers who don’t take advantage of it. True, it does not tell you much other than to give your keywords a score of Good, OK, or Poor, but at least you have that much information as a starting point. A recent AdWords upgrade has allowed you to see different shadings within each of those categories, too, so check it out.

• Insert keywords in your ad copy. This sounds like a no-brainer, but there is a little trick to it. Since you only have a small amount of text to work with in the quest to make readers click on your ad, it makes sense to use as many of your keywords as possible in that space. But make sure that your wording sounds natural. Just stuffing two or three keywords into a short phrase that doesn’t make sense will do nothing to convince a potential customer that he should look further into your ad.

• Use keywords on your landing pages. This is important because it convinces readers that they are in the right place. If they clicked on an ad about online college classes they want to end up on a page that mentions online college classes at the very top of the page. They are likely to click away from the page if they don’t see what they are expecting to see within a few seconds of reaching your site, so give them what they want. It’s also a good idea to use keywords scattered throughout your site, too as long as they are not stuffed in too frequently. If you keep your text easy-to-read and appealing to people, not just web crawlers, you are on the right track.

• Set up several distinct ad groups. Rather than having hundreds of keywords all in one group, divide them up into organized categories. If you put “online accounting classes,” “online computer classes,” and “online writing classes” each into their own ad group, you can create relevant ads for each of them much easier. This tactic also allows you to ad more keywords to your campaigns later. You might start out with just a few terms for each group, but as you observe your web traffic, you can add more in the appropriate places.

• Build separate landing pages for each ad group. Don’t give in to the temptation to have all of your different online college class ads wind up at the same home page. Your visitors who are interested in learning accounting do not want to have to scroll up and down your page to find the courses they are looking for. Make a separate page just for accounting classes and fill it as full of content as you can.

• Revise your idea of what a landing page is. Avoid those super-sales-y, high pressure landing pages that are so blatantly full of hype. Customers in the Internet age are a smart and savvy group and they are turned off by over-the-top rhetoric. If you give them some good information about a good product and clear instructions about how to purchase it, they are likely to make the decision to do so. Yelling at them and talking down to them almost always backfires.

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