SES NY | Ads in a Quality Score World

By Lauren Kade | Mar 23, 2011
More Articles by Lauren


The second day of SES New York is heading to a close, and I’m at my last session of the day,  “Ads in a Quality Score World.”  The session discussed exactly what goes into making up a quality score, and gave tips on increasing relevancy.

Speakers in this session were:

  • Jeff Adelson-Yan, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Levelwing
  • Andrew Goodman, SES Advisory Board and President of Page Zero Media
  • Frederick Vallaeys, AdWords Evangelist, Google

What is Quality Score?

The framework for managing the ecosystem between searchers, advertisers, and engines.

Why Does Quality Score Matter?

  • Determines Elibigility
  • Relative Position
  • Extensions (determines if your ad is of high enough quality to use new ad formats)
  • Price
  • Top Slot (only high quality ads are eligible to appear above the natural search results)
  • DKI (only ads with high enough quality score can use Dynamic Keyword Insertion)

What Effects Quality Score?

  • CTR (the most important factor contributing to your score)
  • Ad Relevancy
  • Keyword Relevancy
  • Landing Page Quality
  • Historical Performance
  • Other relevancy factors (Google uses relevancy signals unique to the specific query to determine what ad to serve.  For example, if the user searches “cup of java,” Google uses relevancy signals to serve ads about java coffee and not JavaScript or Java, the island in Indonesia)

How Do I Improve Quality Score?

  • Include keywords in your ads to make them relevant
  • Watch dynamic keyword insertion (make sure it makes sense in the context)

Tips and Tricks

1. Target Less Than Eight Unique Keywords per Ad Group

The smaller the ad group the more relevant!  And once you have more than eight keywords, it becomes very difficult to include all the keywords in an ad.

2. Don’t Forget About the Landing Page

Does it load quickly?  Does it have a lot of content?  Is there a good density of keywords in the content?

3. Call Things What They Are

What language is your target audience more likely to use?

4. Build Your Negatives

Do a search to discover irrelevant sites and add the meta keywords from those sites to your negative keyword list.

5. Change and Check Locations

Where are you targeting?

6. Use Search Query Reports

They are a great source of keywords both negative and positive.

7. Broad Match is for “Head” Terms Only

The majority of ads should show for exact and phrase match keywords.

8. Incomplete Searches

Add them as new keywords! (Frederick Vallaeys from Google later said this shouldn’t be necessary since Instant Google isn’t designed like that, it should automatically fill in the rest of the phrase)

9. Build for What the Engines See

10. Don’t Ignore Other Metrics Like ROI

Interesting Facts:

  • quality score is calculated “on the fly” for each search, for each participant in the auction
  • score is by keyword, but other relationships in the account go into a keyword’s quality score
  • you can succeed with broad keywords, but experiment with very broad phrases only in mature accounts

The Holy Grail: A Score of 10

Quality scores of 10 is normally only seen with keywords with disproportionately high click through rates, normally around brand terms.  So basically, get used to 7s and 8s!

Lastly, always test ads!  By testing ads, you can optimize and “mutate” your account into the best possible account – able to go the distance.

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