LoSasso’s Guide to Google’s PPC Ranking and Quality Score Factors

Published August 15, 2012 8:17 pm by LoSasso
Categories: ,

Google’s search process is quite complex considering how quickly its engine can produce results to the searcher. Google’s pay per click (PPC) text ads are ordered based on the combination of the keyword bids and their quality scores. For instance, a keyword can have a high quality score and a low bid and rank better than a competitor whose keyword has a higher bid and lower quality score. Now, this sounds simple enough, right? Not so much. This concept of a quality score is a whole different beast.

Google has an algorithm which considers many different factors to come up with each keyword quality score on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest. To our dismay, Google will never reveal this set algorithm which constantly changes, anyway. Thankfully, at LoSasso, we are able to work on the best practices of these factors while monitoring Google’s algorithm changes to tweak and improve keyword quality scores regularly.  Some of the main factors are:

 

Landing Page

  • User Experience
  • Landing Page Performance
  • Landing Page Quality

 

Keywords

  • Keyword choice and relevancy
  • Actual, expected and past clickthrough rate (CTR) of the keyword

 

Text Ads

  • Text ad relevancy
  • Quality and effectiveness of text ads and copy
  • Ad copy quality
  • Display URL relevancy
  • Actual, expected and past clickthrough rate (CTR) of the display URL
  • Destination URL relevancy

 

Other

  • Overall account history
  • Geographic performance

 

To explain how some of these work, let’s talk about shoes.  Perform a search on the keyword “shoes” and you will see a Zappos PPC text ad with “shoes” in the header and description.  Clickthrough to the landing page and you will see it goes directly to their general shoe category page.

Zappos Shoe PPC Text Ad

Perform a search for a very specific shoe like “t-strap sandals” and you will again see a Zappos PPC text ad with “t-strap sandals” in the header, description and even in the display URL.  Clickthrough to the landing page and you will see it goes directly to a page relating to t strap sandals–not to their home page or a page about shoes.

Zappos T Strap Sandal PPC Text Ad

This kind of all around relevance and experience from the beginning of a user’s web search to where the user lands are just a few of the very important aspects to consider when aiming to achieve a high quality score for a particular keyword.

Geographic performance is another important factor to consider.  If you are geo-targeting an account to different states within the US, it is important to follow all these same principles for each state.

Google rewards advertisers who are performing these best practices because, if they are followed, users see the best search results possible and get the best user experiences when they clickthrough.  That’s why, over time, it may be possible to spend less on the cost per click (CPC) of a keyword because the quality score has risen to help that keyword raise to a higher ad position.

– Michelle Murphy