Your Google Adwords Quality Score can not only dictate how successful your campaign will be, but also how much money you need to spend to be successful.
So what is Quality Score? (as defined by Google)
“The AdWords system calculates a 'Quality Score' for each of your keywords. It looks at a variety of factors to measure how relevant your keyword is to your ad text and to a user's search query. A keyword's Quality Score updates frequently and is closely related to its performance. In general, a high Quality Score means that your keyword will trigger ads in a higher position and at a lower cost-per-click (CPC).”
How is it used? (as defined by Google)
“Quality Score helps ensure that only the most relevant ads appear to users on Google and the Google Network . The AdWords system works best for everybody -- advertisers, users, publishers, and Google too -- when the ads we display match our users' needs as closely as possible. Relevant ads tend to earn more clicks, appear in a higher position, and bring you the most success.”
Quality Score influences your keywords and actual cost-per-click (CPC), estimates the first page bids that you see in your account and determines if a keyword is qualified to enter the ad auction that occurs every time a user enters a search query. Basically, the higher your Quality Score, the lower your costs and the higher your Ad Rank (or ad position.) To see how Google does this, watch our recent SEM Minute on Quality Score.
How do you get a high Quality Score?
One way to ensure a high quality score is to create relevant keyword lists, ad copy and landing pages that work together to create a fluid, search-engine-friendly campaign. All of these aspects come together to create a high Quality Score. For a great visual representation of this, see a great blog post on SearchEngineLand.
Let’s start with relevant ad copy. Ad copy is the content that appears below the headline of your ad in the SERPs. It should be uniquely adapted to each Ad Group and targeted to include relevant keywords. Google will see that the ad copy is relevant to the search terms and will rate it accordingly.
In the same way, keywords need to be relevant because they link the search terms to the ad copy and the landing page. If Google does not see the inherent connection between the different parts of the campaign, it will be reflected in your quality score.
Another important thought to remember is that Google Quality Score is a robot; it does not think like a human. It cannot connect terms based on innuendos or superior-thought. It is based on algorithms and relevant terminology.
That being said, you should build your landing page to reflect this fact. The landing page should contain words found in both the query and the ad copy and it should be built out in a way that is easy for Google to understand. Use proper headings and h1, h2 and h3 tags. Search Engine Journal recently wrote a great article on landing pages—definitely check it out if you need a more detailed description on landing pages.
One way to test that your site is built properly is to try the W3 semantic extractor. This will pull out content from your site in the same way that Google Bots do, so you can verify that the bots understand your site structure.
Another important way to guarantee a high quality score is to link to a targeted landing page rather than the homepage of your company’s site. Homepage’s often contain genera company information, whereas landing pages reflect unique search terms and Ad Groups.
A PPC Campaign is the sum of all its parts and this is best represented in the Google Quality Score. If you design your campaign thoroughly and follow up with continual optimization, a high Quality Score will take care of itself.