Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Three alternative steps to improve your Google quality score

If you’re a Google AdWords advertiser, chances are you’ll be very familiar with their quality score ranking. It’s an important metric as Google uses your quality score to determine the position of your ads and the cost-per-click of your placement.

Generally a higher quality score can lower your cost-per-click and trigger your Ads to appear in a higher position so it’s important to learn what impacts your score and how to improve it.

The formula behind Google’s quality score has a number of core components which are used to determine your ranking. For ads on Google’s search network these components include:

  • The historical CTR (click-through rate) of your keyword/ad combination
  • The historical CTR of all keywords/ads in your account
  • The historical CTR of your display URL
  • The quality of your landing page (original content that’s easy to navigate and transparent)
  • The load time of your landing page
  • The relevance of your keyword/ad to the search query

Historically the click-through rate of your ad/keyword combination has been seen as the most important factor. While this still holds true, landing page quality is very important as it helps to shape your initial quality score which can impact your position and future click-through rate.

How to Improve Your Quality Score: Now that we’ve explored the factors behind your quality score we can look at the best ways to improve them. There’s plenty of advice out there for some of the more obvious steps, so I’m going to focus on some lesser known ways to impact your quality score.

1) Improving Your Keyword Relevancy - Google’s keyword tool can help you determine if Google considers your landing page relevant to your chosen keywords. This tool can be found via your AdWords dashboard. If your landing page is giving weak results, make some changes and run the tool again until you’re seeing a positive change.

2) Test and Optimize Multiple Ads - A major part of improving your click-through rate is optimizing your ad copy. Create a number of different variations with alternative headlines and calls to action to determine which one works best. Making your ad relevant and unique is the key.

3) Landing Page Load Times - One of the quality score factors I mentioned above is the load time of your landing pages. Google wants to provide users with a good experience so they give preference to ads which have fast landing pages.

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