Anyone that’s ever delved into the murky waters of Pay-Per-Click advertising has likely heard of the term ‘Quality Score’.
And with good reason. Quality Score is a vital aspect of creating and maintaining a successful ad campaign. Affecting Cost-Per-Click and Cost-Per-Conversion.
I’m going to show you how to use Quality Score to maximise Return on Investment.
With tips that helped my own business increase return on ad spend three-fold!
Here’s what we’ll cover…
To understand how to use QS to our advantage, we’re first going to need to know exactly what it is.
The first, rather obvious thing is… it’s a measure of quality. How good is your ad or your landing page?
In a nutshell, though, Quality Score can be explained using one word; ‘relevance’. Google scores you directly on relevance.
Just by knowing this, you can already create better ad campaigns. At every stage of creation, you should be thinking about relevance.
Search engines are determining the quality of your ads using three different levels of connection…
And of course, this is best when all three are working together.
When it comes to bang for your buck on PPC campaigns, Quality Score is the single biggest factor.
A high Quality Score leads to lower cost-per-click which in turn will almost always mean lower cost-per-conversion.
Remember, QS is essentially a search engine’s way of deciding that your ad is relevant to the user’s wants or needs.
Meaning ads with a higher quality score will show above other ads even with larger bid amounts.
This has a huge effect on how much you’ll need to spend too.
As mentioned, Quality Score is marked out of 10 and to measure your performance effectively, I’d advise splitting keywords into three categories.
Finding your Quality Score…
Quality Score can be found by customising your columns in the keyword section of any ad group.
Click on ‘columns’ then ‘modify columns’ shown below. Then check the box next to ‘Quality Score’.
Doing so enables you to put your keywords in order of QS too, meaning you can quickly identify those that need attention and areas you’re likely to be overpaying.
Now for the really useful bit.
To boost your quality score, the first thing you need to do is boost relevance, there’s a few ways to do this:
Any PPC campaign should have been built on a solid amount of high-quality research. Find valuable search terms that match user intent and add in longtail queries to contribute to overall performance.
If you’re going to increase relevance, you need to know what your audience are looking for.
This is the single biggest mistake I see when taking over the management of a PPC campaign. Ads are not segmented enough.
*TOP TIP* You should never have a campaign where your only landing page is your homepage.
If I’m setting up a PPC ad for my SEO marketing services and my ad clicks through to my home page, I’m losing a ton of indicators to Google that the page is relevant.
Likewise, if you’re advertising a brand/specific model… don’t take the user through to a category page, take them to the actual product they’re looking for.
CTR is a massive factor for search engines determining the quality and relevance of an ad.
There’s no need to guess which ad headline or description is going to offer you the best click-through. You should be testing this on a regular basis.
Google’s ad variations is the cleanest way to do this but if you’re looking for a method a little less scientific, you can run multiple ads (with varying headings, copy etc.) with your ad rotation settings set to ‘Optimize’.
Google will then prioritise ads with the best CTR and you can review this weekly or monthly.
As already mentioned, the landing page is an important part of the Quality Score mix.
The best practice is to have a bespoke, purpose-built landing page for each of your ads but let’s face it, this is time-consuming and expensive.
Simply making sure that ads click through to a page that is clearly representing the specific service or product the ad is advertising.
As a rule of thumb try to remember: the more specific the ad the more specific the page content needs to be.
Aside from this, bounce rate is another important metric. It’s vital to keep your bounce rate low. Make sure your page loads quickly enough and is engaging.
You’ll have heard or read this at least a hundred times but utilising negative keywords is an absolute must for boosting relevance and reducing wasted spend.
Adding in a negative keyword is as simple as putting a minus sign before the word (e.g -free) and they’re a great way to weed out searches for freebies, trials, lessons and reviews, for example.
There you have it!
Follow these tips and your Quality Score will improve. This, in turn, will reduce your cost per click/conversion and allow you to better your chances of getting high ROI from your campaigns.
For more PPC tips, visit our blog.
Stefan Cardwell is a digital marketer with over 11 years experience. A specialist in Search Engine Marketing and enthusiast for all things inbound and digital.
Owner of Keyk. Digital Marketing, Stefan has helped a huge number of businesses increase revenue through effective marketing strategies and high return digital advertising campaigns.