Many PPC marketers lose sleep over how to improve Quality Score in AdWords and/or Bing. If you’re reading this, you might be one of those many.
Understanding what Quality Score is, and what affects Quality Score for both Google AdWords and Bing Ads, causes you to become acutely aware of how critical high scores are to successful account management. Who doesn’t want to lower their average Cost-Per-Click (CPC), increase impression share, and improve overall account performance all in one fell swoop?
But as you may already know, improving your Quality Score isn’t always easy. In fact, for some accounts/clients, it can be downright difficult.
Luckily, following these AdWords account management tips will make it a lot easier.
The secret to improving your Quality Score is…
Wait a minute – let’s clarify a couple of things.
Sometimes, Ad Rank is confused with Quality Score. Your Ad Rank is the position of your ad on a search engine results page (SERP), influenced by your Quality Score, max. CPC bid, and the expected impact of any ad extensions. Increasing your bid may improve the position of your ad, but it won’t affect or benefit your Quality Score.
Quality Score is affected by expected CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience. Expected CTR is Google’s estimation of how likely it is that your ad will get clicked when shown for that keyword, while Ad Relevance estimates how aligned your keyword is with your ads and Landing Page Experience estimates how aligned your landing page is with your keyword and ad. Expected CTR for a keyword takes into consideration performance over time.
…improving your Click-Through-Rate (CTR).
How to Improve Quality Score at the Keyword Level
Make sure you are using the most effective match type for your keyword. There are 5 different keyword match types: Broad, Modified Broad, Phrase, Exact, and Negative Match. Using the right match type increases the relevance of your ad to the search query. Using negative keywords helps to make sure your ad isn’t triggered by search queries that contain additional, irrelevant terms.
Targeting long tail keyword phrases will likely limit your visibility, but it will also likely improve your CTR. By tailoring your ads to long tail keyword phrases, they will seem more relevant to a user’s search.
Also make sure that you are using manual keyword bidding. Manual bidding allows you to control your max. CPC, bidding highest for long tail and exact match keywords, descending to broad match. This strategy can make sure your ads show up more often for relevant queries more likely to convert, as opposed to those that may just generate greater visibility and superficial traffic.
How to Improve Quality Score at the Ad Group Level
Grouping handfuls of keywords that are best aligned with your ad copy can improve your CTR. In fact, it’s sometimes better to only have one keyword in an ad group than 10. If you have one keyword that seems to be getting all the clicks and conversions, don’t be afraid to pause the rest. However, make sure you are continuing to use new keywords over time, to discover additional terms that perform just as well – if not better.
Aligning your ad copy with your keywords tends to increase your ad relevance, thus the likelihood your ad will be clicked for those keywords. It’s also important that your ads stand out, especially for highly competitive keywords. You can learn more about writing creative PPC ads in my other post.
Using ad extensions is important for optimizing your ads. Sitelink, callout, structured snippet, and review extensions can highlight additional points that may help entice users to click, and help your ad stand out. In particular, sitelink extensions provide more of your website pages for users to click through.
How to Improve Quality Score at the Campaign Level
Similar to ad groups, you can apply ad extensions at a campaign level. While campaign extensions don’t allow for the same level of customization, they do allow you to standardize your ads – which can be effective for branded or location-specific campaigns.
Targeting specific geographic areas can improve your CTR, especially if your ad copy makes your offer or service seems ultra-relevant to those areas. This can be an effective strategy for both eCommerce and service businesses, especially for targeting high-performing localities. You can use Google Analytics to see what Source / Medium performs the best in what states and cities, so you can organize your campaigns to reflect this data.
You may also want to consider excluding the geographic regions that are under-performing, or simply don’t perform at all.
You can use Google Analytics to see what days of the week, and what times of day, most of your traffic and conversions come in. Using this information, you can optimize your ad delivery by creating a custom ad schedule. Optimizing ad delivery for the times when most people are searching for, or engaging with, you website can increase the chances of someone searching for and clicking on your ad.
While it doesn’t offer the same insight into Bing, Google Analytics does provide direct insight into your AdWords performance regarding times and days of the week. This is ideal for optimizing your AdWords ad schedules.
How to Improve Quality Score at the Account Level
Branded campaigns tend to have high CTRs by nature. Chances are high that someone will click on an ad for your company if they searched for your brand or website directly. Running at least one branded campaign can have a positive impact on the CTR of your account as a whole, which ultimately influences the success of your account.
Last, the most important part of improving your Quality Scores is to continue growing and optimizing your keywords, ad groups, and campaigns over time. Historical data of an account plays an important role in all of this, so improving everything within your account will increase overall momentum and performance.