Search Marketing

Win the Google Quality Score Battle – For Real This Time

Layoffs and budget cuts abound, there is no doubt that this recession is putting some serious pressure on marketers of all types. I feel very fortunate to be working in an industry that is almost recession proof – with the ability to track the majority of online efforts at an incredibly granular level; it’s hard to not be just a tiny bit smug. Nonetheless, search marketers are still facing increased pressure to prove value and generate better results.

For paid search, the best way to go about increasing spend efficiency and improving overall account performance is to improve quality score. While we all know the basic best practices – tightly themed ad groups, highly relevant text ads, etc. – I thought it would be the most helpful to highlight a handful of more advanced tactics.

  • Eliminate Zero Impression Keywords: clean up the account by deleting keywords that have generated zero impressions over an extended period of time. These do nothing but negatively impact overall account QS.
  • Stop Running DKI for Broad Match: running Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) ads on broad match keywords can increase the likelihood that non-relevant terms can show up in ad text. YourPPCSucks.com highlights many bloopers that result from ineffective DKI usage. The key is to use DKI with extreme caution, because it doesn’t always improve CTR.
  • Segment Campaigns by Target & Type: most advanced PPC managers by now know to separate search and content campaigns for better targeting capabilities. Now take this one step further and segment by geographic region. For example, the majority of international traffic comes much cheaper than U.S. traffic and can also behave differently. So separate these campaigns in order to be able to better tailor messaging and bids.
  • Search Query Report: some recent changes with this AdWords report have made it easier to identify non-relevant keywords triggering ads from broad match. First, the enhanced search query performance report provides a much more comprehensive keyword list than before. Second, the new user interface has a super-useful feature that integrates search query data directly into the keyword tab of a given ad group. From here, simply select queries unrelated to product and service offerings to be excluded as negative match keywords. Effectively utilizing negative match keywords will increase relevancy and increase CTR.
  • Dynamic Text Insertion: a more advanced tactic designed to increase the relevancy between the search query and the content on the corresponding landing page. Use keyword insertion for the destination URL to append the term to the destination URL using ?kw={keyword} and placing some php code on the landing page. This will dynamically insert the search query into the landing page which, if done well, should improve QS. Much like with dynamic insertion in ad copy, use this tactic with extreme caution to avoid unrelated keywords sneaking in.
  • True A/B Creative Testing: in order to truly compare multiple ad text variations, be sure that the 2 ads are included at the same time. Never include a new ad to compare against another variation that has already been running for a given period of time. The existing ad has already had time to gain history so it won’t be a fair or accurate test.

A proactive approach to improving spend efficiency will win over anyone holding the purse strings. By focusing on Quality Score improvements, CPC will decline while relevancy and CTR improves. Everyone wins.

image001 Win the Google Quality Score Battle – For Real This TimeRachel Andersen works for the Portland based SEM agency Anvil Media, Inc. She has expertise in all aspects of search engine marketing and specializes in SEO for large sites. Andersen has been responsible for the development and execution of dozens of search and social marketing campaigns over her time spent with Anvil.

15f8090e756aeef3fc1fcc20238b436a 64 Win the Google Quality Score Battle – For Real This Time

Rachel Freeman

Rachel Freeman works for the Jive Software, the pioneer and leading provider of social business solutions. She has expertise in all aspects of search engine marketing and specializes in SEO and paid search for the B2B sector. Freeman has been responsible for the development and execution of countless search and social marketing campaigns over her years in the search marketing industry.

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7 thoughts on “Win the Google Quality Score Battle – For Real This Time

  1. Rachel,

    Thanks for this article. I don’t have direct day to day involvement in client PPC anymore and rely on one of my team members, and given my own full plate, it’s a challenge to keep up with current best practices and tactics.

    It’s good to see that I was at least mostly aware of all but one of your recommendations. And it’s good to get further understanding on some of the more nuanced realities like keyword insertion’s pitfalls.

  2. All are great suggestions–I like your focal point of a “proactive approach”…QS cannot be maintained if you don’t maintain your website.

  3. Thank you for the insights. My Google rep has told me that keywords that have no impressions over an extended period of time may not actually hurt Quality Score as long as those keywords have good Quality Scores. If they have poor Quality Scores then they should be removed but if they are Ok or Good then they are okay to stay.
    Cheers