How To Master the Google Landing Page Quality Score

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So you’re bidding on a keyword. You have the keyword in the title, description, display URL and destination URL. Your click through rate is over 5% and Google still says your quality score is poor? Your landing page has links to your privacy policy and your content is useful and relevant. So what’s the deal?

First of all it is important to understand that the Google AdWords quality score bot is not a person. It is a robot. It is unable to understand the context of text on a web page the way a human can.

The quality score bot does a reasonably good job most of the time, but sometimes we need to point them it in right direction. To do that, we need to structure our web pages semantically and structure our documents logically.

There are two very useful and free tools at our disposal when troubleshooting landing page quality scores. These are the W3 Semantic Extractor and the Google site related keyword tool. What better way to get information about what Google thinks your site is about then using a tool designed by Google to figure out exactly what your site is about?

Google Landing Page Quality Score

Google Landing Page Quality Score 2

What’s the problem?

Let me first start with an example of a landing page that does not correspond or relate to the keywords and ad text used.

The Keyword is: “Directory Submit

Here is the ad:

Google AdWords Quality Score 3

Here is the Landing Page:

DMOZ Directory Submit Guide

They appear to be a perfect match right? Wrong! After 1 day of running this particular keyword/ad with this particular landing page, our quality score went to “POOR”. The CTR was was 7%. The words “directory” and “submit” appear numerous times on the landing page too.

When we run the site through the semantic extractor, we can see that this page does not appear to outline anything to do with a “directory submit”.

Google AdWords Quality Score 4

When we run the site through the site related keyword tool, our keyword does not even show up in the list of terms Google thinks is related to the page!

Google AdWords Quality Score 5

So what can we do?

The above example may seem familiar to you. If you have been “Google slapped”, the first thing you might do is complain that your site is obviously relevant and that Google is just out to squeeze you for every drop of cash you are willing to part with. First of all lets look at an example of what a good site/ad/quality score is:

Keyword(s) targeted: “Search Engine Marketing

Here is the ad:

Google AdWords Quality Score 6

Here is the landing page:

Search Engine Marketing

Here are the semantic extractor results for that page:

Google AdWords Quality Score 7

And here is the Google site keyword tool results:

Google AdWords Quality Score 8

This particular ad/keyword/landing page combination has our quality score at “GREAT” and our minimum bids at $0.01. See the difference?

We need make sure that we have our site marked up correctly. Use headings correctly , utilize at least the h1, h2 and h3 tags and make sure the content of each is related in the semantic extractor outline. So if your site sells shoes, your landing page heading tags would be made up something like:

h1 : buy red shoes

h2: best place to buy boots

h3: why red shoes are better than blue boots

This not only helps Google AdWords identify what your content is about for organic search rankings it also helps the quality score bot understand that your landing page is indeed related to the keywords you are bidding on.

While the above steps and tools are clearly not the only way to help Google understand the content of your site, they are free and a great place to start. The next time you get “Google slapped”, make sure you don’t deserve it.

Dave Davis
Managing director of online marketing company Redfly LTD
Dave Davis

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