7 Ways to Improve Your Quality Score in Google Adwords
You can spend all your time trying to get seen by potential customers on Google organically, or you can spend the money and use Adwords.
With Adwords, your ads will be seen by all those interested in what you have to offer…
…or at least you hope they will.
The thing with Adwords is that it can be expensive, and there’s no guarantee that your ads will show up at all for relevant queries.
You could spend the entirety of your ad budget for clicks that go nowhere. That is, unless you really know what you’re doing.
To make sure you’re not overspending, Google encourages you to increase your Quality Score.
What is a Quality Score, you ask? Let’s dive in and find out.
Google has come up with a novel way to determine which advertisers are creating useful ad campaigns for its users.
The thing is, Google wants your ads to succeed.
The more substantial your ROI, the more you’ll keep using Adwords and the Google machine will keep on churning along (and earning big).
To entice you to create effective campaigns, Google has devised the Quality Score.
This is a score assigned to each advertiser that determines the effectiveness of your campaigns.
Get your score high enough and you won’t have to bid as much for keywords to rank highly enough to get noticed (and clicked on).
Sounds great, right?
It is, but too many advertisers don’t know how to increase their scores. And thus, they end up spending too much with not a lot of return in the process.
How do you get your Quality Score to go up? Follow these steps.
These seven points will not only increase your score, but they’ll also enhance the likelihood that your ads will get clicked-through and converted, leading to more business and a higher return on your investment.
1. Campaign Structure
When you create ads in Adwords, they will look like this: Campaign>Ad Groups>Keywords.
Let’s say that your Campaign name is Kitchen Appliances. Your ad groups would then be subjects like Refrigerators, Stoves, Blenders, Microwave Ovens, and so on.
Those ad groups would then include tightly grouped keywords. We’ll discuss those in greater detail in a moment.
For right now, make sure that your campaigns are set up with the above structure. All of your campaigns should be congruent and easily followed, not only by Google but by the people you hope will click through your ads and convert.
2. Ad Groups
Don’t be afraid to break up your ad groups into more specific subjects. If you have Stoves, for instance, and you offer a variety of different brands, then you should break up your ad groups accordingly.
You might have the ad groups: Whirlpool Stoves, GE Stoves and Samsung Stoves.
By making your ad groups more specific, you are effectively targeting specific groups of people, increasing the likelihood that your ads will be clicked.
3. Keyword Usage
It’s common for new advertisers to insert hundreds of keywords into each ad group. This is a mistake, as you can’t possibly create targeted ads for every single keyword.
A better method is to include no more than 10-20 keywords in each ad group. These keywords should be tightly grouped together.
Also, if you are advertising a local office, such as a psychologist’s office, keep in mind that your keywords should be Geo-targeted with the name of the city, county, and even landmarks included as keyword modifiers.
So your ad group for a Psychologist’s office might include the keywords Austin Psychology, Psychology Austin, Psychology Services in Austin, and so on.
4. Match Type
When choosing your keywords, be careful of selecting the proper match type. Adwords offers you several match types that will determine where your ads show up for certain Google queries.
These match types are as follows:
[Exact Match]: Exact Match means that your ads will show up when someone types into Google your exact keyword phrase in the exact order it is written with no other words.
So if your keyword is Psychology Services Houston, that’s the query that will have to be typed in – no more and no less – for your ads to appear.
To use Exact Match, use brackets around your keyword when typing them into Adwords, like so: [Psychology Services Houston].
“Phrase Match”: This match type means that your ads will display when a query is typed using your keywords in the order they’re typed, even though other words may be included.
For instance, if someone types in Psychology Services Houston, your ad may still show up for your keyword Psychology Services in Houston (even though there’s an “in” involved).
To use Phrase Match, insert your keywords with quotes surrounding them.
Broad Match: This is Google’s default match type. If you don’t use brackets or quotes or any other match modifier citations, Adwords will assume that Broad Match is what you want.
Too many advertisers don’t know this and choose Broad Match without realizing it, leading to ads that display for the wrong people and don’t go anywhere.
Broad Match means that Google will assume relevance. But your idea of relevance and Google’s idea of relevance may not jive at all.
For instance, if your keyword is Personal Training Denver, your ads may display for queries Personal Training Equipment sold in Denver. That’s hardly what you want when you’re offering personal training services out of a physical location.
Broad Match can be useful for testing purposes.
If you’re stuck coming up with keywords to match your ads with, try some Broad Match ads and see what queries your ads are paired with. You may get some ideas that could better serve your campaigns in the future.
Negative Keywords: To keep your ads from showing up when they’re not supposed to, Google allows you to insert Negative Keywords. For instance, you might choose the Negative Keyword “Equipment” to keep that query from skewing your Personal Training campaign results (which would also lower your Quality Score).
To use Negative Keywords, insert your keyword with a minus sign in front of it with no spaces, like this: -Equipment.
Broad Match Modifier: This Match Type is a combination of Exact and Broad Match. It’s useful for Geo-targeted modifiers, such as the name of your city.
For instance, if your ad is for Personal Training for Men and you operate in Tampa, you might have the Broad Match Modifier +Tampa to ensure that your ads show up in case someone types in Tampa Personal Training for Men or Personal Training for Men Tampa. As you can see, you’ll use a plus sign without any spaces in front of your modifiers like I just did for Tampa.
5. Ad Copy
To improve your Quality Score, your ads should be aimed at your target audience and relevant to what you’re doing. They should also be better ads than your competitors are using to draw customers their way.
The best course of action when writing ads for Adwords is to spy on your competitors. Do a search for what you offer and see what ads come up.
For best results, use a variety of search queries, such as Personal Training Austin, Austin Personal Training, Best Personal Training in Austin, and so on.
To keep your Quality Score as high as possible, make sure your ad includes at least one of your keywords.
It should also include some kind of offer, such as “Free Consultation” or “25% Off Eye Exams” and must include some kind of call-to-action.
As far as your CTA is concerned, most advertisers assume that their call-to-action should always go at the end. But don’t be afraid to put it at the beginning. I recently spoke with a client of mine who has had a lot of success with that method.
6. Landing Page
Your landing page should match the ad you are using to send prospects to it.
For instance, if your ad is for a free Eye Exam Consultation, don’t send prospects to a landing page offering LASIK. Your landing page should instead include the headline Your Free Eye Exam Is Just a Click Away.
If your prospects visit your landing page only to find themselves confused, they’ll instantly click away, and your Quality Score could fall.
Keep your landing page congruent with your ad’s goals, and only include enough information to get your prospects to leave their information or take whatever action you wish them to take.
7. Split Testing
Earlier I mentioned that Broad Match can be used for testing purposes. There’s another form of testing that is necessary if you want to keep your Quality Score soaring.
Split Testing, otherwise known as A/B testing, is where you take two ads and change a tiny bit, such as the call-to-action, or a landing page with the headlines changed for example. Then see which one performs better.
This will keep your campaigns performing for you, and it’s a terrific way to make sure your Quality Score always stays on top. And, of course, the higher your Quality Score, the less you’ll pay for the keywords you’re aiming for.
This is a lot to take in, but the best move is to jump in with both feet and give it a try.
As long as you follow these tips, and read up on all the literature Google Adwords provides for new advertisers, you should be able to maintain an impressive Quality Score, allowing you to beat your competition to the punch for the most prominent ad spots.
Then watch your customers flock to you in droves.
What other tips do you have for keeping your Quality Score as high as possible? Has anything worked or not worked for you? Leave your comments below and let’s get this conversation started.