Improve Your Adwords Quality Score, Decrease Your CPC

If you run your own Google Adwords campaign, you’ve probably come across the “Quality Score” that gets assigned to each keyword within an ad group. But many aren’t fully aware of how important this number is to their campaign, and more importantly their wallet.

What is the Adwords Quality Score For?

Google’s Adwords Quality Score is a dynamic number assigned to each keyword in your campaign that helps to determine your ad rank and that keyword terms cost per click (CPC).

What does a high or low Adwords Quality Score mean for your campaign?

A higher quality score typically translates into a better performing ad through increased impressions, increased clicks and decreased cost-per-click. That correlation seems pretty universal and the research and stats we’ve poured through prove time and again that optimizing quality score isn’t just worth considering. It’s crazy not to work to improve it.

In almost all cases where we have improved an ads quality score from say 5 to 7, we have seen a decrease in average cost per click.  In one case in particular, on a keyword term of our own, improving the quality score from 5 to 8 for a single term resulted in that terms average CPC dropping from $5.73 per click, down to $4.67.

What factors determine your Adwords Quality Score?

  1. Click Through Rate – A keywords click-through-rate (CTR) is one part of the puzzle that determines quality score. The higher the CTR, the the better your quality score. This is great news because you should already be trying to optimize the CTR for every keyword you bid on anyway.  If you aren’t, you best get to it, because no you know that not only does improving your CTR get you more traffic, but it can actually help in making that traffic more affordable.
  2. Ad Relevancy – The more relevant your ad text/copy is to the keyword term, the better.  I’ll provide a real world example below, and some tips.
  3. Landing Page Content – both the relevance of the content and copy, and the overall reputation and trust Google puts in said page play a big roll in determining a keyword terms quality score.

How To Quickly & Easily Improve Your Adwords Quality Score

Improving your AdWords Quality Score is actually pretty easy. If you consider these three aspects of your campaign, and improve upon your keyword terms, Click-through-rate, ad relevancy and landing page content, you will see an increase in your quality score, and a decrease in your average cost-per-click.  It really is that simple.  So here’s how to get your hands dirty…

(1)  Breaking your campaigns into smaller, more targeted ad groups

When I first set up a campaign, I often go the quick and dirty route.  I create a campaign, I create an ad group or two, and I load each up with a ton of keywords.  That is all well and good, but if you sort any of your campaigns by quality score, highest to lowest, you will notice the top few ads will likely show you a 7 or an 8 if you’re doing it right, and then you’ll see 6’s, 5’s and 4’s appear as you scroll down the list.

What To Do?  Simply break your campaign up into smaller ad groups, with each ad group’s ads doing a better job of using the keyword terms you’re targeting within the ad copy.  It’s that simple.  Instead of 2 or 3 ad groups, you break it up into 7, 8, even 10 ad groups, each one targeting a smaller group of terms that better relate.

The Goal?  To make sure that the ad title and copy in each group very closely match/mirror the keywords in that group.

(2)  Improve your Click-Through-Rate by playing with bids and your average position

In its organic search listings, CTR is actually used as a ranking factor. The thought behind it is that they want to reward search listings that are most often clicked, assuming that if they are being clicked, they must be doing something right.  The same holds true in Adwords. The higher your CTR, the more money Google makes, so they obviously have vested interest in serving up the ads that get clicked most often.

That’s where improving your CTR comes into play.  Yes, a higher quality score means a higher CTR, but the reverse is also true.  As you improve your CTR without consideration of your quality score, the quality score will also get a boost.

What To Do? Simply spend time playing with your bids, and ad copy with the goal being to improve your CTR.  You should be doing this anyway to optimize the number of clicks you get through a campaign, but the added benefit is that doing so will also slowly but surely decrease your average CPC.

The Goal?  Spend time making sure that you’re always trying to find ways to improve your CTR. NOTE, that being #1 for a keyword term isn’t always best.  We’ve found that sometimes being #1 is a necessity, and other times have found that holding the #2 or #3 position for a keyword term is superior to being #1.  It depends on the keyword term and you won’t know until you’ve tried all of the various placements.

(3)  Improve your each ad groups landing page relevancy making sure the targeted keywords are intelligently and legibly worked into the landing page’s copy.

This one is also pretty simple, and the strategy should be similar to what you do with the ad copy.  I like to actually work first with getting the highest quality score I can on the Adwords side first, by improving ad copy, breaking up and better targeting my ad group to keyword relationships and so on. Then once that’s done, and I have a quality score of say 6 or 7, I’ll then go through and will determine if I need to (a) improve the landing page’s copy to better target keyword terms in my ad group or (b) do I need to create a totally new landing page for each individual ad group.  Sometimes I can get amazing results from just updating page copy, but other times a whole new landing page is needed.  It depends on the competition and how many variations you’re targeting.

So that is it. I have been optimizing the crap out of both our own, and our clients AdWords campaigns for the past two or three months and the results have been nothing short of amazing. It’s something that is easy enough to knock out on your own, but as always, should you find yourself needing help, or just not having the time, you can always hire us on to do it for you.


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