Are your Google AdWords ads not showing up as often or ranking as well as you'd like when your keywords are used? Does it seem like you are paying a premium for cost-per-click (CPC) bids and have little or nothing to show for it? If so, chances are that your Google AdWords Quality Score is sorely lacking.
Before you can work on improving it, it helps to have a basic understanding of how Quality Score is calculated.
Why is your quality score so poor?
You can't fix a problem until you know what is causing it. Taking stabs in the dark to improve your low Quality Score with AdWords can be frustrating—and a big waste of time. Instead, you should familiarize yourself with how Google calculates this important score.
It's not exactly a secret. Google explains it quite simply within its AdWords section. Here's how it works: An AdWords Quality Score is calculated based on keyword relevance, click-through rates, landing-page quality, and ad relevance. You need to keep all of these factors in mind when investigating a low Quality Score.
Now that you know the bare-bones version of how a Quality Score is calculated, you are probably eager to get to the bottom of your issue.
Lesser-known ways to raise your quality score
You can find a lot of advice about improving your AdWords Quality Score. In fact, there's so much advice that sorting out the good from the bad can be confusing.
If you've already tried some of the more obvious steps, you might want to give the following strategies a shot.
1: Test relevancy with the keyword tool
Google AdWords offers a tool that can help you improve your Quality Score. It's called the Keyword Tool, and it can be found via the AdWords dashboard. The tool allows you to see whether Google considers your landing page relevant to your AdWords campaign and its keywords.
If your landing page is deemed unrelated to your chosen keywords, your Quality Score could take a major hit. Weak results through this tool are also problematic; you should receive very positive results and nothing less.
You can also easily track how small changes affect your results in the Keyword Tool. Once you've gone through it once and know how Google looks at your landing page, go back and make a few small changes to improve its relevancy to your AdWords campaign. Then, go back and run the tool again. You should see some kind of change. If it's a positive change, keep doing more of the same thing; if it's a negative change, try a different route.
2: Test and optimize your ads
Expecting Google AdWords to produce incredible results without a lot of hard work is foolhardy. Those who are the most successful with AdWords (they tend to enjoy the highest Quality Scores) are the ones who put a great deal of time and effort into optimizing their ads.
Before getting down to business, though, make sure to disable ad serving optimization so that you will have complete control of how your ads appear and so you can easily gauge their efficacy.
To optimize your ads—and, in turn, improve your Quality Score—you need to tinker with several aspects of them. Most important, you should experiment with using a variety of calls to action and different types of verbs. There's no surefire way of telling which combinations will work and which ones will flop, so the process tends to be long and painstaking.
In the end, the effort is well worth it. Highly optimized ads earn more clicks, and therefore produce much better Quality Scores.
3: Improve load times
Another thing that could cause your Quality Scores to plummet is poor load times. Your landing pages should load quickly and easily across different browsers. Visitors shouldn't have to have the most cutting-edge computers to view your page instantly. Google penalizes you significantly for operating a page that takes a long time to load. This fact is often overlooked.
How can you improve load times for your landing pages?
- First, splurge and invest in dedicated Web hosting. Sharing a server undoubtedly results in slower load times.
- Second, remove extraneous and unnecessary features from your site. Flash, for example, is a no-no.
- Third, make sure that your server-side code (like JSP or PHP) is up to par.
- Finally, work on optimizing your site's code. If you run tables through HTML, for instance, you'd probably be better off using a CSS/Div layout.
Those small, simple tweaks can help speed up your landing page's load times and enhance your AdWords Quality Score significantly.
When you pay a premium for CPC bids and aren't seeing good results from your AdWords campaign, most of the time a mediocre Quality Score is to blame. These tips and strategies may not be the first advice given in this situation, but they are worth your consideration.
After all, anything you can do to boost your AdWords Quality Score is undoubtedly worth your while.