You might think that your small business—say, one with an annual Google AdWords budget of $50,000—has no chance when bidding against larger companies with much deeper pockets. Happily, that just isn't true.

"Bidding for keywords on Google is not a straight auction," explains Minda Zetlin at Inc. "Instead, Google multiplies the top bid for each keyword or phrase by the advertiser's Quality Score, a number between 1 and 10 that reflects whether Google thinks its users will like your ad and the Web page it links to."

In other words, the higher your Quality Score, the more you can outrank competitors—even those with higher bids—and the more you can get for your advertising dollar.

To keep that Quality Score high, Zetlin recommends actions like these:

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