Changes are coming to the way AdWords calculates its Quality Score and Ad Rank. The changes will be implemented in the coming weeks.
Quality Score will no longer take ad position into account. The idea is that simply dishing out the dough for a higher position has nothing to do with the quality of the ad.
CORRECTION: Here's what Google really said: "To calculate the most accurate Quality Scores, it's important that the influence of ad position on CTR be taken into account and removed from the Quality Score." Bloggers have been pointing out that Google has been doing this. When I get further clarification from Google, I'll let you know! Stay tuned.
Next, Ad Rank is going to focus on quality for ads that appear on top of the search results. Ads must meet a "quality threshold" in order to appear in that prime real estate. It will be possible for a lower positioned ad to jump above a higher position ad in the sidebar ads to hang out in the box above the organic results if it meets the threshold but the higher positioned ads don't.
Clearly, Google is making quality a key focus in AdWords. This may be an attempt to improve the program in the midst of a slowdown in growth for paid search. Or it could be an attempt to show that Google is more concerned about quality than price - and therefore advertisers need not be worried about a little thing like a search advertising deal with Yahoo.
What do you think about the focus on quality? Let us know in the comments.
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