Search Ad Quality Score 101, Part 2

In “part 1,” we discussed what quality score is. Now let’s explore methods and tips for achieving a better quality score. In simple terms, getting a good quality score requires that you create relevance and continuity from beginning to end of the search experience.

Smaller Ad Groups and Ad Copy

Look at your Ad Groups and see how they’re organized. You should have lots of ad groups with targeted keywords. I suggest on average about 15 to 20 keywords per ad group. This keeps your keywords and ad copy very tight and specific.

If you have hundreds of keywords per ad group, then you’re diluting the overall relevance. It’s a lot of work creating and managing more ad groups, but it’s worth it in the long run. Try using the Google AdWords Editor to help with this process. It’s free.

For your ad copy, try to create copy that includes the keyword in the title, ad copy, and display URL. Next, create multiple ads with a variation of verbs and calls to action.

You’ll need to turn ad-serving optimization off so you can then test each of your ads. Run the ads for five to seven days and see which is the best performing and delete the others. Continue making small adjustments for improved performance.

Matching Options

Most people use the default broad match option, and neglect to branch out to try the other matching options. Try adding exact match and phrase match keywords to each ad group and choose which one has the best quality score and lower minimum CPC. You’ll be surprised to find that most of the time, the best performing is exact match. Once you’ve determined the best performers, delete the others.

SEO and Quality Score

Consider applying SEO best practices on your destination site or landing page. Make sure you embed the keywords in your ad group to the tags and copy of each page of your site.

As you’ve probably figured out, this helps bridge the ad campaign to your site. Try using the best performing creative in your meta description and the best performing keyword in your title tag.

Put yourself in the shoes of the searcher. If we do a keyword search, then click an ad with the same keyword and then land on the page that doesn’t contain the keyword anywhere, what are we going to do? That’s right: leave.

SEO helps to make sure there is continuity between your ad campaign and your site, not to mention SEO has a lot of value in and of itself.

Landing Page Testing

Developing top-notch landing pages is of paramount importance. This is one of the key factors Google looks at to determine quality score.

Again, you should consider A/B testing, which means creating multiple landing pages and testing to see which has the best performance.

You can also try multivariate testing. Multivariate testing lets you test multiple components of your page at the same time so you can move things around on the page and see the results. Google’s Website Optimizer is a great tool to help with your testing process.

The main result you’re looking for is conversion. Driving traffic to your site is one thing, but driving the right traffic should be your goal.

My good friend Tim Ash has a book on landing page testing and tuning that is worth reading. He gets into more detail on each of these testing situations. Also, Google has some good advice on developing landing pages for a conversion.

The key takeaways from this article can be summed up in three words: relevance, continuity, and testing.

Create as much relevance and continuity as possible, starting with your keywords and ad copy all the way to your landing page. Then you need to test, test, test. Did I mention you need to test?

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