As PPC experts we’re always plagued with low AdWords Quality Scores. Over the past 3 years I’ve had clients with ads so perfectly written and landing pages so perfect I don’t know why they didn’t get a 15 out of 10. But that wasn’t the case. In this post, I will teach you some new techniques for getting higher Google Quality Scores for your PPC ads.
Write Ads That Convert
You need to be writing ads that have a high click-through rate (CTR). This has been one of the biggest indicators of Quality Score for my ads. Write clickable ads.
But it’s not enough to just write a good ad, ads that inspire people to click. Google is no longer just looking for clicks, but interactions on pages. If you’re writing ads that have a high CTR but bounce back to Google 2 seconds later, your Quality Score may go down. Make sure that people who click your ad are staying on your landing page and moving on to other pages. Google doesn’t use your conversion rate directly when calculating Quality Score, but metrics like time on site, bounce rate, dwell time and other on-site behavior can affect your Quality Scores, because they speak to your landing page quality.
Again, this isn’t directly related to Quality Scores, but if you’re paying attention to what’s converting then you’ll have much better luck with your Quality Scores. Make sure you’re A/B testing everything. Google likes better user experiences, so the goal is to find the ad text and landing page variations that resonate with the greatest amount of users. If you’re giving your clickers a better user experience, you’re going to find Google is giving you much better Quality Scores.
To prove the importance of A/B testing and to show you how much difference a little change to your website can make, I’d like to share an example from a client of ours, ZacJohnson.com. He recently came out with a book on Amazon called Confessions of a Six-Figure Blogger. We wanted to push people to a landing page to collect subscriptions and drive sales of his book. We put up a landing page and started driving traffic. A couple days later we changed up that landing page to test something new, and then a combination of the two. Which one converted better? See the results below. (Click the image to enlarge.)
The first landing page was very bland with nothing really going on. The page converted at 2.5% on the back end, not all that bad. We drove 1,000 clicks to it to give it a really good shot. The total cost for this was around $1500.
The second landing page we tested had arrows pointing to where we wanted them to go, big huge arrows that no one could really ignore. What were our results? The page converted at around 2.9% of everyone that visited it. Total cost was around the same amount through AdWords. But the back end delivered another handful of people. This is positive in our opinion.
Most people stop here. They found a better page; they would then juice that page for everything it’s worth. No, we kept testing. We decided to add flashing arrows pointing to the desired outcome. Drove 1,000 clicks to that. CTR was the same as the others as we weren’t testing the ad copy but just the landing pages. We had an increase in conversions on the back end of around 5.8%. Total cost was the same but our campaign doubled in profitability. Make sure you’re always testing! We are currently still testing this landing page but haven’t been able to get better than the current landing page.
Control Your Landing Pages
Landing pages have more of an effect on Quality Scores than most people think. Make sure your landing pages load fast – aim for a load time quicker than 4 seconds. If it’s slower than this it can bring down your Quality Score. (Google will let you know if your landing page quality is below average.)
Also make sure that the keywords you’re targeting appear on your landing page. I always recommend that you have tightly themed ad groups with only 2-3 keywords per ad group. I have found that small ad groups, with a separate landing page for each ad group, is key to getting top quality scores.
Software Can Save Your Tail
Writing ads can take tons of time. Paying attention to detail is key to getting higher everything! More companies are switching to PPC software nowadays to increase efficiencies and get help paying attention to the little details. It’s often in the small details that your business can save the most money. Most of the time, when bidding with AdWords, we aren’t paying attention to the smaller click costs. Even a savings of a penny per click could save us thousands of dollars in the long term.
I use several different types of software to manage my ads for me. This helps me keep the edge and manage the things that I might otherwise miss. I recommend WordStream (obviously), AdWords Editor (free software that helps me organize everything), and a few other reporting tools. These are the best on the market.
If All Else Fails
I’ve had clients that, after trying everything mentioned above, still ended up with a 4/10 on Quality Score. One particular client has the same company name as a large band. They own the trademark and keyword domain. I still only had a 4/10 quality score. If this is a problem that you’re having, give your Google Rep a call. If you’re an agency and having problems, give them a call. They are really good to work with and want the best possible outcome for you and your ads. It’s what pays their bills. It’s a pain in the butt but well worth the time you take to get it fixed.
Getting a higher Quality Score will help you lower your CPCs, increase your ad placements, and make your clients much happier!
by John Rampton, a PPC entrepreneur, author, and founder at PPC.org & Blogging.org. Follow him on Twitter @JSRampton.