Monday, September 10, 2007

Google AdWords and Quality Score

Google released The Quality Score for AdWords in August 2005 and ever since the PPC market has never been the same. Webmaster forums, blogs are all raged with this new Google fiasco. Profitable campaigns running for months came to a stop for the want of bids as high as $5-$10 for keywords to become active.

What is Quality Score? (more info)

Google introduced Quality Score to silently cut down the low quality ads that was starting to appear on the Google SERPs. Before the Quality Score anyone with an AdWords account could direct link to a merchant as an affiliate and cash out on the huge Google traffic without the need of building a thought-out and useful website.
So back to the Quality Score. According to the big G, Quality Score is used to determine the quality and relevance of your ads and from there determine the minimum cost-per-click (CPC) you'd pay based upon whether your QS is poor, good or excellent. The better your QS the less you pay for the same traffic! Seems like a good deal, yeah it is for you as well as Google without losing their loyal user base. It also determines your Ad Rank in the ad auction (more info).

How is Quality Score Determined?

While there are countless unknown factors used to determine the QS, Google gives a partial list of the most important factors.
Quality Score is determined by your click-through rate i.e. CTR and how much relevant your keywords, ad text and landing page are to each other. This simply means that you should keep harmony between your keywords, ad copy and the landing page to get a good Quality Score. Remember that your CTR on the Google Network is NOT considered to determine the QS. This includes AOL, NYT, About and countless sites displaying Adsense. So the main essence of this is that you have to get a considerable amount of clicks to your ads on Google search pages in order to get a high QS and a low minimum CPC.

How is my ad rank determined? (more info)

Google rewards sites with great relevance by giving higher positioning to ads, lower cost per click prices and higher quality scores all at the same time! Gone are the days when people with deep pockets appeared and dominated the search pages.
Ad rank is determined by CPC bid by QS. Also remember that for determining the rank of the ad, Google doesn't use the landing page. Instead, the landing page is used to determine the Quality Score. I hope there is no confusion because people mess a lot when it comes to landing page and ad rank.

So these were some of the basic formulas that Google uses to bill you for your ads. Tweaking and testing are a great way to determine what works and what doesn't. And if it does what can be improved can only be known by testing. In the next post I will discuss about how you can increase your Quality Score and pay a lot less per click in doing so!

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