Thursday, February 18, 2010

Quality Score Explained in Adwords Live Online Classroom

Day before yesterday (18th Feb, 2010, 12.30 AM IST), I did manage to attend the live online course on "Understanding Quality Score". I somehow managed to keep myself awake till 2 o'clock midnight as the entire webinar was very interesting and it went for 2 hours. Due to some technical problem from their end (Google), the session started after 10-15 mins late. While attending the webinar, I did make note of few important points which I feel sharing with you guys in case you missed that session. Given below are key understandings of Google's Adwords Quality Score:
  1. What is Quality Score and why is it Important?
    • Quality Score is an automated measure of how relevant each of your keywords is to your ad text and to a user's search query.
    • It is based on an automated algorithm that tries to determine this factor for each of your keywords in your account.
    • Quality Score affects Ad Rank.
      Ad Rank = Max CPC (the advertiser bidding for the keyword) x Quality Score.
      So in order to rank high, you have to either increase your CPC or Quality Score or both.
    • High quality score will off-set a low max CPC. You can show in higher positions with a lower actual CPC. And that means you will get more clicks for less.
    • Quality score means user experience
    • The biggest factor in Quality Score is CTR (Click-Through-Rate). If your Ad-copy is having high CTR, that means it has a good user experience.
    • Try to match your Ads and Keywords to improve their Quality Score
    • Quality Score of 1 to 4 is considered poor. Anything higher than 8 is Great. The numbers that we see is not the actual number that has been put into their ranking equation. It is just to give us a general idea of what our quality score is.
    • Quality Score is based on real time factors such as:
      • Search Query
      • Location
      • Ad copy
      • CTR
      • and other relevance factors

  2. Optimum Account Structure

    • Build up your account in such a manner to get high quality score.
    • Do not target all the keywords for a single Ad Group.
    • Try to have separate Ad Groups for a set of targeted keywords.
    • Ad Group, Ad Copy and the targeted keywords should all be relevant under a Campaign.

  3. 5 Common Quality Score Misconceptions/Myths
  • Misconception 1: There is only one Quality Score
    Fact:Google uses separate Quality Scores in their equation and they are used:

    • Quality Score Factors to determine whether an ad will show for a particular search

      • CTR on Google
      • Relevance of the keyword to its ad group
      • Landing Page quality
      • Historical Performance (measured through CTR across all your keywords)
      • Other Relevance Factors

    • Quality Score Factors to rank ads

    • Quality Score Factors for search

      • CTR on Google
      • Relevance of the keyword and Ad to the search query
      • Historical Performance
      • Other Relevance Factors

    • Quality Score Factors for content (partner sites)

      • Ad's Past Performance
      • Relevance of the overall theme
      • Landing Page quality
      • Other Relevance Factors
      • Don't automatically install software
      • Don't request unnecessary personal information (have a privacy policy if you require)
      • Ability to opt out of receiving marketing newsletters
      • Link to a page that is about the product or service advertised in the ad

      Good Landing Page Quality

      • Original Content (avoid mirror pages)
      • Free of Malware
      • Don't alter Users Browser behaviour or settings
      • Avoid pop-ups, pop-unders
      • Load fast or faster
      • Don't use all images

      Performance on content network wont affect our search quality score and vice versa. Bounce Rate on the actual landing page does not effect Quality Score

  • Misconception 2 :Using different match types (keyword match types) can improve your Quality Score
    Fact: Quality Score is calculated using only data from queries that exactly match your keyword

    • Use only one match type - Broad is best

  • Misconception 3 :Showing up in a higher position will benefit your Quality Score
    Fact: Quality Score is normalized to compensate for differences in performance for ads in different positions

    • High CTR does not always equal a high Quality Score
    • To improve Quality Score, you need to get a higher CTR than is average for that position and keyword

  • Misconception 4 :Quality Score is reset when you optimize your account ( I will lose my Quality Score history if I optimize my account)
    Fact: History of keywords, ad texts and landing pages is preserved when the account is restructured.

    • Visible history is reset
    • History to calculate Quality Score is preserved

  • Misconception 5 :If I optimize (or raise my CPCs) , my position will always improve
    Fact: Adwords is an auction system and to show higher than your competitors you need to:

    • Increase your Quality Score faster than your competitors
    • Raise your CPCs faster
    • Both

      In case you are in a competitive industry, then you need to architect as well as keep optimizing your account because doing nothing you can go backwards and can lose your Ad rank.
Question & Answer Session during Live Webinar

Question: Does advertising status effect organic search results?
Answer: No--your advertising status has no effect on your organic search results. Though factors that go into landing page quality and QS may also be similar to factors that affect natural search listings.

Question: Does quality score affect the page rank of my site?
Answer: Quality Score will have an effect on the rank of your ad within the sponsored links, but not on your natural search results.

Question:What QUANTITATIVE measurements can we use to gauge the QUALITY of our LANDING PAGE? Keyword Density for our ad keyword phrase? Say 3-6% keyword density is optimum?
Answer: We do not have specific metrics like you suggest for optimizing landing pages for Quality Score. Optimize your site for the user experience, and follow the guidelines outlined here:

Question: Do Conversion rates effect rankings?
Answer: No. Conversion rate is not a factor in quality score.

Question: I apologize if I missed your reply to my question. Is there any relationship between QS and Max CPC? In other words, if your QS is 10/10, what else can we do to reduce our Max CPC?
Answer: To your first question--yes. The relationship between QS and Max CPC has been covered (the higher the QS, the lower the CPC). If your QS is maxed out at 10/10, you'll still want to continue to work to improve performance--in terms of CTR and in terms of conversions, conversion rate, cost per conversion, or other metrics you use to determine success.

Question: is there a person to contact if we have questions? may we contact one of you? my email is . please email me a contact. thank you
Answer: You can contact our support team with any questions by accessing the 'Contact Us' form through the AdWords Help Center.

Question: what is conversion rate mean?
Answer: Conversion rate is the percentage of clicks that result in a conversion (sale, newsletter sign-up, or other goal of your website).

Question: Do performance stats for keywords in an adgroup/campaign affect each other? (eg low ctr on a high volume kw bringing down performance for an entire campaign)
Answer: Yes. Overall account history is taken into account for each keyword's specific quality score.

Question: how does google know when we get a conversion and a customer makes a purchase?
Answer: This is a separate topic--Google offers a free tool called 'Conversion Tracking' with AdWords (and also Google Analytics). Search the Help Center for more information on these topics.

Question: Is it better to have a lot of keywoods or just a few?
Answer: We recommend about 30 or so per ad group, but continue to monitor this list so that any poorly performing keywords are removed and to not impact quality score across the board.

Question: ids the quality score that you can see in the keyword list a combination of the poor keyword to the landing page or is it the landing page? how do you find the quality score for the landing page? (i did see the link you recommended to look at for landing page tips)
Answer: If you hover your mouse over the speech bubble next to your keywords on the keywords tab, you can see the breakdown between landing page quality, load time, and keyword relevance.

Question: Does pausing a poorly performing keyword have the same effect as deleting it?
Answer: The historical performance of paused or deleted ads and keywords will continue to affect your account history. However, recent history weighs more heavily in QS, so as long as a keyword is not running (paused or deleted, no difference), its past performance will be outweighed by more recent activity.

Question: in a ad group how do we find a specific keyword that has a low QS?
Answer: You can customize your columns on the keywords tab to show quality score.

Question: When talking about LP quality, do you consider other pages on the site? Does it follow forms?
Answer: We examine the entire domain.

Question: does pausing an ad group have the same effect as deleting it in terms of CTR and Q scores?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Considering the pass-fail, does that mean I should not spend time tweaking terms to make sure they match keywords and ads, etc.?
Answer: As Tali just mentioned, you can see if landing page is effecting you quality score by hovering your mouse over the speech bubble next to a given keyword. If it says 'landing page quality: no problems' your page is fine.

Question: how do you know which type of match your keywords are?
Answer: ''keyword'' is phrase match, [keyword] is exact match and keyword is broad match.

Question: jake M: How is keyword relevance calculated?
Answer: Keyword relevance is determined by a number of factors, many of which are not disclosed (even to me). However, ensure the keyword is relevant to both your ad and the landing page--including the keyword itself in both places helps. The biggest factor, though, is CTR--if users are searching for your keyword but not clicking on your ad, that is the strongest signal to the AdWords system that your keyword and ad are simply not relevant.

Question: I still can't find how to view the quality score
Answer: If you go to your keywords tab and select 'columns' below the tabs, you can check the box next to Quality Score to add this column in for all of your keywords.

Question: what is considered an acceptable CTR? 5%?
Answer: 1% on search, .1% on content

Question: I'm hovering over the keywords and am getting no ''speech bubbles''. Would a firefox option disable that?
Answer: If you're on the keywords tab, the speech bubble is next to the word 'Eligible' in the 'Status' column.

Question: how come sometimes we see our bid is considered too low to appear on first page yet average position is still a low number?
Answer: The first page bid estimates are dynamic and based on your competition. So if your competitors increase their bids, you may have been ranking high yesterday but are not not able to achieve first page position.

Question: is the ctr for content usually lower?
Answer: Yes. Above .1% CTR on content is good.

Question: How do I differentiate between search and content CTR?
Answer: If you're on the keywords tab and scroll to the bottom of the table, you can see metrics for 'total search' and 'total content.'

Question: If broad and exact give the same quality score, why not just make all keywords broad, thereby get more exposure without hurting the quality score?
Answer: This call is entirely yours to make--with broad match keywords, you will get much more exposure, however this could result in getting a higher percentage of clicks that aren't resulting in sales/conversions. You'll likely want to use a mix of match types and negative keywords to refine and optimize your keyword list for the best return-on-investment.

Question: I have a keyword and I hovered over it and my Landing Page, Relative Keyword, and Landing Page load time is No problem. Why do I have a low QS? My ads do not show up for it either?
Answer: It's likely that the system has determined that this keyword may not perform well for you, based on the factors covered earlier. You can improve the QS by 'proving the system wrong' and maintaining a high CTR for t

Question: negative keyword is what again? thx
Answer: A negative keyword filters out irrelevant impressions from match expansions. For example, if you sell wicker baskets but not basket balls, you may want to add 'balls' as a negative keyword.

Question: If I have an account with a very bad history of qs nd ctr, how long might I wait to see results from an optimization overall?
Answer: This can vary, but in general the system begins to recognize the improvement in performance once you maintain a high CTR for several thousand impressions. Again, there's no hard number here, and it varies by account/keyword.

Question: I'm in Rm#2 and only see a grey screen. Is room#1 seeing the same?
Answer: Yes. The presentation is not working at the moment. Sorry!

Question: How many ads per ad group is suggested?
Answer: We recommend about 3 ad texts per ad group.

Question: How is keyword relevance calculated?
Answer: I already answered this: Keyword relevance is determined by a number of factors, many of which are not disclosed (even to me). However, ensure the keyword is relevant to both your ad and the landing page--including the keyword itself in both places helps. The biggest factor, though, is CTR--if users are searching for your keyword but not clicking on your ad, that is the strongest signal to the AdWords system that your keyword and ad are simply not relevant.

Question: Does keyword insertion helps to increase the CTR%?
Answer: It can. If users find your ads more relevant due to insertion and then click on them more often as a result, your CTR will improve

Question: So is she saying if I have a keyword paused, but I have it another ad group that is active? that they are hurting each other?
Answer: I would remove any duplicate keywords in the account as if both are active they will compete with one another.

Question: what is the threshold that determines a ''poor'' quality - is it 4, 3?
Answer: 1-3 are considered 'poor', though getting a '4' doesn't necessarily mean you should stop trying to improve

Question: where can I find the bid recommendation for keywords?
Answer: In the status column on the keywords tab. You will see bid recommendations if you're currently below the first page bid estimate. Otherwise, it will say 'eligible.'

Question: do you recommend having both a singular and plural form of the keyword in a campaign?
Answer: Yes. This allows you to capitalize on more relevant keywords.

Question: Is there any value to having keywords all at the campaign level?
Answer: This is not possible--keywords are housed in ad groups, which are housed in campaigns.

Question: But you can have keywords at the campaign level?
Answer: No. Keywords are added at the ad group level.

Question: Well lets say one keyword is paused, but its active in another it affecting each other?
Answer: The keyword's history is relevant at the account level, so both of the keywords' history will factor. However, the keyword that is active will have a higher weight here, as recent history is more important than older history.

Question: can you have negative keywords at the campaign level?
Answer: Negative keywords can be added at the ad group or campaign lev

Question: does the word order matter for a keyword? 'fresh roses' vs. 'roses fresh' - should an ad group use both or does it not matter?
Answer: I would recommend both to cover your bases.

Question: In general it is a good idea to insert the keyword(s) for your ad group into the ads themselves?
Answer: YES - this lets the advertiser see immediately that whay they searched for is what you are offering, resulting (hopefully) in a higher CTR for you.

Question: What is the recommended number of keywords tied to each ad?
Answer: In a given ad group we recommend no more than 30.

Question: what is the maximum number of keywords that can be there in an adgroup
Answer: Make sure to keep your keywords tightly themed and closely related to your ad text.

Question: how is the QS determined if a keyword has no impressions
Answer: New keywords with no impressions still have a QS assigned. As there is no history in your account for this keyword, the other factors of QS determine the keyword's QS, including how the keyword has performed for other advertisers.

Question: Does clicks from content have the same effect on qs?
Answer: The Quality Score for calculating an ad's eligibility to appear on a particular content site, as well as the ad's position on that site, consists of the following factors: the ad's past performance on this and similar sites, the relevance of the ads and keywords in the ad group to the site, the quality of your landing page

Question: How do you move words to make new campaigns
Answer: If you create a new campaign with new ad groups, you can move keywords from one ad group to another by checking the box to the left of the keyword you'd like to move, selecting 'more actions' and then 'copy' and selecting the new ad group where you'd like to place it.

Question: what is the single most important factor to determining quality score, you didnt say
Answer: I would focus on click through rate. There are many important factors, but this one is crucial to maintaining a strong quality score.

Question: Can I target competitors name in my keywords list (considering we are in the same business) and still have high quality score?
Answer: This is possible, but generally unlikely. This is because users searching directly for a specific brand or company are usually looking for that specific brand or company, resulting in lower CTR and relevance for you. You can certainly try, and if you can maintain high CTR doing this you may see good QS, but again, this typically does not happen.

Question: How do IMAGE ads and keywords interact since, unlike text ads, they CANNOT contain the actual KEYWORDS?
Answer: Image ads can only show on the content network, so will be placed on sites based on the theme of your keywords and how they match up to content pages. The quality score for content is not attributed to a specific keyword.

Question: Can keywords be listed in alphabetical order in campaigns, and how can i do this?
Answer: If you sort by clicking on the header 'Keyword' in the first column on the left within the keywords tab.

Question: What is the difference between the ads that appear at the top of the page and the ones that appear on the right hand side? Are they just lower ranked ads?
Answer: Yes--ads at the top have excellent QS and a sufficient bid to reach that 'top placement.' Ads on the right hand side are lower-ranked ads.

Question: what are the biggest things we can do to impact quality score
Answer: If your landing page has no problems, focus on CTR.

Question: you pay more, you get high CTR? right?
Answer: Not necessarily. You need to have compelling ad text to entice users to actually click on the ads. Having a high bid can get you a good ad rank, but a user will only click on the ad if they're intrigued by your ad text.

Question: What is a good way to decide what campaigns to make if you are selling a lot of different products on your website?
Answer: You should mirror your account structure to your site, so breaking out separate ad groups for your different products or services. You may consider different campaigns rather than ad groups if you'd like to divide up your budget or set different geo-targeting.

Question: when is the next webinar on a different topic?
Answer: In three weeks, we'll do a webinar on Landing Page advice.

Question: how many keywords per adgroup/ad do you recommend? how many adgroups per campaign? why only 3 ads recommends for adgroup? seems low to me
Answer: This can vary, but typically once you have more than 10-20 keywords in an ad group, it's likely you could further refine your keyword lists/ads by breaking the keywords out into even more specific ad groups and targeting these keywords with more specific ads. Put as many ads as you'd like to try out in the ad group--the default setting is to show better performing ads more frequently anyway, so it's essentially an experiment and an optimization performed automatically.

Question: If CTR is the biggest determiner of QS, then how can Google determine QS on a brand new campaign for a brand new account?
Answer: We look at historical factors for the keyword across all of google as well as the account's overall history, and then give keywords the benefit of the doubt for a period as it accrues its own specific CTR and performance history. This is why you sometimes see keywords with a high QS for a few days when they're first added, and then a sharp drop once we have enough information to determine poor performance.

Question: Do I receive your slides automatically along with the vocal part or do I need to request them?
Answer: An email will be sent out (likely tomorrow) to EVERYONE, and it will include the presentation and a recording. The recording may be an earlier recording from a different market due to the technical issues we experienced today, but the material covered is the same.

Question: also, is there a Support Chat url for GG Adwords that would be similar to this chat in here ... ? that would be really great
Answer: If you go to the AdWords Help Center, we often have chat support available depending on the availability of our representatives.

Question: what is a good resource for passing the AdWords qualification exam outside of the learning center?
Answer: Definitely check out the videos on the new AdWords Online Classroom:

Question: Is there a way to find out which ads win a certain bid and how much they paid? Or any other info on them so that you know where you stand with your competitors?
Answer: You can see your average CPC for a given ad if you go to the 'ads' tab. If you look at the average CPC as compared to the average position, you can see how you're performing.

Question: what about setting up keywords for multiple similar websites - will these compete with one another (if for example, you have websites in North America & UK)
Answer: If they are targeting the same areas, then yes. If you are targeting the US website to just the US, and the UK website to just the UK, then the keywords will not be competing with each other.

Question: what is the difference between ad group and new campaign?
Answer: You can create multiple ad groups within a given campaign. At the campaign level you can select your budget and geotargeting, and at the ad group level create your keywords and ad texts.

Question: Does AdWords see FL the same as Florida?
Answer: FL can expand out to Florida if its in broad match, but you may want to add in both variations to cover your bases.

Question: what's the AdWords qualification exam?
Answer: It's called the Google Advertising Professionals program, more info here:

Question: Is there a limit to how many ad groups you can have in a campaign
Answer: 2000 ad groups per campaign

Question: how accurate is geotargeting really? is it better to use national instead?
Answer: If you have a local business, geotargeting is going to allow you to reach a much more targeted audience.

Question: How can you use multiple URLs for the destinations.
Answer: You can set keyword level URLs by customizing columns on the keywords tab and selecting 'Destination Url.'

Question: If goggle give the benefit of the doubt for QS on new account keywords, then how come I've gotten messages that the bid isn't high enough to appear on page 1? Seems to me that the benefit of the doubt would allow it until it proved itself a total disaster as far as QS.
Answer: I understand what you are saying, but it would be impossible to give a generous 'benefit of the doubt' for every keyword added to an account. The system relies on the keyword's performance across all accounts as well as other factors to get a 'starting point' QS. Otherwise, spammers and other low-quality advertisers (not implying this is you!) would be able to start new accounts and see good results for at least a short period of time for high-value or high-traffic keywords, resulting in search results pages clogged with poor quality ads. This would be a terrible user experience.

Question: can you have geotargeting for one website and national for the other, then will the keywords be competing?
Answer: If you're using the same keywords in both campaigns, you should exclude the local region in your national campaign so you have one campaign locally targeted to that area, and one for the rest of the country without overlap. You can set up location exclusion from the location targeting on the settings tab.

Question: My business has a 10 mile radius and I use geotargeting. But, I'd like to refine that to a smaller area and fewer communities. I tried using the Google to do that and it failed completely. Will you be providing better geotargeting in the future?
Answer: I hear what you're saying here. The trouble is, location is determined at a local level by IP address, which starts to get inaccurate when you get more specific than a 10-mile radius.

Question: If you have the same keyword in multiple campaigns, and it says it will not double serve, what should be done,
Answer: Remove duplicate keywords so that you dont have to worry about competing with yourself.

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