The Importance of PPC Quality Score

Paid Media Advertising

Quality score is one of the most important factors of pay-per-click search advertising. When you have poor quality scores in your PPC account, you end up paying more money than you should for clicks. In this article we will examine the cause and effect of our quality scores and talk about how to make them better.

Quality Score + Your Bid = Your Position on the Page

Higher quality scores mean a higher position at a lower cost. Your position on a search engine result page depends on the ad rank of the ads. Ad rank is a formula that decides how much you will pay-per-click (actual CPC) and position based on your bid and quality score. This is calculated every time your ads are eligible to appear (every time someone searches your targeted keywords). Sure you could raise your bid to increase your ad position, but that is definitely not the “strategy” I would suggest. This drives up your costs and consequently increases your cost per acquisition, which hurts your bottom line. The smartest way to tackle this kind of issue is by putting in the elbow grease necessary to get that quality score up.

Landing Pages: It’s All About the Experience

No, this does not mean that all you have to do is include your targeted keywords on your landing pages. We wish it was that simple, but it isn’t. The landing page experience needs to be relevant to your keywords and needs to be an enjoyable experience for the user who visits your landing page. There are the three key elements that go into providing a good landing page experience:

  • Content must not only be relevant, but useful and original.
    • This means no copy and paste from corporate product pages – this is considered duplicate content and will result in poor QS.
  • Landing page content must be transparent and promote your company as trustworthy.
    • Don’t have a link that says “information” and when someone visits the link they must complete a survey to get the information first.
  • Make sure information is easy to find on your website.
    • Say a potential client has questions about a product before they order and they cannot find a phone number or contact information for you easily on the site. You will most likely lose that sale. Unless you’ve stumbled across the most patient consumer on the planet, in that case you’re ok. But most users have the attention span of a goldfish – about 9 seconds (not joking).

Good Ad Copy + Using the Right Keywords = Good CTR

If you don’t create attention-getting ads right out of the gate, you are hurting your quality score. Google not only looks at your current click-through rate (CTR – clicks vs impressions), but also your historical CTR. After months or years of a poor CTR, and poor quality score, don’t be fooled into thinking a digital marketing agency you hire can swoop in, wave a magic marketing wand, and magically improve your quality score. Agencies can eventually improve it, but it usually takes some time to accrue positive statistics that will negate all of the bad data from past performance. How to write compelling ad text is a conversation for another day, but here are a couple points:

  • Your ad text needs to be specific to the keywords and landing pages.
    • For example, if you sell flowers and your keywords are “red roses” the ad text should be all about red roses. The landing page should also be clearly about red roses.
  • Stand out! What do you offer that sets you apart from the competition? Include it in your ad text. It helps to include keywords that you are targeting in the text – they will appear in bold.
    • If you offer free shipping or if your prices are $20 lower than the competition, consider including free shipping or the price of your product in the ad. In fact, including the price of your product in the ad text lets the searcher know what to expect when they reach your website which builds trust!
  • Use a clear, strong call to action.
    • This lets the user know what you want them to do when they reach your website and can also creates a sense of urgency. A call to action usually looks like this:
      • Limited Space, Sign Up Now!
      • Call Us Today!
      • Order Yours Before They’re Gone!

Before raising your bids or giving up on your account entirely, try some of these steps. Restructure your campaigns and ad groups if you need to. Don’t fall in love with the structure of your account – always be willing to change it. To adapt to the constantly changing atmosphere of PPC your thinking needs to be malleable. Experiment and always keep an eye on your quality score. They can be the difference between making money and spending money.

About the Author

Nick Footer

Nick Footer is an entrepreneur and founder of Intuitive Digital, a national award-winning digital marketing agency in Portland, Oregon. With over 15 years of experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses improve their online presence through search engine optimization, paid advertising, and website design.

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