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How to Improve the PPC Quality Score

Improving your PPC quality score when using a service like Google AdWords can seem like a new version of Mission Impossible. To have successful paid search marketing campaigns, a quality score must be achieved. There’s no getting around that fact. It’s a metric that can be difficult to master and cause experts in this field to suffer from frequent headaches.

Now here’s some good news. If you want to know how to improve the PPC quality score of your next campaign, here are some ways that have been proven to work.

Consider This 3 Step Process As Your Starting Point

Every account is going to have some variation to it, so don’t assume that a cookie cutter process of improvement will work the same way for everyone. In general, however, this simple 3 step process can help you to set a firm foundation for your campaign so that there is the potential of raising your PPC quality score.

1. Take time to carefully examine the keywords that have the low quality score. You can often find a reason for the low quality score there and that will give you a great placed to get started.

2. Look at how the advertising targeted the demographic in question to determine if it was relevant. If it is not relevant, then switch the advertising to a new group.

3. Improve the creative so the copy and then test it to see if the targeted demographics respond better to the updated call to action.

The truth here is that there are so many account-specific issues that are typically in play that it is virtually impossible to put them into general improvement advice. These three steps, however, will give you a good place to get started.

Do You Have a Small Subset of Low Quality Scores?

There is one place where generalities do rule the day: with small subset advertising or keywords. In this circumstance, it’s virtually always a low CTR that is causing the low quality score. To fix this issue, consider pulling the entire subset of keywords or ads and put them into a new group. Have new creatives installed for this subset that is more relevant to what people are seeing. You may have to increase your bid scores in order to get more exposures and ultimately a higher CTR.

If you still aren’t seeing results, then there is a possibility that the keyword that has been targeted isn’t relevant to the search engines at all. Non-relevant keywords are problems that affect all advertisers equally, so pull the entire subset and go with a different focus if that’s what you’re seeing.

You may also consider doing the exact opposite: a complete removal of the small subset of underperformers. Look at switching up the keywords so that they are optimized as much as your ad content happens to be. If you have an expanded keyword list of relevant words, can afford some increased bidding, and a solid landing page, then removal of the keyword subset isn’t as risky as it sounds on paper.

The Pain of the Google Slap

The main reason why a domain owner wants to improve their quality score is that they’ve been hit by what is known as the “Google Slap” in the PPC industry. The Google Slap refers to a quality score being instantly dropped to 1/10. This happens quite often and the cause is a policy violation. There are certain websites that Google will not advertise with AdWords. If your website is in violation of this policy, then this action effectively kicks a site out of the PPC program.

In some cases, there’s not a lot that can be done about this. If your site is a bridge page or an affiliate site, then you’re out of luck. Even if you had results in the past, violating Google’s policies will eventually catch up with your site. If you know that your site qualifies and you still get the Google Slap, then go through every detail of your website to look for possible violations. Fix anything that might have the chance of being considered a violation and then ask for a manual review of your account as an appeal.

If you win the appeal, then your quality score will go up. If you lose the appeal, then your PPC quality score will be 1/10 until you bring the site into full compliance.

Sometimes Your Quality Score Doesn’t Matter

Having a 10/10 quality score is pretty awesome, but what if you’ve got a great ad and no sales? Increasing the PPC quality score is certainly a priority, but it can’t be your only priority. You need to have ads that will actually sell something. If you’ve got a perfect quality score and a huge bounce rate, then your ROI is going to take a pretty serious hit.

Sometimes your quality score doesn’t matter as much as the actual sales. It is possible to sacrifice some of your quality score to improve the screening capabilities of your ad. By putting in specific qualification factors, like “Get 4 Tires for $700,” you’ll stop some wasteful clicks from occurring. It won’t do your quality score any favors, but it could improve your overall ROI.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do to push up your PPC quality score.

  • You can put in a focus on long tail keywords to get the best of both words.
  • Having tighter groupings can also be of benefit.
  • Use niche keywords, as long as they are relevant, can also provide some smaller results, but higher quality scores.

Changing Out the URL Can Have Massive Benefits

Quality today almost always boils down to value. In order to have a high quality score, you need to focus on having a high value score. If your advertising is pointing clickers to a URL that isn’t very relevant to what the advertisement is actually about, then the quality score is going to go down simply because there isn’t enough value in the experience. Something as simple as a poor URL can be enough to create a lower quality score.

You don’t have to do a major overhaul of your website to provide more value. Instead of pointing toward a home page or a landing page, a campaign that points to a full description of the service, product, or information that is being offered to clickers could have a dramatic impact on the quality score. As long as you have internal links that can expertly guide visitors through your site and you make the buying experience simple, then you can quickly fix the quality score issue.

Sometimes there is nothing wrong with your advertising at all. The landing page really can be the issue behind a low quality score. Your content and groupings will compose 67% of your primary score drivers, but the landing page provides the other third of the score. If you haven’t optimized your landing page, then you’ll never get a high quality score.

How do you improve the optimization your landing page? Think about white hat SEO techniques here and you’ll be able to find some success.

  • Load up the landing page with interesting visuals, relevant videos, and other stimulating components that attract a visitor’s attention.
  • Direct people to where they need to go with subtle cues, such as a person looking at the information boxes that need to be filled out.
  • Simplify, simplify, simplify.
  • Don’t include any links that are spammy. The only links included should be those that are necessary to lead a prospect deeper into your sales funnel.

If the user experience is good, the page or micro-site is optimized, and you’ve got tighter groupings and solid creatives, then over time your quality score should improve. Problem solved.

Are You Ready To Improve Your PPC Quality Score?

If you have tried everything here and you’re still not seeing some improvements in your quality score, then a very simple problem might be occurring. Your website could be experiencing downtime that you’re not aware of at this very moment. Even if you have a dedicated IT team working on your site, it is possible that hosting issues could be causing interference with clickers and it only takes a couple of outages at the wrong time to reduce the value that’s seen in a campaign.

Invest into a good monitoring service that will look at your website and let you know if and when it is going down. If there is a consistent pattern of outages, then creating more up time will create a higher quality score.

Although a PPC quality score that is high isn’t a 100% guarantee of better business, it isn’t something that can be completely ignored either. Higher scores typically result in more prospects and that will lead to more revenue options. Get started with the optimization process today, avoid the Google Slap, and you’ll be able to make the most of your next PPC campaign.

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