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Google Increases Transparency in Quality Scores

Posted on Tuesday, May 8th, 2012 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Featured, SEM

My experiences with most Google releases are typically a roller coaster of emotions. They start with sheer terror, transition into a “Protect This House” mentality and end with triumphant high-fiving after taming the beast and hopefully increasing effectiveness of each campaign. Inevitably once calm has returned to my adWords life, there is another release around the corner and I am again faced with a panic attack and more work.

Google’s recent announcement caught me off guard, however, as it didn’t actually change the performance of anything in my accounts. Instead, it provided insight into how I could help struggling Keywords perform better and ultimately become….cheaper? Now you’re talking my language – there’s nothing scary about better traffic for less!

This release offers advertisers more information about an unknown factor which has puzzled many of us alike – Quality Score.

The exact algorithm behind determining Quality Score remains a mystery, and similarly the effect that the score has on ad placement and price has not changed. Quality Scores remain on a scale of 1 to 10, and are still based on a number of elements including:

  • The past Click-Through Rate of the Keyword
  • The past Click-Through-Rate of the Destination URL
  • Account History
  • Landing Page Quality
  • Keyword / Ad Relevance
  • Keyword / Landing Page Relevance
  • Geographic and Display Network Performance

The relative weight of each of these factors is still unknown and Google states that they have not made any changes to the way each Keyword is actually scored. However, the new release provides hints to advertisers on where to focus when looking to improve on a Keyword’s score.

Each Keyword rating is now accompanied by a relative scale for Expected Click-Through-Rate, Ad Relevance, and Landing Page Experience. Each category is now rated as “Average,” “Above Average,” or “Below Average.” These scales will show advertisers where to focus their efforts when trying to optimize struggling Keywords. It will save time, and hopefully save money, since a better Quality Score essentially means a better position in market for a cheaper cost. In fact, at first glance this appears to be a win-win for advertisers and consumers alike. More relevant landing pages and ad copy ultimately means a better user experience for searchers. Though the man behind the curtain has not yet been revealed, this release does take us one step closer to perfectly optimized campaigns.

About Katie Carlson

Katie Carlson is an Account Manager at The Search Agency that specializes in SEM. Working in the Online Marketing space since 2007, she has managed web experiences and online media buying for national and global brands. Katie’s experience ranges from content creation to affiliate management. In 2010, her responsibilities shifted to focus on the management and optimization of direct response paid search campaigns as a primary revenue channel in the financial vertical. Katie graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s University with a Bachelor’s in Business, a Concentration in Marketing and a Minor in Rhetoric Communications. In 2011 Katie completed a Master’s in Business Administration from Loyola University, Maryland. She enjoys watching college basketball and playing in city sports leagues.

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4 Responses to “Google Increases Transparency in Quality Scores”

  1. Aweaome article!!

    I think Google has had to give something to the user in order to keep its adwords campaigns number. After all it is where there focus lies. But this will help most of us and in turn stick the giant.
    Google has obviously woken up to meet the demands of users and marketers in providing a better user experience across the board! Your Thoughts?

    I just hope that they keep there promises keep up the efforts to improve the web!

    Thanks again for the awesome post!

  2. Luke W says:

    Och, it’s a step in the right direction but I agree with Gus above that the big G need to go a bit further down the road with this before we’re all going to be happy happy.with the UX.

  3. I agree with you both in that I don’t think Google released this to purposefully make life easier for advertisers. More so they were motivated by improving user experience through quality content and more relevant KW / Ad / Landing Page experiences. In order to get that for the consumer, they have to work with advertisers and provide incentive for them to enhance certain customer experience touch points. Google benefited the advertisers to ultimately enhance their product for consumers. Making my life easier was just an added bonus that occurred as a result.

    Advertising made up more than 97% of Google’s revenue last year, but with no true competitor for online advertisers to turn to and receive the volume of search traffic, they aren’t going to be hard pressed to listen to every one of my very many (and princess-like) demands. Ultimately they are business, so keeping their customers (searchers) happy and financials growing are natural priorities. And hey, I can’t complain too much – these changes, after all, are what keep me employed!

    Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts!


    • Bill Carlson says:

      Kathleen, You are always The Professional.
      A Terrific First Class Businees Lady that
      always takes care of business


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