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Expert and novice PPC account managers are all well aware of the value of the Adwords Quality Score. Less well known are the strategies for improving it.

Here are our best suggestions for improving your Quality Score and thereby improving your campaign performance. The example provided is specific to a Search Only campaign. If you have a Hybrid Campaign (running Search & Display we recommend you separate the Search from the Display campaign first). (Also, bear in mind there is more than one way to do this, but this example works well).

You’ll want to begin with a deep account analysis. First run a Keyword report to get a baseline idea of your current Quality Scores. (NOTE: the date range won’t matter as Google does not report on historical QS. This is very important information and you’ll need to retain this report to track QS improvement over time).

Identify your threshold for poor performance. Obviously you want the highest possible Quality Score that you can get across the board, but we’ve got to begin somewhere. As a suggestion, let’s focus first on all phrases with a quality of three or lower.

Isolate these phrases, we’ll be testing them in the following reports.

If the under-performing phrases aren’t set to exact match, run a Search Query Report. All matched searches MUST be a good fit for the ads and landing pages in that group. At this stage you may also be able to quickly identify additions to your negative keyword list as well as spot opportunities to expand your Keyword volume with an additional Ad group.

Relevance is key. After scoring your Matched Search Query Report, re-examine the ads in your Ad group. Are all keywords relevant to all ads? If not, you may want to split your Ad group out into multiple Ad groups.

Ensure that there is a clear and concise call to action in each ad.

Once you have your keyword to ad relevancy where you want it, it’s time to examine your landing pages. Again, you are looking for relevance. If you were the searcher and you’ve just typed in the Keywords that triggered your highly relevant ad and landing page, would you be satisfied with the results? Would your question(s) be answered? Would you know what to do next? If the answer to these questions isn’t a resounding YES, then you’ve got work to do. You might want to consider a landing page re-design.

REMEMBER: the above process will not likely be done all at once. Consider spreading this process out, as even small incremental changes may provide a QS boost. Additionally, you may choose to repeat this process on a monthly basis. You’ll be surprised at the high level of specificity you will eventually achieve in your account.

Other helpful hints: utilize ad extensions. Enable as many extensions as you reasonably can. And ensure that your extensions are relevant (noticing a theme here?). Take advantage of Ad group level sitelink extensions to improve relevancy.

And finally, don’t forget to track. You’ll need to run regular reports in order to analyze your Quality Score adjustments. As you see improvements, your poor performance threshold will change. When you no longer have phrases with a QS of three or lower, you’ll need to begin looking at your fours and so on and so forth. And before you know it, you’ll have developed a Quality Score routine and you’ll have your clients singing your praises.


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