If you use PPC as part of your digital marketing efforts, you’re probably familiar with the term Quality Score.
It’s an indication of the quality of your keywords, ads, and landing pages, helping you understand how competitive your ads are in the marketplace.
Based on a score of 1-10, with 10 being the very best, the score is available as a column in either your Bing Ads (the company I work for) or Google Ads UIs.
It’s intended to inform your advertising strategy, helping your ads become more searchable and dollars go farther.
It’s pretty easy to ignore, especially if you believe there’s nothing you can do to improve your ranking.
But I’m here to tell you, the numbers matter, and your quality score is still a very important diagnostic tool in your search toolkit.
OK, it isn’t the “end-all” that tells you if you should or should not be advertising on a keyword.
However, it lets you know if something isn’t working the way you expected it to and how to fix it.
Here’s why your quality score still matters.
Quality score is essentially a calculation to explain the relevance of your keywords to the search queries, your keywords to your ad copy, your keywords to the landing page, and then the landing page to the ad copy.
Picture a Venn Diagram trifecta of relevance, and when all three of these components overlap, that is a number 10 quality score, and it’s perfect.
That means your keyword is related to the landing page, it’s related to the search query, and the search query is related to the ad copy.
It’s a beautiful thing!
Your quality score times your CPC equals a number, and it’s used to decide who ranks where within the search auction, and that dictates how much your overall spend is going to be.
For example, if you have a quality score of 1 and another advertiser has a quality score of 10, you will have to pay 10 times more to outrank your competitor’s keyword.
If you bid $1 with a quality score of 1, your competitor with a score of 10 would only have to pay $0.10 to outbid you.
As you can see, it’s much more expensive to you as an advertiser for lower quality score keywords. But that doesn’t mean those keywords aren’t potentially important to your business.
It means that you have the opportunity to improve the relevance and lower your cost through your ad copy, your landing pages, or your query to keyword mapping.
When we think about quality score, there are three components that it measures, and as you optimize these three components, searchable magic happens.
Here are a few areas you can focus on to improve that stubborn quality score.
Your expected click-through rate and ad relevance tell you if the rate you receive for that keyword above or below average. If it’s below average, take a look at your ad text.
The expected CTR is all about ad creativity that inspires action and results on the page.
Think about how to highlight a unique benefit of your product or service, or experiment with different calls to action.
Try being more specific in your ad text and making sure that the search query is relevant to that keyword so that it’s showing up in that ad copy.
Understand the difference between search terms and the queries people use to search (i.e., the formal term of pacifier vs. other ways people may search for these words like binky, binkie and paci).
Bidding on your competitor’s brand terms and phrases (a.k.a. conquesting) can add to a lower expected CTR as well.
For example, if you’re selling Nike shoes and somebody’s searching for Adidas, you shouldn’t have Adidas in your ad copy unless you have Adidas products for sale. (There are policies for conquesting and using trademarks as part of the editorial guidelines.)
This goes back to the relevance of your keywords to the search queries, the keywords to your ad copy. If your ad relevance score is low, there are a few key ways to improve it:
Consumers expect that when they click on an ad that says, “Get a pair of Nike shoes, $29.99,” that they will see Nike shoes for $29.99 on that page. And if they don’t, your score is going to head south.
Here are a couple suggestions to boost this score:
Quality score is a Swiss army knife in your diagnostic toolkit that helps you uncover what might be going on – on your site, with your ad copy or with your keywords, to make your accounts perform better.
There are no shortcuts to a better quality score – it takes hard work. But honestly, a little change can go a long way to boost your rank and make search work for you.
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