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Old 04-02-2007   #1
PPC
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Quality Score Calculation

I wonder how Google does calculate its "Quality Score"...

So I just set up a brand new AdWords account. Based on scanning my web site, Google actually recommends a set of keywords. I add these keywords to my account and write ads focused around these specific keywords. In fact, many of the keywords variations are in the ad text, display url, title and description. Before these keywords or ads even start generating impressions, they are given a quality score of "poor" with high minimum bids required!

Note that it is a brand new account, new ads, new keywords so they have no history. The content on the site is certainly relevant as are the ads I have written, not to mention both the display url and the destination url (they are the same) have a variation of the most popular keyword right in it.

What is most frustrating is that this is a very good site, professionally done with extremely relevant content yet some algorithm decides that it is of poor quality before any traffic has even been directed there! And to top it off, Google actually supplied the keywords by spidering the site - which tells me that the content has to be there and Google knows it!

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Old 04-02-2007   #2
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Somehow, almost all of the "Poor" rankings have changed to "OK" or "Great".




Maybe I just need to complain here and magically things will be fixed?

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Old 04-04-2007   #3
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In this quality score world, and with the other two also focusing more on "user experience," your problem won't simply go away.

I've been employing smaller ad groups in order to influence a higher quality score. In many instances, these contain only the broad, phrase, and exact match variations of only a single search term. Makes for a montrous number of ad groups, but if you follow the 80/20 rule, you'd be doing this for only your top 100 or so terms.

Make sure your ad copy references your search query, and you'll see quality score improvements as you'll improve the relevancy of your query to your ad, which will improve CTR and "user experience."
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Old 04-05-2007   #4
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I hear what you are saying ISGKelly. My problem was that, I was promoting a website, we could call it... www.widgets.com.

Based on my website content, Google recommends I bid on the term: 'widgets'.

My ad reads...

Free Widgets
Need Widgets? We Have Widgets.
We Carry Any & All Widgets!
www.widgets.com

Then before the term/ad gets any traffic at all, its quality score is "Poor". "Please increase quality score or raise bid to $5.00".

Huh?

It seems to have magically fixed itself now as my quality scores look fine. But why the initial low quality score?
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Old 04-05-2007   #5
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This is the necessary evil that is Google. The quality score exists to maximize profitability and increase user experience, but hey, AdWords is pretty simple to use, and no other platform provides ROI at such a high volume.

Glad that it corrected itself for you and your widgets.
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Old 04-05-2007   #6
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How to (possibly) boost your Quality Score

Don't forget - taking you widgets ad below as an example - if you want to maximize your chances of getting a good quality score...

1) ad should also contain the singular, widget in the ad copy
2) the landing page sure better have "free widgets" in the TITLE TAG and in the page content
3) the landing page should offer *free* widgets for real with no strings attached
4) your keyword set should be totally focused, with all phrases containing the word widget or widgets
5) your landing page URL should contain freewidgets somewhere in the path name, example: www.widgets.com/freewidgets.html
6) if possible, your entire website and domain name should be about widgets

Also, in general, I find that "free" is a tricky word to use. So, good luck selling (sorry, I mean giving away) widgets

Free Widgets
Need Widgets? We Have Widgets.
We Carry Any & All Widgets!
www.widgets.com
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Old 04-09-2007   #7
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8 Things we know [and suspect] about the Adwords Quality Score Calculation

8 Things We Know [and suspect] about the Adwords Quality Score calculation:

#1: Pages Beyond Your Landing Page Affect Your Quality Score

We know this because "Google Slap 1" (when Quality Score was introduced) heavily penalised sites which had only very thin content - particularly one-page-sales-letters and squeeze pages.

#2: Google Compares Your Site Against Other Sites Competing For The Same Keyword

We know Google compares your site (in some way) against other web-sites competing for the same keyword because it makes some assumptions about the performance of your ad (CTR, CPC, Ad Position) when you initially set up the Adwords account.
It also gives you an initial "Quality Score" which sometimes defies explanation (such as in the case of PPC above, who received quality scores of "Poor" without having received any traffic).

#3: We Know Theming Landing Pages / Sites Is Important

We know this because Google says as much :P
http://adwords.blogspot.com/2006/11/...ty-update.html
https://adwords.google.com/select/si...t-awb-070706_2

And we assume that Google's Adwords Spider looks at some of the same factors that Google's Search Engine spider does - keyword density, title tags, H1's etc.

Abbotsys hits the nail on the head - the more reasons you give Google to think your page is about your keyword, the better your quality score will be for that keyword.

#4: We Know The Keywords In An Adgroup Affect Each Other

We know this because using the "Peel and Stick" method, we can split "Good", "OK" and "Poor" keywords - and have them all improve (often with better quality scores, sometimes with lower CPC's).

Again - Just as Abbotsys said (in his post above) having keywords which are as closely related as possible does affect your quality score.

#5: We Know That Your Ad Text, Keyword and Landing Page should be as closely related as possible

Because of the same reasons listed above.

#6: We Know That Having An Easy-To-Navigate Site Affects Quality Score

It's one of the things Google suggests:
https://adwords.google.com/select/si...t-awb-070706_2
If not for spiderability, then for some other reason.

#7: We Suspect Google Tracks Bounce Rates

It would be a really easy, and clear way for Google to get an indication of your quality score... If you're not providing a good quality experience for users, then they'll hit the back button.

So if a user clicks on your ad and is back on the SERPs within a few seconds, then they probably didn't get what they were after.

#8: We Suspect Google Looks At "Offer Words"

Like "Free" etc.

Back to the Landing Page Guidelines:
Quote:
Example:
If you advertise an offer for a free product or service, users should not have to pass through excessive obstacles or make a purchase in order to receive the offer.
However, this *could* just be Google just suggesting that this will affect your bounce rates.


Adwords Quality Score is an area which I have a particular interest in.
I wrote an article on "6 SEO Tips to Improve Your Google Adwords Quality Score" a little while ago - and that has some helpful information in it.

Have I missed anything?

Brent
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Old 04-09-2007   #8
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good summary - a great first post.

But the landing page QS is just good or poor basically.... there is no degrees from what I have been told by people at Google
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Old 04-09-2007   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieWebmaster
good summary - a great first post.

But the landing page QS is just good or poor basically.... there is no degrees from what I have been told by people at Google
Great to see another Aussie

You're right - it seems like there are a small number of distinct scores - Good, OK and Poor

As for the "degrees" - I'm sure there is a mathematical value assigned to each one of those scores... So (for example) that if your Quality Score is between 0 and 3, you get a Quality Score of "Poor".. Between 3 and 6 you're "OK". 6 to 10 you're "Good". (or it may be logarithmic like Page Rank is)

So although you might be ranked "Poor", a small change might see your Quality Score go from a 2 to a 4, you step over the "Good" Quality Score threshold and your Minimum CPC drops accordingly.


Are there different levels of "Good", "Poor" and "OK"

Have a look at this...

We know Quality Score affects the Minimum CPC

So, looking at one of the Adwords campaigns I'm running at the moment, I have 6 distinct sets of Minimum Bids.

Good = $0.13
OK = $0.19
OK = $0.25
OK = $0.38
Poor = $0.50
Poor = $1.30

These are all very closely related keywords (ie - web design, website design, web development, web-design etc) in two Adgroups.

There are two explanations that I can come up with for this:

1) There are several different levels of "Good", "OK" and "Poor".

Even though Quality Score is only listed as "Good", "OK" or "Poor", there are sub-scores within these.

So you have:

Good A = Best Possible Minimum Bid
Good B
Good C
OK A
OK B
OK C
Poor A
Poor B
Poor C = Worst Possible Minimum Bid

This would explain why I'm getting several different levels of Minimum Bids for such closely related keywords.

It doesn't quite explain the feedback you've received from Google though (unless the person who was giving you feedback was over-simplifying things, didn't know, was lying, or providing you with limited information to stop people from "gaming the system")


2) The Keywords are Less Related Than You or I May Think.

In Abbotsys's post, he mentions using the singlular "widget" instead of the plural "widgets" - and how this could make a difference

But we know Google works hard on getting their Latent Semantic Analysis right - and a large part of this is making sure they gather related keywords.

We see this in their search results all the time - a search for the singular will still give you results which mention the plural, and vice versa. (And will even bold the word, showing you that Google recognises these as the same - if not largely the same - words).

Thoughts?

Last edited by Brent : 04-09-2007 at 05:02 AM. Reason: fixing mistake
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Old 04-09-2007   #10
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Thats very helpful info Brent!
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Old 04-11-2007   #11
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Quote:
Are there different levels of "Good", "Poor" and "OK"

Have a look at this...

We know Quality Score affects the Minimum CPC

So, looking at one of the Adwords campaigns I'm running at the moment, I have 6 distinct sets of Minimum Bids.

Good = $0.13
OK = $0.19
OK = $0.25
OK = $0.38
Poor = $0.50
Poor = $1.30

These are all very closely related keywords (ie - web design, website design, web development, web-design etc) in two Adgroups.

There are two explanations that I can come up with for this:

1) There are several different levels of "Good", "OK" and "Poor".

Even though Quality Score is only listed as "Good", "OK" or "Poor", there are sub-scores within these.

So you have:

Good A = Best Possible Minimum Bid
Good B
Good C
OK A
OK B
OK C
Poor A
Poor B
Poor C = Worst Possible Minimum Bid

This would explain why I'm getting several different levels of Minimum Bids for such closely related keywords.
There are different levels of quality performance within the 'Great', 'Ok' and 'Poor' brackets. Google use just 3 visible measures as they do not want to give away to much. The rough minimum bid ranges which reflect in QS for each were mentioned on Google Groups.

Quote:
Just to give you a rough estimate of how minimum bids and these quality “buckets” currently align… “Great” keywords have a minimum bid less than or equal to $0.04, “Okay” keywords have a minimum bid between $0.05 and $0.30, and “Poor” keywords have a minimum bid that is higher than $0.30.
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Old 04-11-2007   #12
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Great info Toure!

I wouldn't have found that otherwise (only so many hours in a day, and I don't spend time on Google Groups).

I thought this little gem was particularly interesting:

Quote:
...minimum bids...provide a more accurate estimate of your Quality Score.
*adds reputation to Toure* - a great find from a source I wouldn't have otherwise checked!
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Old 04-12-2007   #13
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No problems buddy
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