What’s Up With Google’s Change of Stance on AdWords Quality Score?
In a recent communication with the public, Google completely (and almost inexplicably) downplayed the importance of Quality Score in AdWords, calling it a “helpful diagnostic tool, not a key performance indicator.” The search engine giant likened Quality Score to a warning light in a car’s engine, which conveys the health of your ads and keywords. We all love analogies, but this one’s a bit jarring, seeing that it directly conflicts with a video statement Google released in 2011, in which it essentially likened Quality Score to a car’s gas pedal – it’s what pushes your ads forward. “… Quality Score also plays a key role in determining your ad’s position and how much you’ll pay for a click,” Google announced in 2011.
So tell us, Google, what gives?
The Truth Behind Google’s Shift on Quality Score
When it comes to earning a high Quality Score, advertisers have to focus on beating the expected click-through rate for a given ad position. If your ad earns above the average CTR, it get a higher Quality Score. If it earns below the average CTR, well, your Quality Score won’t be so high. When you look at it from this perspective (averaging all advertisers’ CTRs against one another), it becomes obvious that half of all AdWords advertisers score below the average (and thus, don’t earn high Quality Scores). That’s because Quality Score is graded on a curve. It’s the same as if you’re in school, and your teacher grades essays on a curve. Not everyone will score an A . A good portion of the class will earn lower marks. It’s just the way things are.
But this “just the way things are” reality is likely why Google’s trying to downplay its Quality Score importance. It’s statistically impossible for every advertiser to get high Quality Scores, meaning that Google is then turning its back on half of its advertisers if it says that Quality Score has a significant impact on ad positioning (like they did in 2011).
What Should You Take From This Latest Google Announcement?
Well, for starters, you should assume that Google isn’t always forthright with its information. The search engine has to keep some things private in an effort to prevent strategies that game the system. But you should also consider a new approach to your keywords. In the past, Google stated that only exact match keyword data was used to impact a keyword’s Quality Score; however, in its most recent statement, Google expanded this notion, to include landing pages and related ads. So long as your landing pages and related ads are in good standing, Google claims it’ll continue to hold these keywords in high regard. Thus, as you look to make changes to your campaigns, consider spending time deleting poor quality keywords. The CTRs of these keywords could impact the Quality Scores of your new keywords.
Also, in an effort to raise your overall CTR, bid on branded keywords. This has been a proven way to increase CTR, which will certainly help improve your new keyword Quality Score.
If you’re a little unsure of how to read into Google’s latest stance on Quality Score, OperationROI can help. Call us at 1-888-277-5429 or fill out our contact form to learn more about how we can help you boost your Quality Score and overall CTR.