One of the great mysteries of paid traffic is understanding the factors that motivate the Google Gods to place your PPC ad in position 1, 2 or even 3. This positioning is determined by something called Ad Rank. But how can you improve your Ad Rank? You do this by improving your Quality Score, which is what we’re going to explain here. (We also have a little help from Google’s Chief Economist, Val Harian, in an easy to follow video in this post!)
The first thing to know is that this is an AUCTION.
You are bidding against other advertisers for the opportunity to put your ad in front of user’s eyeballs. But if you think the merchant willing to pay the most money wins, you’d be wrong. Here’s why…
There are really four considerations to who wins top placement. These are:
- How much you are willing to pay per click (duh!)
- Your ad copy (does it make people click on the ad?)
- The relevance of your ad (does your ad copy match the user’s query?)
- The quality of your landing page (does the destination match the ad, the query and the keyword?)
What’s interesting to note is that all of these things are in your control. So we can stop blaming those cheddar heads at Google.
Turns out we’re the cheddar heads.
So, let’s break those four qualifiers down a little more.
Number 1: Bid price
This is pretty easy to grasp. Bid as much as you can afford to pay. Remember, you can bid higher and lower your daily budget to manage expenses if necessary.
Another important thing to know when setting up your AdWords campaign – when it comes to keywords, LESS is MORE. Gone are the days when you could have hundreds of keywords in your campaign to try and hit a bigger target. Google likes small, focused groups of keywords that are actually contained in the content. Every landing page should try to incorporate it’s target keywords in the URL, the copy and the ad itself.
Number 2: Click Through Rate (CTR)
I know, I know… Number 2 changed from “Ad Copy” to “CTR”. I did this to make a point. As it turns out, CTR is the single biggest factor in determining your Ad Rank. Google holds public opinion in the highest regard – thus, if lots of people click on your ad, it must be a good ad.
The question, then, is “How do I get people to want to click on my ad?”
Well, provided that you have correctly identified the target audience through proper keywords, the only motivating factor left is COPY. When you have good, enticing, relevant, even controversial copy, people will want to click on it.
Number 3: Ad Relevance
Related and relevant are not the same thing. If someone searches for “best rated golf clubs”, they are unlikely to click on the ad that says, “Glow-in-the-dark golf balls”. They’re related by golf categorically, but that’s not what the user is searching for. And when they don’t click on your displayed ad, your CTR goes down and drags down your Quality Score with it! So give ‘em what they want by choosing relevant keywords and writing relevant copy.
Number 4: Landing Page Quality
When someone does click on your ad, they are directed to a webpage. This initial page is their “landing page”, and it is another huge factor in determining your Quality Score.
There are many things that contribute to a successful landing page, and there are endless tutorials available online to help. One of the chief contributors is again, relevancy. Google wants to see consistency across the spectrum of the user experience, so be certain that what is advertised is what they get. Some ways to help ensure this? Use the keyword (or keyphrase) in the landing page URL and the headline of the content, as well as in the body copy. For example, in our (fictional) “best rated golf clubs” scenario:
Keyword phrase: “best rated golf clubs”
Ad: Swingers – undeniably the best rated golf clubs, ever!
Landing Page URL: www.swingersgolfclubs.com/best-rated-golf-clubs
Landing Page headline: Looking for the best rated golf clubs? You’ve found them! Here’s why…
Other factors that make up a quality landing page are:
- Original content
- Clear, well executed information. Videos and infographics are favored components.
- NO advertising. Don’t put AdSense on your landing page. It’s a big no-no.
- Transparency in intention. If you are trying to get an opt-in, make sure that is clear in the ad. If you are selling something, try not to sell on the landing page, but rather give valuable content and then offer a link for more information about your product or service.
So, now with that understanding in place, let’s meet Val Harian, the Chief Economist at Google, who will explain exactly how the Quality Score is calculated so you can CRUSH IT with your AdWords campaign!