When you’re writing your Google ads, do you just cobble something together that’ll do the job, or do you focus on maxing out your Quality Score as best you can? If you do the latter, off you trot. You probably don’t need to read this. But if you know you’re not getting the most out of your AdWords campaigns, then read on.
Generally speaking, you want to shoot for a Quality Score of at least 7 if you want your ad campaign to be successful (although some would argue you can now get away with less). And by successful, we obviously mean “brings in the big bucks,” or, as those more scrupulous than ourselves like to say, “has a good ROI.”
But how? we hear you cry. Well, like this:
Choose Relevant Keywords
Is that too obvious? Well, maybe. But it’s worth mentioning, because it’s pretty damn important.
Construct a solid foundation for your AdWords campaign by choosing keywords that are highly relevant to the products or services you sell. Start by consulting your analytics and log files to see which words or phrases send the most traffic and conversions your way.
It’s essential that both your ad copy and your landing page are relevant to your keywords – their relevance to each other is used to determine your Quality Score, and Google won’t be a happy bunny if you try to trick your visitors. For maximum impact (and we’re all our about maximum impact here – it makes us feel like we’re in a natural disaster movie, which is the best kind of movie), ensure your keyword appears in the ad copy, and in the headline, text, SEO and URL of your landing page.
Group Your Key Words
Instead of slapping together a big, generalised campaign for, say, “camera accessories,” you’d be much better off dividing your keywords into smaller, targeted groups and running multiple individual campaigns. So you could run separate campaigns for “camera cases,” “camera lenses,” “camera batteries,” and so on. (Unless you don’t sell camera accessories. Then those would be silly campaigns for you to run.)
Big impressive keywords such as “camera accessories” are going to be more competitive, more expensive, and harder to rank well for. Not to mention they’re probably not as effective anyway, because people are far more likely to search for the specific thing they need (camera lens) rather than searching such a broad category (camera accessories).
To achieve a high Quality Score, aim for 5–20 closely related keywords in each group, and think in terms of themes. Avoid grouping things together just because they’re broadly similar.
Create Relevant, High-Quality Landing Pages
Ensure the content of your landing page aligns with the keywords and copy you use in your ad. Once again, relevance is key. So if your ad is for authentic brand camera batteries, but your landing page is promoting compatible non-branded batteries, you’ll suffer a high bounce rate and your Quality Score will suffer.
Your landing page must feature original content, with the same target keywords as the ad campaign, and it must be clear and professional. Include contact details, as well as reviews and testimonials from real users. And for crying out loud, don’t confuse your visitors by including lots of links on the opening page, leaving them to hunt down what they’re after. Always make it obvious what your visitor should do next (preferably without the use of flashing red signs).
Improve Your Click-Through-Rate (CTR)
Your CTR is arguably the most important factor in determining your Quality Score, so pay attention. It’s calculated by comparing the number of times your ad is shown to the number of times it’s clicked on. So if your ad is shown 100 times, yet only one person clicks on it, you’re doing something wrong.
Sadly, this isn’t something you can predict and resolve at the start of your campaign (would that it were, sigh), but it’s essential to monitor your ads and tweak them as you go. It’s also worth keeping an eye on the performance of your main competitors, because this can affect your Quality Score too. Those pesky competitors, eh?
Consider Your Geographic Location
The geographic location and target audience of your ad campaign has a direct effect on your Quality Score. The same campaign can have different results in different areas, depending on the relevance of the product to the area. If a product isn’t especially relevant to a particular place, don’t promote it there, because it will lower your CTR and your Quality Score will go down. Bad times.
Think About Your Targeted Devices
Just to confuse matters further, your Quality Score will differ according to the device it’s shown on. You could end up with a different score for the same ad shown on a laptop, mobile or tablet.
In order to boost your Quality Score, think carefully about your target audience and what sort of device they’re likely to use. For example, if your ad is about iPhone cases, promoting it on smartphone searches will achieve a better CTR, and therefore a higher Quality Score.
Split-Test Your Ads
Regardless of how fantastic you think your ads are, it’s inevitable that some will outperform others. To really get a good idea of what works and what doesn’t, write two or more ads for the same keyword and message, run them at the same time, and see which one does best. Make sure you set them to rotate evenly to give you an accurate picture.
After three or four weeks, you should have enough data to compare their performance, then you can select the best performing ad for the remainder of that campaign. Huzzah!
Google reviews your AdWords campaigns and landing pages on a regular basis, so make sure you do everything you can to please the almighty Google gods, and your camera lenses will be flying out the door in no time. Or, you know… whatever it is you sell.
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