More and more, ranking well in paid search listings is less about how much you pay and more about the "quality" of your ad campaign. But what goes into making up your quality score? In this panel, we'll take a closer look at quality factors and give tips on increasing the perceived relevancy of your campaigns. Moderator: Dana Todd, CMO, Newsforce Speakers: Brad Geddes, Founder, bgTheory.com Ron Jones, Search Engine Watch Expert & President/CEO, Symetri Internet Marketing Kendall Allen, Former Managing Director, Incognito Digital, Digital Marketing and Convergence Media Consultant Misty Locke, President & Co-founder, Range Online Media Dana Todd: How many of you out there are advanced advertisers, meaning you've been doing PPC for three years or more? How many of you have been doing it less than two years? So, the panelists will first go over the basics and then we will get more and more granular, and provide some tips for you all to take away.
First up is Ron. Ron Jones: What is a Quality Score? The old model is kind of a bid to position situation. Quality score essentially is a dynamic value assigned to each keyword, and is the basis for defining quality and relevancy of your ad. So the higher your quality score, the lower your minimum bid and the higher your ad placement. Google rolled out Quality Score in 2005, and they revised the algorithm in 2007 to incorporate landing page relevance, and then later on allowed their users to see it. Yahoo Panama launched in 2007. A key thing is that we believe that delivering more relevant ads would create more value for users. If search engines can deliver more relevance that makes them look good and then you look good. So Quality Score a way to bring more relevant situations. Where to find the Quality Score? You need to drill down to the ad groups and specifically shows each of the keywords, you need to click on "customize columns" and then quality score. So it gives you a feeling of how good or poor your keywords are. In Yahoo, you can see it right away, you don't need to turn it on or off. Historical click through rate for each keyword affects your Quality Score, the relevance of the ads and the quality of landing page. Also your account history, history of all click through rates and ads in your account. Of course there are factors as well that won't be revealed to us. Relevance and landing page are the key things. Case study: we had a client come to us, they were managing their own campaign and they currently had an average minimum bid of 40 cents, and 5 ad groups, and each ad group had 100 keywords. It turned out that 72% of their keywords had poor Quality Scores. So the first thing we did was come in and create more, smaller, more relevant ad groups. Then we developed more relevant ad copy for each group. Then we optimized the landing page using Google's web optimizer. And we tested to see what was and was not working. So some results: the average minimum CPC went down to about 8 cents, click through rates went up about 11%, conversions went up from 2.6% to 4.2% within 2 weeks, the quality score for over 50% of the keywords went from poor to great. And then after a month, anything that still had a poor rating, we just deleted them altogether. So the key thing is you need to test and keep an eye on quality score. Many people miss out on this. Hot tip: You probably should allocate about 10%-15% of your budget specifically to testing. You will learn what's working and what's not working. Dana: Brad is up next. Brad has been working up to the minute to get some insight directly from Google on this. You will now get as close to Google level knowledge as possible today. Welcome Brad. Brad Geddes: I will talk specifically about Google. Their Quality Score permeates everything in the account about what it affects. Your bids. Your position. Your placement targeting. Ad rank. So we will walk through how the Quality Score factors affect everything. Why is Quality Score important? It affects your ad rank, where your ad appears. Ad rank = keyword Quality Score x maximum CPC. So often you don't want to change your bids, you want to see if you can raise your Quality Score rather than your bids. First Google determines your minimum bid. The minimum you can pay to have your ad shown. And if your bid is higher than the minimum then you can show on search, but if its lower you can't show up in search but you can show up in content network. Minimum bid is determined by: - Historical click through rate on Google.com – not on the content network - Relevance of keywords - Landing page (goes into the min bid calculation) - Other factors Don't get caught up in other factors. So viewing minimum bids: you can see them right away. Take your minimum bids and export them into Excel so you can see them more clearly. Quality Score factors chart: look at particular factors as a reference when you start diagnosing issues. The higher your minimum bid, maybe you have a landing page problem. Start playing with them and see what's working. Go into your Adwords accounts to see more information. Load time of your landing page and other factors. Account organization is the number 1 factor to get a good jump in quality score. The more granular the campaigns, the more relevant everything will be. Dana: Kendall Allen is next, she is currently a consultant for Convergence Media. Kendal Allen: I put together a review of history and some considerations from my perspective that comes from my background. For me, it's interesting to look at the progress in the conversations since the 1990s when I started out here. The progressive conversation on relevancy: With the onset of Quality Score, relevancy is much more scientific if you want to approach it properly. The conversation has been going on for quite a while. I am going to focus specifically on the landing page and the collaboration that needs to occur to get this right. Relevancy: what it used to mean, you had this bucket of keywords and you had the same titles and descriptions for everything on your list. Maybe you categorized them in Excel, started to map keywords, either way it used to be extremely manual. Then, the tools started to get better, standards started to raise, and relevancy became increasingly part of the conversation when it came to do quality search marketing. We got more aggressive on bidding strategy, handling text ad methods, titles and descriptions, keyword landing page, and getting more serious about what we wanted the consumer to do. Landing page: we have always been delivering this to deliver on consumer demand. Where you land on the page is one thing but now there are many more things to look at. You want to look at the account history, content and layout, usability and navigation and load time. If Quality Score is well handled, it will force the tightening of relevancy to occur earlier on. We want to deliver on relevancy. Guidance: when it comes to content, content rich strategies in search have always been wise. Use tags when necessary and be descriptive. Usability: it should be useful, relevant, and deliver. Navigation: direct connection to what is sought. Make it clear how to get there. Ease of passage. Transparency: make sure the nature of your business is crystal clear. Load time: this can be smooth with the right kind of collaboration. Minimize the number of redirects and come up with creative workarounds of slow servers. So in sum, if you are serious about relevancy, you need to take Quality Score seriously. It does I believe represent an opportunity to hang your interests on. As you go about making site modifications and dealing with all the other factors, understand what the threshold is and what your efforts should be. Know that your efforts are going to be re-evaluated by the engines over time, and will get better and better. Dana Todd: last but not least is Misty Locke who will give you some great tips. Misty: we are an SEM and we focus on paid, SEO and feeds. Emphasize digital assets. Quality Score takes search back to the basics, back to the fundamentals. Providing the user direct access to finding the content they want at the time they want it. 5 basic steps: -keywords -organization & structure -match type -creatives -landing pages Keyword building: most people bucket them and go off on the long tail. You should have several different groups and categories of brands. It will really improve your quality score. They are not necessarily tail terms, they are product specific. Don't chase every keyword, chase the right keyword. If you can build out your campaign you can really lower your CPC – if your keyword is profitable, make it more profitable. Structure: don't build thousands of useless keywords. Be organized when you put this together. Yahoo limits you to 10,000 ad groups. If you have not reached that limit you are not working hard enough! Match types. Every keyword you run should be on every single match type. Every keyword should be running on exact. When you break it out, you will start to see a decline in your phrase match spend. Put in your negatives. Creatives: go down to the specifics where you are not even using Dynamic Keyword Insertion any more. Be so specific. We use color type, size, etc in every creative that we do. Let the user find the exact creative that they are looking for. It will increase your Quality Score and lower your CPC. Landing pages: In MSN and Yahoo, your ad could/will be disapproved if you do not have great landing pages. Everything in your landing pages should be in your ad copy and everything in your ad copy should be in your landing pages. Session coverage contributed by Sheara Wilensky of Promediacorp.