Bloofusion reveals the Secret of AdWords Quality Score

by Martin on January 13, 2011

Yes it’s true: I recently cracked the secret of Adwords quality score, now it’s time to publish the findings. It’s too big for a single post, so there will be a series of posts over the next few days.

What do I mean when I talk about the “secret of quality score”? The ultimate strategy to reach the highest quality score? Sorry, there’s no way around building good campaigns. Is it about new factors in quality score? No, not really. And no, I didn’t steal the formula from the Googleplex.

No, I’m focusing on the key to understanding quality score. This might sound like basic knowledge, but it will turn our previous understanding of quality score upside down. And, even better: it will make everything much simpler.

So let’s start. What is this all about?

The Quality Score Puzzle

Since the introduction of the AdWords quality score in 2005, countless articles have been written about it. Many myths have been spread and refuted. At conferences like SMX and SES, quality score usually gets covered in several presentations. And no doubt, the issue is essential: quality score influences ad position and cost-per-click. That makes it a key factor in determining the competitiveness of an AdWords advertiser. No wonder that AdWords users from all over the world have a vital interest in understanding the Google quality score.

Still, people have great difficulties with the concept. The reason for this is that information about quality score is largely fragmented, similar to having only a few pieces of a larger jigsaw puzzle. For example, we know that click-through rate is important. As well as relevancy. We know how quality score is applied at the ad auction. So we have a lot more single puzzle pieces at our disposal.

Now and then we get new pieces. That usually happens when Google speaks to us. It often happens when a Google employee divulges another detail about quality score. Then there are new articles and presentations which present the new puzzle pieces.

Unfortunately, there are some wrong pieces in our collection. These pieces can slip in when there is a misunderstanding. For example, the claim that a landing page needs to have keywords on it, is such a wrong puzzle piece. Wrong pieces get sorted out by Google correcting the issue – officially, or when an Adwords rep communicates this to a client. There are also articles and presentations where these wrong pieces are identified as “myths” and then rejected.

Whenever experts talk about quality score, whenever presentations are given and articles are published, it’s almost always about single pieces of the puzzle. The big pictures doesn’t play such a big role. And why would it, we all know the overall picture – it’s about quality. Unfortunately we all have our own ideas about quality. That is because quality seems to be subjective. And so we all think about a different jigsaw puzzle that the pieces are supposed to form. No wonder there are so many myths and misconceptions – we don’t necessarily talk about the same thing when we talk about quality. Only Google knows the big picture and so Google is the only source who can provide us reliable pieces for our puzzle.

But that is about to change. Because there is a big picture which provides an objective view on the term “quality”. With the help of this overall picture we can arrange our puzzle pieces – and find new ones.

How do we proceed?

In the coming days I will show what quality score is all about. I will start on Monday by addressing some fundamental contradictions about quality score. This will lead to some facts that can be deemed reliable. Some other concepts about quality score will be rejected, even though they seem to be widely accepted. Based on that foundation I will develop a new theory about quality score. This theory will then be compared to what we are seeing in reality.

By the end of next week, three questions will have been answered:

* What is quality score good for?
* What is quality?
* What is quality score?

Stay tuned for more. I believe you will agree with my theory in the end.

Martin Roettgerding is the Head of SEM at Bloofusion Germany. He blogs and twitters mainly about Google AdWords.

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