Online Marketing Blog

10 Ways To Increase Your Adwords Quality Score – A Mini Case Study

* Update: Since this post was published, we have created a much more detailed and in-depth version of this post with a lot of extra useful and relevant information on how to improve your Quality Score here *

So what is quality score? According to Google:

“Quality Score is the basis for measuring the quality and relevance of your ads and determining your minimum CPC bid for Google and the search network. This score is determined by your keyword’s click through rate (CTR) on Google, and the relevance of your ad text, keyword, and landing page.”

Quality score effects your keywords minimum cost per click and position in the search results and also if your ad will even show at all!

This is fundamentally the same for the other first tier Pay Per Click networks (Yahoo Search Marketing and MSN AdCenter). There are many other factors involved, however this is the most transparency we’re going to get from them at this time. For now, we will deal with the Google Adwords quality score.

Around the same time of the release of Yahoo! Panama, Google began showing keyword quality information at the keyword level in Adwords accounts. Google shows weather your score is Great, OK or Poor. It may not be much information, but it has been a great help for those trying to diagnose why their PPC bids are so high.

Last month, we had a new client who came to us for advice on lowering their minimum cost per click and ultimately increase their ROI. Our client was already experiencing a positive ROI using Adwords because of their products profit margin, however since Google started showing QS, they realized they were not doing as well as they thought. Their campaign was relatively small and they were paying an average minimum CPC of $0.40 across their three ad groups. Each Ad Group had 100 keywords in each. They also had a few disabled keywords. When we examined their account, we could see that almost 90% of their keywords had a “Poor” quality score.

Lets say our client sold “Blue Widgets”. Here’s what we did.

Campaign Account Factors

1) Split Keywords into Smaller more targeted Ad Groups
We used the in built keyword grouper tool in Adwords editor to group keywords into 15 groups of 20 related keywords. eg:

buy blue widgets
exchange blue widgets
what is a blue widget
buy blue widgets online


2) Create relevant ad copy for each group
We then created an ad creative for each keyword group using the common grouping denominator “Blue Widgets”

Increase Quality Score Ad

Note the upper case on each word and use of the keyword in the title, ad copy and display URL. ALL 4 ads contained blue widgets in the same form as you see above. It should also be noted that the display URL does not need to match the ACTUAL URL exactly.

3) Optimize Creatives
We created 4 different ads for each group using different verbs and calls to action. We also turned ad serving optimization OFF so we could accurately split test all 4 ads. After a week, we chose the best performing creative and deleted the others. We then tried to increase the CTR by working on variations of that creative. After two weeks, it was plain to see which was the better performing ad. Within two weeks the overall campaign click through rate was up. Note that optimizing creatives is a never ending process. You can ALWAYS squeeze an extra 0.01% CTR by being…creative.

Search Engine marketing Ireland

(This was not the creative used for the campaign)

4) Experiment With Matching Options
Our client was only using broad match for their keywords in their campaign. We added exact match and phrase match keywords to each ad group and chose which of the three had a better QS and lower minimum CPC and deleted the other two matching options. In the majority of cases, exact match won.

Matching Options

On Page Factors

While we were working on the PPC account side of things, many of the on page factors were being worked on at the same time.

5) Link Building And SEO
We ran a manual deep link building campaign using the highest performing keywords (Volume AND Conversion Rate). Not only does this help Quality Score but also helps with the organic SEO campaign in the coming months. We submitted a Google sitemap, made the site semantically coded and corrected some navigational issues.

6) Implement Keywords
For each page we implemented most of the keywords into the copy.

7) Split Test Landing Page
We set up a multi variant test to split test the landing pages and test conversion rates. Google Analytics has an excellent write up on the major elements that can effect conversions. We cannot stress the importance of multi variant testing enough. Testing and optimizing conversion rates on landing pages is too big a subject to go into in this post. It should be noted that we also used heat maps to test the landing pages.

SEO website optimizer

8) Meta Tags
We added the best performing keywords to the meta tags on each page. We also used the EXACT ad text from the best performing creative in the meta description. We also used the BEST PERFORMING and MOST DESCRIPTIVE keyword as the title tag.

9) Essential Site Pages
Although the site had a privacy policy, it was not linked in the navigation (Header OR Footer). We added the privacy policy as well as creating and adding an informative “about us” page, a “terms and conditions” page, a newsletter page and a new contact us page.

10) Make Sure Google Thinks You’re Relevant
We used the Site-Related Keywords tool to make sure that Google thought the landing page was related to the keywords we are targeting. After a little “fleshing out”, Google saw each landing page as VERY related to the keywords we were using.

Search Engine Optimisation

Clearly for privacy reasons we have left out many details regarding our clients campaign. We increased the campaign daily budget to twice what it was and left the campaign running for the month to get more accurate figures.

The Results:

Within four days the Quality Score for 60% of the keywords went from ” Poor”to “Great” with average minimum CPC prices down from 40 cents to 4 cents.
All keywords that still had a poor quality score after the month (8 of them) were deleted.
Overall campaign click through rate was up 12%
We increased conversion rates from 3% to a whopping 24%
Our client was 100% happier.

Increase Quality Score Results

Our client was able to slash their monthly spending budget and MASSIVELY increase their sales.

Increasing you quality score and optimizing your Adwords PPC campaign is an absolute MUST if you want to reduce your spend and at the same time increase your sales. There are MANY other factors, known and unknown that go into improving quality scores, however the most fundamental have been covered. Most other PPC networks also use a similar QS ranking method and the areas I have covered can be applied to them too.

I hope this has helped anyone starting their first PPC campaign or anyone looking to improve their ROI by increasing their Quality Score. If you would like more information or would like to avail of our Google Adwords Management service, please get in touch.

  1. avatar
    amd Says:
    March 8th, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    Excellent write up Dave. A lot of effort behind that post and some really good tips on improving QS – cheers.

  2. avatar
    Rick Whittington Says:
    March 9th, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    You’ve hit the nail squarely on the head here, Dave. It’s all about relevance, and from splitting ads up into smaller groups based on tightly similar keywords to experimenting with matching options, what you’ve mentioned here is spot-on in my experience.

    Another tip for you and your readers — MindValley Labs has a tool that allows you to A/B test Adwords ads. You might want to check into this and test it out.

  3. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    March 9th, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    Thanks for stopping by Rick. MindValley Labs have some AMAZING stuff over there. We use their clickmuse Adwords Optimizer alerts tool. Some of their creative testing results are amazing and spot on. They have helped us so much. We will be looking into trying some more of their tools shortly.

  4. avatar
    Tim Bay Says:
    March 9th, 2007 at 6:10 pm

    Excellent post. Is it correct that landing page quality doesn’t impact ad positioning but does impact the minimum CPC? I thought that was the case at one point, but I am not sure if that has changed.

    Also, it seems that the landing page assessment makes assumptions about what will lead to good conversion (through relevancy). Is anyone aware of plans for Google to use actual conversion data (for those have Google tracking in place) in the quality score?

    Thanks for an insightful post.

  5. avatar
    Janine Says:
    March 10th, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    Really excellent post Dave – I appreciate you sharing so many details of the methods you found successful.

  6. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    March 10th, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    @Tim, I use Google conversion tracking and it is satisfactory for our needs, but we are looking into clicktracks. Diorex has a nice little rant over about Google wanting conversion data.

    I have to admit, he makes a very good point.

    @Owl. It completely depends on the “Meaning” of the keywords and what the quality score is. It is MUCH easier to get a decent quality score if all the keywords in an ad group are on the actual landing page, but it seems more weight is given to keywords being in the actual ad.

    @Janine. Thanks. This information is available on numerous forums, blogs and indeed in the Adwords support library.( It is an absolute goldmine.

    This is just what we found successful for this particular campaign. There are MANY other methods and testing is the most important factor in any campaign.

  7. avatar
    Paul Browne Says:
    March 12th, 2007 at 11:44 am

    Thanks for the post – I’ve been dabbling with Google Adwords for the last 18 months, but never really understood the concepts behind it until now.


  8. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    March 23rd, 2007 at 4:55 am

    @Paul. You’re welcome. Let me know if you ever need any help.

    @Gareth. Thank you. multi variant testing is a very powerful landing page tool.

  9. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    March 26th, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    Thanks Leonard. It’s not really for someone dabbling. In fact, Adwords has gotten so advanced at this stage that dabbling is sometimes a waste of money. If you are going to use it yourself I think it is essential that you at least learn everything from the adwords learning center before you even open an account.

  10. avatar
    Jon Pape Says:
    April 2nd, 2007 at 11:07 pm

    I found it interesting how much improving your quality score helped lower the cpc. Thanks.

  11. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    April 5th, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    Thanks Jon. It may not lower your CPC, but a good quality score will certainly insure you are paying the absolute minimum for your position.

  12. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    April 11th, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    Thanks. Brad covers quality score in a lot more detail however I have just kept the basics in the form of the case study.

  13. avatar
    Saptarshi Roy Chaudhury Says:
    April 20th, 2007 at 6:19 am

    Great post Dave ! Thanks for sharing all these information.

    I have just one question related to this. You have mentioned about getting links with the keywords in anchor text to increase the relevance of the landing page and also adding value to their organic SEO campaign. We all know that backlinks with keywords in anchor text are good for organic SEO but if this is something they are also considering for measuring Quality score for a PPC — do we consider that they actually using a part of their organic Algo to improve their PPC relevance ?

    also, a site with keywords in backlink, keywords in Meta tags and Title and keywords in content — it seems a site that is doing good in organic search is more likely to do good in PPC as well if other conversion factors are taken care of properly. Is PPC going to call for SEOs in near future ? – I would love that though :)

  14. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    April 24th, 2007 at 1:15 am

    Saptarshi, thanks for stopping by.

    The reason I mentioned keyword rich relevant inbound links is because the whole point of quality score is to improve relevance in the sponsored listings. Google is a powerful beast and uses at least SOME form of semantic analysis to judge relevance. What better way to show Google you are relevant than to have natural relevant topical inbound links?

    As for is weather PPC is going to call for SEO? Not exactly, but paid search interfaces and features are getting pretty complex. Adwords is not the “Toy” it was many moons ago. Large campaign owners are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up and are looking outside for “PPC optimizers”. (PPCOs?).

    In my opinion, effective full search marketing campaign management is now becoming a little further out of the realm (Read: steeper learning curve) of the “beginner” online marketer.

    By the way, I have subscribed to your blog. :)

  15. avatar
    Christoph Cemper Says:
    May 12th, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    Thanks for this impressive and comprehesinve post… very great so see to actual written confirmation the the organic side affects PPC quality score


  16. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    June 29th, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    Thanks David. I am subscribed to your blog and have been for a while. Keep up the great work.

  17. avatar
    lucas Says:
    September 3rd, 2007 at 4:56 am

    I have a new site and my AdWords ad are all getting “POOR” quality score and super high prices (1-5$) even for non-competitive terms. I’ve optimized my ads, so obviously it’s a landing page issue… but i can’t figure it out.

    even for keywords that are all over my site, I’m getting a POOR rating, ads optimized perfectly and all.
    do i just need to wait it out until Google re-checks my landing page? or is that a constant thing?

  18. avatar
    Grace Gedik Says:
    September 6th, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    I am here in the US, Florida. Just got hired at a health insurance company and we outsource our PPC campaigns.

    I will be looking after what this company do for our ppc campaigns and noticed that our landing page does not have the keywords they target on our ads.

    Of course that if i would have landed this job before they selected a company to manage our ppc camp, I would have choose you guys, but now, I need to see what they are doing to either recommend another company here or to continue with them.

    Anyway, my point is that we have been with this company for almost a year, and when i look at the landing page has little relevancy to the ads. Title wrong, meta tags wrong, description wrong.

    I mean, we target health insurance in florida and our landing page does not have the word Florida on meta, title, or even on the body copy.

    Correct me if I am wrong: don’t we need to have florida on all of the items i mentioned above? or create a landing page to target “health insurance in florida”

    When I see these signs I wonder how good are they? anyone can tell me what the deal is?

    you guys are my masters, you have the ONLY forum on the web that gives – let’s put it this way, i respect you because you have all the recipes to make a website successful and the proof is that your website is.

  19. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    September 6th, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Grace, thanks for stopping by. Enough of your flattery already! I get enough of that at karaoke!

    Anyway, as I have mentioned COUNTLESS times on this blog, most of our clients have already been with another agency who completely let them down. There are WAY too many search engine marketing companies out there claiming to know their stuff and it is simply not true. On the other side of the coin, there are a lot who really do. The thing is that the best of the best don’t need to advertise and don’t need to talk the talk.

    Regarding your landing pages, they should absolutely reference your keywords. If possible an individual landing page for EACH KEYWORD. Or at least each adgroup.

    Without seeing the actual landing pages, I cannot tell you what they are doing wrong but if they are not tracking at the most granular level possible and have not considered quality score in their campaigns and your account is not in a constant state of flux, I would seriously reconsider. (Not pitching, I swear!). It might be worth noting, and I am sure you are aware, you are operating in one of the most competitive industries online. Your best bet in my opinion would be speaking to a super affiliate who operates or used to operate in the insurance space.

    If you want to drop me a mail I will be glad to offer some free advice when I get the time.

  20. avatar
    Grace Gedik Says:
    September 6th, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    Thanks! geee, i like your Irish humor, do you guys karaoke over there? :-)

    Point taken, but guess what?
    when i query the most competitive keywords I get to competitor’s landing pages (of very trusted or say successful ones) and when I look into their page source, almost none of them have keywords or descriptions, are they just missing your blog?…

    what’s up? if health insurance is highly competitive, am I holding the gold key that nobody is catching? listen, if they give me a raise here at work because I optimized different landing pages with keywords/title/metas and body copy relating to our ads and I get a better ROI, you bet I cut you some slack and be sending you a commission! (what’s your address?):-)

    your intake on this greatly appreciated

  21. avatar
    Saptarshi Says:
    September 7th, 2007 at 5:09 am

    Hey Grace,

    Where did you ( I mean your company) outsource ? Though I feel sad to say, but what Dave pointed out is 100% correct – most companies that claim to be internet marketing experts often dont have the minimum clue on what they are actually doing and it is really difficult to find a good one when you are outsourcing. At the same time , the people who are actually worth their salt , in most cases, would not just beat their drums which makes it all the more difficult for prospective clients to make a good choice ( remember, not all of them are like you who reads and participates in blogs)

    I think as a starting point it might be a good idea for you to ask your agency to provide month on month ROI data and ask them for an explanation if there is a low down in it or it is meagre.

    Quality score is actually too important these days for any PPC campaign and you can not afford o ignore it under any circumstances. In fact, there are many companies that are employing SEOs to optimize their landing pages not because they are looking at organic rankings but more to increase the quality score of the landing pages.

  22. avatar
    Diorex Says:
    September 22nd, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    Hey Dave – Not sure why I had never visited your blog before, some great stuff here….

    A few notes:

    Adgroup size – we do it 2 ways – 1 word adgroups for any important keywords and then 15-20 keyword adgroups for lower volume or less important keywords. Taking the time to create slightly different ad copy (by putting it in its own adgroup) for a plural version of important words has paid huge dividends.

    On ad creation – we have tested Sentence Case vs Title Case and almost always found that sentence case outperforms for us.

    Optimizing Creative – be sure to measure conversion rate not just click through rate. As your landing page conversion rate is not set in stone, what you say in the ad can greatly move the needle good and bad. Be sure to pick the best conversion rate combined with a CTR. We measure profit per thousand impressions as a good bench mark.

    Great Post and all around interesting blog.

  23. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    September 22nd, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    Hi Diorex, thanks for stopping by. Believe it or not but I am one of your biggest fans. Your blog (Sparse as it was/is) was one of the main inspirations for this blog. I felt bad when you took it down for that period. In fact, I was even going to approach you for a writing gig. (Not that you’d be interested.

    Anyway, on your adgroup size we do something similar with the generic one worders and keep tweaking the ad text until we find a suitable CTR.

    We have also tested sentence case against title case and found the opposite. I guess it depends on the industry.

    Regarding optimizing creatives, a lot of times it is impossible to see at a glance which creatives are performing better. We have a tool in-house that calculates this for us. Similar to the mindvalleylabs tool. It’s based on the point on a bell graph.

    Again, thanks for the comment. It is an honour.

  24. avatar
    Steve Baker Says:
    October 16th, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    Hi Dave,

    Is it my imagination, or did the advert text affect the minimum bid in the past? I’ve just been looking through Google’s explanation of the Quality Score, and I’m sure it’s changed…

    What does “The relevance of the keyword to its ad group” mean? Has that always been a factor?

    I’ve recently been running a test on a few campaigns, changing the advert text so that the search term isn’t referenced. I’ve seen no impact on the average position or the cost-per-click, so I assume it’s not impacted my QS significantly…

  25. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    October 21st, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    Steve, I believe that the INITIAL quality score for each keyword is determined in part by the original ad copy and weather the keyword or synonym of the keyword is present.

  26. avatar
    Roslyn Says:
    November 10th, 2007 at 5:58 am

    I’m confused about Landing pages.
    What I understand, a specific landing page should be set up for each AdGroup and they are not a part of the main website. Is that correct?
    I have some ads pointing to pages on the main site and to refine the ads/destination I created special LP 1, LP2 etc.

    To avoid duplicate content i have robots no follow so they don’t get crawled and muck up the SEO.

    Next step is to use the split test tool…

    Am I doing it right?

  27. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    November 10th, 2007 at 9:32 am

    Hi Roslyn, thanks for stopping by. Yes, it would appear that you are following the right steps. I believe all PPC landing pages should be kept separate from the main site and robots.txt excluded.

  28. avatar
    Adam G Says:
    November 28th, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    Dave, great post… I am reading it a little late but it is an excellent summary of the importance of quality score.

    Somthing I have been working on for a while is a case study for advertising on branded keywords, have you or your team put anything like that together?

  29. avatar
    YourGuideToInternetMarketing Says:
    December 17th, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    Very well written. You’ve offered a great overview on the inportance of improving your Adwords campaign Quality Score. It’s all about making the keywords relevant to landing pages. You’ve offered other great tips here as well. Good job!

    I know one way that I improved CTR is by Shoemoney Adwords arrow trick. I tried it myself and it increased my CTR by 300% I’ve been showing people that on my blog and its working for others as well. Just thought I would add that tip here maybe some of you may have heard of it.

  30. avatar
    Louise Martins Says:
    February 1st, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    How can a link building campaign help the Quality Score of my adwords campaign?

  31. avatar
    Paul Montwill | Says:
    February 20th, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Dave, I like your analysis. Unfortunately, there comes a change from Google – URL displayed will have to match destination URL. Redirects are not allowed but we will still be able to use mod_rewrite.

  32. avatar
    Brent Hodgson - Google Adwords Consultant Says:
    February 26th, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Hi Dave,

    I’m revisiting Quality Score materials to see what other peoples’ analysis is about 9 months since things were really “shaken up”.

    One interesting point you made, I’m not sure if I agree with it. Specifically, whether links are indeed a Quality Score factor.

    I’ll post something up on my blog about this in the coming days.


  33. avatar
    Hello Dave, Says:
    May 10th, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Thank you for clearing up some concerns abput improving my quality score.

    I learnt how to beat the google slap but was still paying as mush as 50cents per click depending on the campaign. The privacy, about me page and other points mentioned will help me to both improve my CTR and conversion rate. Also, thanks for the tips on using the Adword editor to assist me in grouping my keywords. I am downloading the tool as I write. Thanks again.


  34. avatar
    Vanja Says:
    June 12th, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    Brilliant post.

    Was very relevant to optimizing your Adwords Campaign and was excellent in how you broke down the steps.

    Another really important aspect you covered was ongoing testing. Because as you improve your campaigns there are many doing the same.


  35. avatar
    sam Says:
    July 7th, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    great post – though I’d be curious to read more about your linkbuilding tips & tricks

  36. avatar
    DJ Kennedy Says:
    July 22nd, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    I really enjoyed this Google Adwords Case Study. One thing that should also be mentioned also the importance of measuring conversions once the campaign is up and developing a process for ‘sweeping’ all of the keywords out of the account that are not converting to actual leads. After all, leads and sales is generally the ultimate goal of every pay per click campaign.

  37. avatar
    Leon Says:
    July 24th, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    I understand google want to clamp down on what could eb called the junk mail of websites. But they seem to have too much control over the content of the web, it’s not fair how they use their monopoly over the web and force people to do it their way. especially as its mostly affiliates that provide their adword fees.

  38. avatar
    Litian Says:
    August 17th, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Hi Dave,

    i am a little bit confused when read your of your above reply, if the land pages should be seperate from the main page and Robot.txt excluded, so there is no relevance issue to talk about, since your landing page can not be indexed by Google? Correct me, if I am wrong on this.

    it’s a honor to join you guys as newbie.

  39. avatar
    Local Internet Marketing Says:
    October 4th, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    @PPCCompany Link building to other relevant sites is one factor in Google’s algorithm. Therefore it increases your sites creditability and increases relevance in Google’s eye/robot (you know what I mean). Bottom line relevancy is key.

    p.s. Very good write up Dave!

  40. avatar
    Ola Says:
    October 13th, 2008 at 1:27 am

    This is a great post. It answers a lot of questions I had regarding the quality score. The quality score is kind of an obscure thing, but you shed some light on it today!


  41. avatar
    Jordan McClements Says:
    November 30th, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Not 100% related to this post – but since you mentioned ‘Daily Budget’ and ‘Accelerated’.

    I have a question that I cannot find an answer too anywhere else on the internet…

    Having read ‘Mastering Search Advertising’ by Richard Stokes – he says that you need to (as I understand it) have a daily budget that is massively over the recommended amount so that Google does not reduce your ‘coverage’, and then control how much you spend with your bids…

    Is this really necessary?

    e.g. if I specify a daily budget 3 times higher than suggested, and select ‘Accelerated Delivery’, then surely this amounts to the same thing?


  42. avatar
    Arif Momin Says:
    December 2nd, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    This would be my first ever online comment about Adwords.
    Isn’t Google straight away “Slapping” in the faces of the advertisers by making such often changes?
    When an advertiser gets hand on the QS and starts getting better CTR or ROI or cheap clicks,
    Google makes a slight change and comments it for betterment of the advertisers, this advertiser who just started getting better results starts losing hold on his account hence losing money which is pocketed by Google.
    The recent keyword search tool introduced by Google is also a new money making machine for itself. This is the recession period throughout the globe and Google very well knows advertisers will cut down their advertising budget that includes the TV ads, hoardings etc and this money Google wants in its pocket. I know that Google has all keywords that exist in the universe and it is providing the relevant keywords. However why mislead the advertisers by giving the “Webpage url” column when that particular keyword is not exactly on that page but made by Google, keeping in mind the contents of that landing page.

  43. avatar
    Darren Moore Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 5:24 am

    Firstly i have spent a couple hours on your site and have the feeling that you guys are just “Slightly” near the top of your game! (Sorry, sarcasm was never a strong point)

    This may seem long as an explanation but should go in the right direction by the end i hope.

    We are just about to launch a new site that is being developed by a company in Oxford, and so they say “they have a great SEO guy who is dedicated to making your site as SEO friendly as possible!”

    My point is this, and it may sound like i have a big hill to climb right now; I guess these SEO guys make the site friendly to search engine spiders, but does this mean that they should be using some of the relevant keywords in the site text ready for launch so that, when we start PPC the words they have researched we should hit good QS from the beginning? Or, is it best to create like you said earlier “Separate” pages per keyword or each campaign?

    I have very shallow pockets right now, and i feel without a little guidance people like Google may turn my pockets inside out pretty sharpish.

    Would appreciate your thoughts.

  44. avatar
    Dwayne Schnell Says:
    January 27th, 2009 at 4:10 am

    Hi Dave,
    I am fairly new to the world of PPC – using adwords and Y!SM. I’m eagerly awaiting your answer of Jordan above.
    I intend to become a PPC master – and I’m glad I fount this blog/site. I will be generating almost all of my income as a direct relation to my PPC campaigns – so this information is priceless to me at the beginning of my “game”.
    I guess my concern is related to Jordan’s in that my CTRs are low, most of my KWs are POOR, my imrpessions for some campaigns are low, and therefore my clicks are way too low (and prices high). So thanks for this post! (and all the comments and answers for further details and info.)
    I’m a subscriber.

  45. avatar
    sheena smart Says:
    January 29th, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Dave – I have to confess that I am definitely `dabbling` with this whole adwords thing having `launched` my campaign last Saturday. I have spent all week analysing results, reading web pages ordering books on the subject but I do know a lot more today than I did on Saturday. I appreciate the detail you have given with regards to the topic and I have breathed a sigh of relief that its not easy for anyone, it is a bit of trial and effort or in my case blood, sweat and tears. On a positive note my sales have increased quite significantly but I think you`re right that I should try a few different keywords and campaigns to get comparisons. I will give much of what you say a bash – it can do no harm …

  46. avatar
    Taka Says:
    February 23rd, 2009 at 2:48 am

    Before you say “In the majority of cases, exact match won.”, I would advice to check this page

    Dave Davis Reply:February 26, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Thanks for that Taka but this post was written before the new “live” QS was implemented. I’ll probably do a follow up/updated quality score post soon.

  47. avatar
    Abby Says:
    February 23rd, 2009 at 6:46 am

    Thanks for the article. I have a question about the keywords within the url:

    By adding in the relevant keywords per url “blue widgets”, I’m going over the 35 character limit (the company url name is rather long).

    Do you recommend I direct the visitor to the landing page, but have the home page url show up?

    Dave Davis Reply:February 26, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Abby, you should ALWAYS direct the user to the relevant landing page. If you’re using up your 35 characters, try dropping the “www.” in front. Try variations of this when split testing your ads.

  48. avatar
    Paul of Pay Per Click Program Says:
    March 6th, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    The post is very detailed. We can now see pay per click including SEO. A few years ago, you could just do pay per click and don’t bother with page optimization and link building which now determine the quality score! Life probably goes in circles.

  49. avatar
    Jawad of UK Magazines Says:
    April 12th, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    These tips looks to be very helpful. I was already having 8-9 quality score for my clients. But I think now I can touch the 10.

  50. avatar
    Brett @ Mystique SEO Says:
    May 30th, 2009 at 12:26 am

    Great Post! Thank you for shedding some light on this, what seems to be a dark secret subject. There is a confusing array of information out there, but this is good advice to stop businesses starting out on the SEO trail and wasting time and money.

  51. avatar
    Michael Paske Says:
    July 6th, 2009 at 8:49 am

    thanks for the info!! Just a few questions tho:
    1 – I understand that google wants the display url to match exactly the url of the landing page. Having said this, i have seen this before, so i am not sure. Are you sure this is the case?

    2 – Does QS have any effect on the numnber of times your add appears?


  52. avatar
    Shilpy Says:
    August 6th, 2009 at 8:45 am

    I am working on automotive PPC campaign. In that only broad keywords mainly (with negatives)are converting only though exact and phrase match keywords having good CTR and low CPC but not giving conversions. Why this happening and how I can lower the cost as broad match keywords are highly competitive & need to bid to get a click/conv? Need suggestion to lower the cost and increase conversions.

  53. avatar
    Tela Says:
    August 17th, 2009 at 5:19 am

    As an ex-Yahoo!. most of the items you covered are dead-on. Maybe a topic for a follow-up article, but multivariate testing of grouping (eg, a taxonomy) is a good additional step once ad testing is complete.

  54. avatar
    Matthew Says:
    November 15th, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Very good post. I want to dabble more in this realm, as most of my traffic has come from free sources at this point. I knew on-page SEO was important but this drove it home.

    Thanks :)

  55. avatar
    Josh Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    This is just the information I was looking for. Hopefully I can apply most of these suggestions and improve my campaigns as you have done.

  56. avatar
    pravakar Says:
    December 14th, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Thanks for your tips but i think this is very simple steps, we can get quality score or leads from those procedure. I’ve already applied these technique still i am not getting any click. My add is getting good impression but no body doing click. Can you say what is the problem.

  57. avatar
    Online Marketing UK Says:
    January 14th, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Really Nice Post Dave,

    Have you any research that shows inbound links affecting QS? I have suspected for sometime that the Big G does use other factors and it would make sense for them to gauge relevance using anchor text, but they do strictly state that SEO bears no ranking on QS.

    I suspect you probably are right and somewhat brave for comming out with this!

    Nick @ One Original

  58. avatar
    Alan Says:
    March 2nd, 2010 at 9:37 am


    I’ve always watched the QS to work it higher.

    However, recently I found something that lowered the QS while it actually increased my website conversion.

    I have discovered that frequently people are the problem, when they search using keywords that aren’t as focused on the right target then by prequalifying them through the words in the ad the click rate goes down, and thus the QS, but the quality of the people getting to my webpage goes up.

    For instance a client of mine manufactures a specialty heater that is sold to other manufacturers to be used in their products.

    If we use the keywords Widget Heaters those searching are either looking for replacement Widget Heaters for repair parts, in other words 1 or 2 pieces (not their market), or they are looking for someone to manufacture Widget Heaters for them (that’s their market).

    When we run an ad with the title Widget Heaters we get a much higher click thru rate and QS, but we get about 1 in 10 of those as being our market. When we run an ad with the title Wednget Heater Mfr we have a slight drop in click thru rate and QS yet we end up getting over 50% being our target market. So, by lowering the QS we end up with more of our target market.

    Now, before you say it, we do run an ad with the keywords Widget Heater Manufacturer, and many versions of that, and we do get a higher QS but a much lower number of calls, and a much higher sales rate from it. But when you look at the bottom line results there are more of our target market searching the broad term Widget Heaters than Widget Heater Manufacturer and we end up with more calls from the website from the broad term that has a lower quality score.

  59. avatar
    Marc Karoo Says:
    March 24th, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Hello Dave,
    Having recently set up an online shop selling imported equestrian goods, this write up on adwords quality score is excellent. I have just started using Google Adwords and am still working on some areas of the website; I also trying to look at geting listed on as many directories as possible. This article has helped my understanding of Adwords significantly so thanks for this.