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Keywords stuck at quality score 1

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

OK, so my 501(c)3 was approved for a Google Grant. We just launched a fundraising store. I did some keyword planning through there tools and found a great set of keywords for our fundraising site.

 

The planner shows that with a $1 CPC maximum, we should get around 1,000 clicks with a daily cost of around $100ish. Average CPC of about 0.11 cents. So, with that ready to go, I set up the ads, create ad groups breaking down groups of keywords, write ads containing keywords, landing pages to match and launch the campaign.

 

Out of the box, everything seemed great, QS6-8's across the board, 3-5% CTR, but just a few days later my one ad group (which is my highest performing CTR wise) starts to creep downwards to 5, then 3, now stuck at 1 and CPC costing nearly $1.50.

 

Needless to say, that "estimate" provided by the planner assumes a decent QS. With my 1/10, it is costing 10x more now, so my ad budget is gobbled up by mid-day.

 

I spoke to Ad Support and they are "looking into it with their specialists" and they said I have to keep the ads running to evaluate it. (For an unspecified amount of time - costing my entire daily budget allocated to me through this grant in the meantime - I had hoped to only use a portion of this grant towards fundraising and other parts for organizational promotion)

 

Now, I am getting about 73.57% of the available impressions and 74% top of page rate, more than any of my competitors (which include eBay, Amazon and Toys R US!), average position of 2 (again the best of the bunch) and like I said earlier, a good CTR of 3-5%. It is painful to watch my budget gone by noon everyday without any real reasoning as to why I have 1/10 QS.

 

Another ad group with some more refined keywords are performing in the 6-8 range, with .05-.15 CPC rates, but this particular group (with my two main keywords) is hammering me.

 

What should I do? Any suggestions?

3 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Keywords stuck at quality score 1

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi Arthur, welcome to the Community.  Quality Scores can be a real pain when you can't determine the cause of their poor score; I'm sure it doesn't help you to know that I myself have an Account with a handful of Keywords I cannot shift off of 1/10, no matter what I try.

 

All you can do is concentrate on the three basic requirements of a good QS:  Relevancy, make sure your Ad Groups contain Keywords that are not only relevant to your Ads, and your landing page, but also to each other, e.g. don't advertise bananas and apples in the same Ad Group.  CTR, 3-5% isn't a bad score for Search but you may want to check what your competitors are getting; you can do this by adding the "Relative CTR" column to your Keywords tab (you'll find this column in the "Customise Columns" option, under "Competitive Metrics".  Landing Page, probably the hardest of all to optimise but make sure it's got good links to other parts of your site, is clear to read and relevant to your Campaign.

 

More about Landing Page Experience

 

As a matter of interest, what Match Types are you using for your Keywords?

 

What does the "bubble" say when you hover over it next to your Keywords in the Status column?

 

Jon

AdWords Top Contributor Google+ Profile | Partner Profile | AdWords Audits

Re: Keywords stuck at quality score 1

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Hey Cobnut,

Thanks for the reply. Yes it is frustrating, especially when similar keywords are performing as expected within the campaign. I am certainly no neophyte to web design, so I can only imagine how frustrating it is to those true newcomers to AdWords.

I do not see a 'Relative CTR' under Keywords. Is this a Display Network metric? My ads only run on Search as part of the Google Grants program.

This particular Ad Group has a two word keyword, one in exact match [keywords] and one in phrase match "keywords". A second ad group has more specific variations of this keyword and is performing fine with QS's of 6-8. The second group actually just uses broad matching and is performing much better.

Oddly enough, since posting this message, my QS has risen to 3/10 on the group previously stuck at 1/10. I have seen it happen before, when it jumps to 3/10 for a little while then back down to 1/10. I am guessing this has something to do with the bid mechanics, but no one on the Google side has been able to figure it out.

I keep getting told my QS should not be so low. I mean, by design, should a 1/10 QS gain 75% impression share and 75% top of page rate? Compared to my high quality keywords, this is actually performing at the same level. My 7/10 are gaining 80% impression share, 65% top of page rate.

Just downright odd.

Re: Keywords stuck at quality score 1

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor
Hi Arthur,

"This particular Ad Group has a two word keyword, one in exact match [keywords] and one in phrase match "keywords"."

It's hard to tell without specifics here, but generally different variations of a term indicate intent. Many times the singular version in a search query indicates the user is looking for information about that term and not really looking to make a purchase. and often the plural version indicates intent to make a purchase. That would give your singular variation a lower QS than the plural version.

Other than that, I agree, this is "just downright odd"!

Best of Luck!

Pete
petebardo -- Deadhead doing AdWords

Re: Keywords stuck at quality score 1

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Generally speaking I would agree, but this is product specific, so while there are certainly "window shoppers" or those just looking, it doesn't really apply to this situation, which is QS. Regardless of whether I "convert" them has no influence on CTR, which is high. Even the Google specialist told me my CTR was high.

More so, Google specialists responded today and they gave a broad generalization that my landing page may be causing the QS to be low, but I just don't buy and they really can't give me a concrete answer either as to why I have other well performing (QS-wise) similar keywords, which drop in on similar landing pages under very similar keywords.

I actually have an almost identical landing page (some keywords on the landing are tweaked to match ads) for a different set of keywords and those perform at QS 6-7 since their inception.

It is just this specific keyword. I am beating all competition in impressions, high CTR and relevancy, but there only nuance of information about the low QS is landing page. Even still, a 1/10??

Re: Keywords stuck at quality score 1

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

Hi Arthur, first off, the "Relative CTR" metric is not shown by default, you'll need to go into "Customise Columns" and add it.  I believe it can take a while before figures appear there as well.

 

It's also worth mentioning that some pundits believe that 5/10 is now the "average" Quality Score, i.e. that 10/10 (which I used to see all the time) is now much less common and you could be less concerned about lower scores.  We do know that in some cases no one can get 10/10 - it's not always possible for all Keywords, ,all Accounts.

 

On the variation thing (going from 1 to 3 and back again) I wonder if that's indicative of something?  Quality Score is evaluated with every single auction your Ads are entered into so the figure you see in your Account is actually just an average of sorts.  If you're moving from 1 to 3 that suggests that for some searches you're a lot higher than 3 and that you see a QS of 1 in your Account only when you've had a "bad run" as it were.  This (to me) suggests a wide variation in the relevance of the searches being carried out which match your Keywords.  For example (and you'll have to fit this to your own products but I'm sure you will) let's say you sold garden brushes and you used the Broad match "brushes".  If someone searches for "garden brushes" I'd expect a decent QS - your Ads are about garden brushes and your site is all about gardening equipment.  If someone searches for "tooth brushes" (yes, I know it's one word - I've travelled a long way and need more coffee) or "motor brushes" I'd expect a much poorer QS for the obvious reasons.  What I'm thinking is that in this situation you might see a QS of 3/10 when you have a larger proportion of "garden brush" searches in a day and a 1/10 when you see a larger proportion of "motor brush" searches.  Does this make sense?

 

I'd be looking to see if there's a common alternative product/service that might match your Keywords.  I'd look at the Search Query Report to see if there's any clues there and I'd consider turning off Close Variants in the Settings.

 

More about the Search Query Report

More about Close Variants  (it's towards the bottom of the page)

 

I'd be perhaps especially interested in the result of turning off these close variants.  Most people think of them as only plurals and misspellings, etc. but they can include entirely different words that have a vary similar meaning so if you're using product/brand specific terms you almost certainly want to turn this option off.

 

I have to admit this is little more than educated guesswork so I can't guarantee success but if you do find these suggestions helpful I did of course know exactly what I was doing all along.

 

Jon

AdWords Top Contributor Google+ Profile | Partner Profile | AdWords Audits

Re: Keywords stuck at quality score 1

Top Contributor
# 7
Top Contributor
Hi Arthur,

I"m not really talking about conversions here. Search intent has a big influence on whether the user will prefer the organic listings over the paid listings. Let's say I'm looking for reviews of iPhones and your brand term is "iPhone" (phrase match). The search query is "iPhone Reviews". Your phrase match term could trigger your ad for that query. But the user isn't likely to find your ad relevant to his intent. If your brand term is "iPhones", with close variations disabled, your ad would not be triggered by the query.

The search terms report is somewhat helpful, but it won't show you all of the queries that resulted in an impression and no click. Is the keyword in this group a single word? That may have something to do with it.

When I talked with Google folks about the QS, they told me it is calculated each and every time it is used or displayed. The QS shown in the UI is the QS at that particular moment in time, no matter what time period you have selected. I'd be most concerned with the exact match having a low QS. That one will not change much if it enters the auction as what you see in the UI is all based on exact match. But your phrase match keyword QS can change for each query for which it is eligible.

Whenever they mention the landing page user experience, it's going to be vague and general.

One question, how many impressions do you have or the exact and phrase match keywords?

As I said before, this is just downright odd.

Best of Luck

Pete
petebardo -- Deadhead doing AdWords

Re: Keywords stuck at quality score 1

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
I am going to disable the ad group for awhile that has QS 1 because it is just roaring through my ad budget at a rate that is just unacceptable to me to continue.

My exact match has had 30k impressions this week, 3.15% CTR with a $1.31 CPC. Absurd when you consider the planner tool states the keyword should cost .30 CPC. The QS 1 score is making it impossible to get there.

I mean, if you were selling Nerf guns, and your keyword was [nerf gun] and your site was completely designed to sell Nerf Guns, wouldn't you expect landing page and relevancy to be pretty good, I mean average at least, right? (I don't sell Nerf guns, but pretty good analogy.)

Now let's say you look at your Insight analysis and you see you are topping Amazon, eBay and Toy R Us on impression share, yet cannot garner better than a 1 or occasional 3. I check my QS's pretty much every hour so if my QS was rotating up and down, I am sure at SOME POINT I would have seen the higher scores.

All Google can tell me is it is the landing page user experience holding the QS down. Like I said, I don't buy it, because my site is optimized pretty well for what we sell, which is limited and very targeted.

Now, say my other keyword was Blue Nerf Guns (broad search), but those keywords are running QS 6-8. How can Blue Nerf Gun be so much more closely aligned with their search than just Nerf Guns? I mean I would expect the less specific term to be a little lower since it is more general, like maybe a 5, but a 1? Hardly.

So, since Google's "official" response to me was let it continue to run and you "should" see a gradual increase in QS as my CTR stays healthy. But they cannot tell me for how long this could take.

So in other words, keep blowing through $350 a day in ad spend to get 1/5 the click I should be purchasing, for some unknown amount of time, to maybe see an increase.

I am disheartened.

Re: Keywords stuck at quality score 1

Explorer ✭ ☆ ☆
# 9
Explorer ✭ ☆ ☆

Hi Arthur,

 

I understand what you're going through, pretty bad and unpleasant experience. Let's see if we can do something about it.


Some ideas that might help you:

1) Set up the Historical Quality Score Report - some info here and here. If the Quality Score is the problem then, this kind of report might give you a better insight on what it's happening overall. It would be a good thing to have it running before you re-enable.

2) Your CTR vs your competitors - in some very extreme cases, at least in theory this could happen. One of the competitors advertising above you could have such a good product/offer that their CTR would be very high compared to yours, for example 20-30% vs 2-3%. Maybe they have a well known brand, amazing product and so on. First I would do an Auction Insight report for your exact match vs your broad match keywords. If the "Position above rate" is almost the same for almost the same competitors - then you could rule out this problem. If not, then I would tackle this problem by trying to advertise above the in-question competitors and monitor CTR - or by other tactics.

3) Account CTR vs broad ctr vs exact match CTR - What are your numbers here? In most of the cases, the CTR of your troubled exact match keyword should be higher than the broad match CTR. If the difference is not very big, I would look in the broad match term with a "Search Term" report and see what exact keywords are raising the average. Why is this so?

 

 

 

Re: Keywords stuck at quality score 1

[ Edited ]
Collaborator ✭ ✭ ✭
# 10
Collaborator ✭ ✭ ✭

Cobnut

 

"you can do this by adding the "Relative CTR" column to your Keywords tab (you'll find this column in the "Customise Columns" option, under "Competitive Metrics"."

 

Arthur K :

"I do not see a 'Relative CTR' under Keywords. Is this a Display Network metric? My ads only run on Search as part of the Google Grants program."

 

Cobnut

"Hi Arthur, first off, the "Relative CTR" metric is not shown by default, you'll need to go into "Customise Columns" and add it.  I believe it can take a while before figures appear there as well."

 

My response : Perhaps relative CTR is a Display Network only metric as explained here : link ?

I can't see this metric either in search (In a non-grant campaign), but God knows where the truth is when so many settings can be combined and customized.

 

relative-CTR.png

 

@Arthur K

I would have disabled that Ad Group too, I think AdWords is a man-made software like any other, It is not without software-bugs. I once wanted it also to be perfect, but I now settle for half-perfect results while they can be profitable results too.

 

From my experience a score of 1 was only when I bided by mistake on a BMM keyword made from a single word. I currently have no keywords of 1/10 only 2/10 and they are accompanied by the message "Rarely shown due to low quality score"

 

My questions would be

1) Are you using scheduling for those keywords ? You could find a window of opportunity when your competitors are not bidding and bid in those time intervals . This would require a new campaign with particular scheduling.

2) Do you receive the message "Rarely shown due to low quality score" near those 1/10 keywords ? You never mentioned this.

3) Are you bidding also on "Search partners?" Could you try turning these off ?

4) Do you have mobile traffic  activated in the search campaign (by default it is) ? Maybe you do not have a mobile-dedicated landing page and if you segment the Keywords by "Device" you got many clicks on mobiles. This could explain why your "landing page" is considered bad, because mobile cannot render it very well and users have a bad experience while landing on mobile. To fix this Just turn off mobile by bid adjustments to -100% in the campaign settings.

 

Good luck !