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One of those currently frustrated by Quality Scores

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# 1
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Hi, first of all, I'm fairly new to AdWords (about a month) but have done several tutorials, read help and discussions here, and have done the Google AdWords Essential Training from Lynda.com.

 

I do IT consulting among other things for a friend who has an auto body supply shop.  He specializes in small parts that hold things together during repairs called clips, fasteners, retainers, snaps, plugs, grommets, bolts, screws, rivets, etc.  These are mostly for new model automobiles for most of the popular makes.  In short, it's a fairly nice niche that doesn't try to have all repair parts for all things automotive.

 

One thing to note that has caused some ad headaches are all the different names people have for the same item!  The same clip could also be called a fastener, retainer, snap, plug, etc. and even applications like a bumper can be called other things like fascia.  Heck, many of the auto body shops call the products by different names too.  This made it tough to set things up in AdWords.  But we did.  Things have been running for three weeks and I've been getting feedback every Friday by calling Google experts then I make changes over the weekend and let it rip.  Evidently, I still have more to tweak.

 

Ok, enough background.  Here's an example of Quality Score confusion for me that I would love to hear opinions about.  I'm far more concerned about getting things working right than any ego trips about how I made the website (FYI - We're using Go Daddy's Quick Shopping Cart application so I'm currently limited in some ways due to that - especially in the amount of text I can add to a page.).

 

One of our main product lines is bumper clips.  So I've got a phrase matched keyword for "bumper clips" as well as quite a few others that are all tightly related in a single ad group.  The problem is that the Quality Score for "bumper clips" is currently at 4/10, which I think stinks.  Last Friday I talked to someone at Google and all she could recommend was to try and improve the CTR which was around 0.85% (she said I needed to be over 1%).  I found several ways to improve this and now it's at 2.05%.  However, the Quality Score is STILL 4/10 except last week the metrics all said "average" and now the landing page experience has been deemed "below average."  This gets to me because I added some of the suggestions to the landing page.  After reading the discussions here and in help I just don't see what's causing this since the landing page is only about bumper clips (and the Google Expert I talked to today didn't seem to find anything either - he's the one that sent me here to ask).

 

So, I'd love to hear opinions about how to improve the landing page or, at least, why Google thinks it's bad.  Here is the landing page for our bumper clips

 

Using the suggestions from last week's call to Google, each of our categories now states all the multiple names for the application and types so that when someone clicks on "bumper fasteners" and lands on bumper clips they can tell they're the same thing.

 

Wow...  I forgot to add the one thing that really got me frustrated!  I also have "front bumper clips" as a keyword (though it doesn't get many impressions and even fewer clicks) plus it goes to the SAME landing page.  However it has a Quality Score of 8/10!  How can something less relevant be considered more relevant???

 

Thanks for any opinions!

 

Craig

2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: One of those currently frustrated by Quality Scores

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi Craig, great question to which I'll try to give a great answer, but you might be disappointed.  If there's one thing that's still a mystery about AdWords it's Quality Score and it's one of the toughest aspects to cover, but I'll do my best.

 

First off, CTR really should be your main focus.  You don't say whether you're using the Search or Display networks - or both - but I'm assuming you're using Search and for this network a CTR below 1% really is very poor - even 2% ain't great.  Most of my 10/10 Keywords have CTRs well up into double figures, some as high as 30%.  There's no hard and fast rule for what CTR will give you what score and although I've got 10/10 QSs with very high CTRs, I've others at less than 10% but you need to carry on doing all you can to improve CTR.  This mainly means making sure the Ads are as relevant as they can be and that you've got good Negative Keyword lists and a minimum of Modified Broad Matching, which it sounds like you have.

 

Ad Relevance is probably the next thing I'd look at.  As you've seen the individual "scores" within the bubble (Below Average, Average and Above Average) are less than helpful in many cases.  Again, I have 10/10 Keywords that all show Average and I've a few 5/10 Keywords that also show all "Average" so they're not a lot of help.  Ad Relevance is often a problem for two reasons: It's important to make sure your Ad Groups are really tightly themed and that they match the Ad Copy really well and it's also important to make sure the Ads are closely themed within the same Group.  So, as a ridiculous example, if you had "grommets" and "rivets" in the same Ad Group and all the Ads simply referred to "fasteners" I'd expect that to produce a terrible Quality Score.  What you need is a Group for grommets with Ads that describe grommets, a group for rivets with Ads that describe rivets and so on.  One of the easiest ways to ensure Ad Relevance is to use DKI - Dynamic Keyword Insertion - as this puts the Keyword matching the search term into your Ad automatically.  The downside of DKI is that it only inserts the Keyword and if your Keyword is something like "bumper fasteners" this wouldn't look attractive on its own in an Ad so you'd want to do something like:

 

Value {Keyword:Default text}

 

Here, if "bumper fasteners" was the matching Keyword, your Ad Headline would read

 

Value Bumper Fasteners

 

You have to be careful doing this because if the "replaced" text goes over the character limit for the line the Keyword won't be inserted so, for example, "Great Value {KeyWord:bumpers} wouldn't work with "bumper fasteners" as a headline because the replaced text would be too long.  (Note: where I've put "default text" you need to actually put a useful something in there - we've had more than one person actually put "default text").

 

All this aside, the biggest problem you may be facing may simply be that it's not possible to get very high Quality Scores for your Keywords.  An element of Quality Score is the performance of other advertisers and if this is generally low the best you may never be able to achieve 10/10 through no fault of your own.

 

I'd also just add that Quality Score is affected by the entire Account so if you have 500 Keywords and 450 of them are 4/10 you're going to find it a lot harder - probably impossible - to get the other 50 very high, conversely, if you have 450 at 10/10, your other Keywords will probably be a lot easier to get higher.  For this reason it's really important to choose your Keywords carefully and dump any that simply aren't working.

 

As far as the landing page goes, all I can suggest is that there's a lot of text on there that isn't about "bumper fasteners" - at least not to a Google bot.  I'd also offer some caution about the keyword stuffing you have at the bottom of the page - Google doesn't like keyword stuffing and it's possible you're actually being penalised for this rather than helped.  It's also possible that the only solution to the landing page issue would be to point at a page with fewer products, all of which use the term "bumper" but this could be a lot of work for little return.

 

Jon

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

Re: One of those currently frustrated by Quality Scores

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
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Thanks for the reply Jon.  I actually have most of what you mention already in play (the tightly themed ad groups, how the ads are created, etc.) and the so-called keyword stuffing is, well, I don't know how else to get those words on that page.  I only get the titles for each item with Quick Shopping Cart so I'm not sure how to add more "content" other than that paragraph at the bottom.

 

But, let's forget all of that for the moment.

 

If what you're saying is all accurate, then why do "front bumper clips" and "nylon bumper clips" (which are both in the same ad group, use the same ads, go to the same landing page and are even less relevant) have a Quality Score of 8/10 when "bumper clips" is only 4/10?  Heck, "bumper grommets" (which really isn't even an accurate term) is 7/10...

 

THAT'S the part I really don't get.

 

An interesting side note, during a previous campaign, everything was going to the home page as the landing page and we had several 10/10's.  Now all the ads point to more relevant landing pages and the highest Quality Scores we have are 8/10...  Obviously, I'll change the ads (or make new ones) that go to our home page if it really helps, but it definitely makes no sense to me.

Re: One of those currently frustrated by Quality Scores

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Just re-reading your reply and noticed two things.  The first is how all the keywords in an account apparently impact each other (which doesn't sound right to me, but that hardly matters when the rules belong to Google) and how a keyword might be low because of factors outside of my ability to change (if the majority have low quality scores for a keyword).

 

One thing that could be holding our scores down overall is that I have a lot of keywords (many that are long-tail) that are specific to our industry but showing up as "Low search volume" and given quality scores of 3/10.  It sounds like I need to disable these from what I'm reading, but I think these are another case of being in a small niche while Google compares us to the larger world.  One of our largest categories is auto body door clips, yet that keyword, "auto body door clips," and most of the ones that are similar, fall into this "Low search volume" 3/10 quality score category.  There may be low search volumes (compared to whatever Google is comparing it to), but almost every person who enters that search term (or similar) is looking for our products!  This is another frustrating area for me just starting out.  In these cases, should I just kill the keywords anyway and try to get better SEO results for these terms instead?

 

I guess I'm just glad we're not trying to sell exotic flashing yo-yo's instead!  LOL.

Re: One of those currently frustrated by Quality Scores

Top Contributor
# 5
Top Contributor

OOhh.. his  is a long question, and Jon put quite some time to answer...I will underline a few points:

 

  1. If this a new keyword, just added, the QS "granted" is based on other advertisers using he same QS. Only after 1000 impressions your campaign's performance "kicks in", and CTR is the major factor affecting the QS.
  2. Remember that QS is relative, and normalized. (Google does not disclose how it is normalized),  but (again as Jon indicated),  there are fields / industries in which no matter how high is your CTR - the QS remains constant; (See suggested reading below)
  3. And finally:  Avoid "rues of thumbs" / heuristic  rules. Write your web content to be attractive and appealing for human users. Don't try to write text for  a machine / bot searching the site. This will not work.

Suggested reading

Recipe to making the perfect Quality Score Sauce:

Is 5/10 the new average Quality Score?

 

-Moshe

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: One of those currently frustrated by Quality Scores

Explorer ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Explorer ✭ ✭ ✭
>> THAT'S the part I really don't get.

A few things to keep in mind. One, QS is calculated for each kw-ad combination. Two, the majority of QS is comparing your CTR with the average CTR of all advertisers for that keyword, taking into account position.

Your "bumper clips" keyword, with the ads you currently have, is not doing well compared to what others have achieved historically. There's no reason to expect your QS to be the same for all keywords in your group. Since they are different keywords, the baseline historical CTRs are different so right there you are starting from different points. Your own CTR is different for each of these keywords. And the CTR for each ad is different. All this contributes to the QS calculation and each is different and therefore QS is different.

To me, "bumper clips" seems too vague. It just raises flags in my head when I see a two-word keyword. This term could be used in other industries and have a totally different meaning or the intent of the searcher being totally different. Maybe some are searching for video clips of bumpers, and I'm not talking about those on cars. This is where doing a Search Query report can shed some light.

Things you can do: split this keyword to another group with more appropriate ad and add negative keywords. You should always point ads to the most relevant page for your keywords. This helps the relevancy portion of QS but more important, is best for conversions.

I'm not one that believes that keywords anywhere in your account impacts every other keyword. As you said, it doesn't sound right and doesn't make sense. Others will point to a document that states this. Whether it's still true (or ever was) or not, my experience says it has little measurable impact. Not something I worry about.

Low search volume keywords are just that: keywords that are not searched very often. They can have any QS which is calculated the same way, albeit taking into account that there is limited data. There are mathematical ways (normalize in the jargon) to do this. I'm sure Google has other tricks to assign a QS initially. So if your QS is low for them, your ads are probably not relevant enough just as it would be for a higher search volume keyword.

Re: One of those currently frustrated by Quality Scores

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thanks Jon, Moshe and Lucid for the replies.  I got a lot more out of them than just the answer to my main question and already have a few ideas of how to implement the suggestions (which will be my "relaxing" work for today after being up all night adding new products).

 

Although I have to keep some so-called keyword stuffing on my website pages, not for Google, but because the search application on the website is a bit weak, I'll remove what I can.  Other than that, here's what I'm going to try next:

 

  • Pause all Low Search Volume keywords and hope we catch those organically
  • Remove any unnecessary "fine print" or keyword stuffing that I can
  • Create additional ads that use the homepage as the landing page to compare results
  • See if there are any other long-tail versions for the shorter keywords that I've missed (note that "bumper clips" was just one example, "fender clips" and others suffer the same issue)
  • Work with the owner to see if there's anyway we can make our lists of types and applications look more like "content"

Thanks again for the recommendations, I'd like to get this nailed down before I add a lot of more products (repeatedly going back and making changes is a real time killer).  I also want to get it right before adding the next campaigns which will target our makes and metal products.

 

-------------------------------------

 

One last question:  Is there a Google community like this to ask SEO questions?

Re: One of those currently frustrated by Quality Scores

Top Contributor
# 8
Top Contributor

Hello again Craig; 

In terms of SEO, and bots crawling this community;: since this was an open question (compared  to a technical one),  with no "clear solution by Google",  and every view expressed, contributed  to "the big picture",  I removed the " solved solution".  So, users find this discussion in the future,  will consider / see it as  a "multiple opinions" discussion rather than  a technical discussion (that usually has  a correct answer)

I hope this is OK with you.

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: One of those currently frustrated by Quality Scores

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
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Not a problem.  I'm new to this forum, but I've got well over 100,000 posts in others where I'm usually the guy answering things and in some I'm a moderator.  I'll get used to the conventions here soon.

 

BTW - My SEO question had to do with finding a community forum like this one, but for SEO issues instead of AdWords.  I just didn't know if any of you knew of one - I'll go searching for one later.

Re: One of those currently frustrated by Quality Scores

Top Contributor
# 10
Top Contributor
@Craig;
For SEO issues, check the webmaster central help forum;
https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!forum/webmasters
(Tip: Search for an answer before posting...)
Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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