1. Quality Score
Quality Score is Google’s self-designed grading system that evaluates your ads and judges them with a score. Your AdWords Quality Score is mostly determined by relevance.
Factors that affect Quality Score include:
- Relevance of ad copy to the keyword – Is the ad text connected with the keyword?
- Relevance of ad to corresponding landing page – Does clicking the ad take you to a website page that matches what the advertisement is promoting?
- Click-through rate (CTR) – How often an ad is clicked on after appearing. If your ad is displayed often but clicked rarely, your ad might not be relevant.
- Historical account performance – How old is your account and has it performed well over time?
- Other relevance and performance factors
Relevance is a huge deal to Google. They want searchers to have a great experience on Google by connecting users’ search queries with ads that are relevant to what they are searching for.
Imagine searching Google for “lobster oven mitts.” How annoyed would you be if you were shown ads selling stainless steel ovens or live lobsters? What if the ads made no sense at all and were for things like “life insurance” simply because someone paid a lot of money to get the ad posted? Searchers would get fed up and it’d make for an all around negative user experience.
The internet is all about instantaneous response—people use search engines to find what they want, when they want it. Google wants to provide the best search experience by giving the people what they want. And that’s done by encouraging advertisers to adhere to relevance.
Because relevance is so important to Google, they reward advertisers who focus on Quality Score with lower advertising costs and better exposure, making it an immensely important PPC metric.
2. Landing Page Optimization
It’s incredibly important that your advertisements take searchers to a landing page that is connected with the ad. One mistake PPC beginners sometimes make is linking all their advertisements to their homepage. Sending people to your homepage is like plopping a tiny rowboat in the middle of The Perfect Storm. They have no idea how they got there and have no clue where to go. Dumping visitors at the homepage forces them to dig through your site trying to find what you promised in your advertisement. Instead they’ll most likely jump back to Google and try again, erasing any chance you had of making a conversion.
Create tailored landing pages that deliver what your ad text offers. If you’re a bakery advertising sticky buns, bring them to those sticky buns! If you promised free shipping, put a note about that on your landing page as well.
The internet is too full of alternative choices—you need to streamline the process for your visitors, because it’s simply too convenient for them to turn around and find someone who will make it easy.
3. Negative Keywords
Negative keywords can save you tons of money and are an essential element of a successful keyword list. Unlike keywords, which are terms you are bidding on, negative keywords are specific words that you do not want to have your ad show up for.
For example, say you are selling water bottles. Maybe you’re still new to the business and only have a limited selection of water bottle models. If you’re bidding on water bottles with broad-match set, you can appear for “sturdy water bottles,” and “plastic water bottles,” which might be perfect for you. But you won’t want to have your ad appear for “stainless steel water bottles” or “water bottles with built in straw” if you don’t offer those. Setting those terms as negative keywords solves your problem!
Using Negative Keywords can:
- Prevent your ad from being triggered by irrelevant search queries.
- Connect you with relevant audiences who are more likely to make conversions.
- Stop money from being wasted on unwanted impressions and clicks from irrelevant searches.
There are a number of paid and free negative keyword tools that can help you come up with negative keywords.
4. Account Activity
If you’ve ever grown a garden, you know that those delicious tomatoes and beautiful sunflowers don’t come without some work. Gardening is not as simple as throwing some seeds in the ground, doing a rain dance, and calling it a day—success requires constant attention and care.
PPC isn’t really so different from gardening. Some people think you can toss some keywords into AdWords, throw a couple ad groups together, and you’re set. But you won’t be winning any prizes at the county fair for those campaigns.
To truly be successful with PPC, you must constantly be analyzing and reacting to your data. See what keywords are working for you and which ones are underperforming. Test different ad text, try changing your ad groups. The more you test, the more you can see what is or isn’t working in your campaigns, and then improve as a result.
If you haven’t set up conversion tracking, do it ASAP. Conversion tracking with AdWords allows you to keep track of how many clicks to your site go on to make desirable actions, whether that’s joining a mailing list or making a purchase.
Without conversion tracking enabled, you can’t test and learn what you are doing right (or wrong). Half of the clients we talk with don’t have conversion tracking enabled, and it’s a shame because it’s such a useful tool. Setting up conversion tracking is easy and 100% free!
5. Long-Tail Keyword Optimization
The problem with broad, one-word keywords is that everyone and their mom are bidding on them. These words end up being extremely competitive and expensive. The better choice is to focus on long-tail keywords, which are made up of three words or more. These are cheaper, less competitive, and drive more relevant traffic.
Say you are selling gourmet soup. Even while soup isn’t exactly a cut-throat industry, you can bet there are a fair number of people bidding on the keyword “soup.” Think about longer keywords you can use. What kind of soups do you sell? How about bidding on the keyword “tomato bisque soup”? You’ll have less competition and pay less money for that keyword.
Long-tail keywords can also improve your click-through-rate since only you and a few others are matching these more specific search queries. This also means a higher chance of conversion since you are giving the searcher exactly what they are looking for.
In a nutshell, long-tail keywords are less competitive, drive the most relevant traffic, and save you money. What’s not to love about these kooky guys?
Keep in mind these essential PPC metrics , and you’ll see tremendous improvement in your PPC campaigns.
If you’re not quite sure where to start, one great tool you can use to help improve your campaign is WordStream’s AdWords Performance Grader—it’s a free tool that grades your AdWords account on the PPC metrics we discussed today, and shows you exactly how and where to make improvements.