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Google AdWords Quality Score

I had already been dealing with the changes in AdWords for the past couple of months, and then I had a chance to learn the latest and greatest in Chicago this week. For anybody new that might ask “What is Google AdWords” – it’s paying Google so that your ads will show up on the right side of their search results page, or if your ad is really relevant, in the blue space above the normal results.

In the past it used to be that if you had a high enough bid, you made it to the top. As the story has it, one day someone from Google Googled “Google” and found that the ads had gone from PPC (pay per click) to PPC (pills, porn, casinos). As fruit of their anger the quality score was born.

The bottom line is if your ad doesn’t get .5% click through and have a decent landing page you will ultimately pay more for your ad, and as a result not show as high on the page. Like everything else in this domain, we don’t know exactly how google does it, but there’s some statements from google and tests by marketeers that have created some best practices.

Your ad copy is important, you need to test to make sure you stay above the .5% click through. You need to decide when to walk away from a keyword if you can’t get the click through high enough (maybe modify with negative keywords, or use the exact match). You need a good landing page (preferably with the keyword on it).

The down side is if you’ve been doing this shotgun style your minimum bids will rise fast (I’ve seen keywords go from 50 cents to $10 in a week), and you will have a hard time getting a good position on the page. On the other hand, if you work hard at creating relative content you will bid and pay less than those whose ads aren’t as good, and if you do well enough you can make it over to the one box where you will perform better than on the right side.

I’ll be presenting some data and other observations on this next week at the Case Camp Second Life – now if I can figure out how to get my avatar to stop dancing…