So I thought that I knew about Quality Score (QS). I choose targeted keywords in a campaign, match those keywords in the copy in an ad and point the ad to a relevant landing page. Simple. I should have a QS from 7 to 10. No problem.
A client of mine, a massage therapy school in Sarasota, FL, asked if I could create a locally targeted campaign to help capture local searchers who were not specific in their search query about location. I already had a traditional (not locally targeted) campaign set up that utilized terms with the city in the term (“Sarasota”) and I was averaging a QS of “7”, so I did not think that it would be a problem to replicate that.
I started by setting up the campaign with the same terms that I had been using in my other traditional campaign with the city (“Sarasota”) removed. The ads had the words “massage”, “therapy” and “school” at least twice. Once I had about a month’s worth of data, I reviewed the Adgroup to determine how I was doing.
I didn’t even have QS of 4! Most of the terms were 3 or under and the terms that I expected would do the best were 2’s. What went wrong?
Plenty. First of all, many of the terms that I was using were no longer as relevant to the ad copy (ex.:”career in massage”). Secondly, I wasn’t using exact and phrase match on some of the most important terms, so the broad match terms were causing ad impressions for even less relevant terms. This meant that the Adgroup’s overall CTR was very low (a big No-No). Lastly, I wasn’t taking into consideration how the account overall would be affecting the CTR and ultimately the QS.
I needed to do some very intense intervention. The first thing that I did was review the keyword list for terms that were less relevant. The terms must have the words “massage”, “therapy” and “school” in them. Plurals were okay, but if I didn’t have two of those three terms in the targeted keywords, I would pause the keywords. Since I had many terms that had “career” in them, I just decided to make another Adgroup focused on targeted keywords that included “career” in them. The second thing that I did was change some of my broad match terms to phrase match. I knew that the terms should be relevant, but keeping them broad meant that there was a lot of garbage that was causing my ads to show. Thirdly, I used the Keyword Report (under “See Search Terms” at the top of your Keyword interface on Google) to look for negative keywords so that they can be eliminated. Lastly, since I began to see improvement, I decided to use the same approach on other Adgroups because CTR for the entire account influences QS.
The result was an enormous improvement in CTR for the Adgroup (from .29% to 1.59%). It also led to an improved QS (most going up one or two digits) and a lower cost for the client (by about 15% per click). And best of all, better CTR usually leads to more conversions.
Here is a summary for QS improvement:
- Make sure your Adgroup is limited to terms that are very relevant to your ad copy. You can always make other Adgroups to better target your terms.
- Change broad match terms to phrase or exact match. As a note, pause (not DELETE) your old terms. Deleting them will eliminate valuable data.
- Look for negative keywords.
- Apply these approaches to other Adgroups so that your account improves overall.
I hope that this helps. Let me know if you have other questions.