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by Oliver Ewbank on 12th October 2010
How you can increase your Quality Score for PPC adverts through a little creative copywriting and how this can help to lower bid prices and increase your clicks.
A Google AdWords PPC advert can live or die by its Quality Score. The higher it is, the more relevant your site is deemed to be for the targeted search term. Relevance in turn is rewarded with higher rankings and lower bid prices.
The simple solution then, in theory at least, is to improve your Quality Score. Easier said than done though I’m afraid.
Quality Score, like so many of the search engines’ metrics, is made up of numerous component parts – many of which aren’t widely known. Google isn’t at liberty to suggest ways of by-passing its algorithm, which therefore places the emphasis on Paid Search specialists to decode the formula.
How Quality Score is Judged
As with PageRank, a page’s Quality Score is ranked from 0 to 10 (okay, so PageRank also has N/A). And, just like PageRank, Google will often show one figure (the toolbar figure if you will), but also have a much more accurate one known only to them. For example your Quality Score might be shown as 8, but that could well represent 82/100 in Google’s eyes. The bottom line is that we are offered only a snapshot of how they actually view and rate pages.
The basis of a decent Quality Score is having a page that is relevant to the term you’re targeting. Whilst factors such as bounce rate, page load time and CTR (click through rate) are also key in determining overall strength, relevance is what the search engines are really after.
This is why if you are simply going after popular keywords in campaigns without matching them with a page dedicated to that same subject, your Quality Score will always suffer. But you can get around this potential issue by being a little creative and employing some PPC Copywriting.
Ensuring Landing Page Relevance
If Quality Score is assigned to a landing page, it isn’t strictly necessary for that page to be anything but a place for PPC visitors to arrive. Evidently a strong call to action will be necessary, particularly if your page is looking to channel visitors to places elsewhere on your site. But otherwise you are free to create a page solely dedicated to being relevant to the term(s) being targeted in your PPC campaign.
This means creating new pages and embedding them somewhere within the coding of your site. You can choose to bury these and ensure that they aren’t indexed simply by including them within your robots.txt file if you wish. Obviously you’ll need to maintain the same design theme as the site; however, you’ll benefit from being able to write targeted content for a strict phrase. This should include your H1 heading, body copy and Meta data.
A new page isn’t always necessary of course. Many sites will simply be going after terms that reflect what they already offer. In this instance your PPC copywriting will be far more subtle, but certainly no less important. This still means ensuring that the targeted term is used in all on and off-page elements (as detailed above).
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
You should follow SEO principles when carrying out this PPC optimisation though. Keyword stuffing isn’t acceptable in either, so whilst you want to be relevant that shouldn’t involve having a keyword density of anything more than 5% (at a push). Relevance is simply about ensuring that all components match up. From the ad text down to the on-page Meta, there should be a common theme.
The end result of all these efforts should be a competitive Quality Score. You can’t ignore the factors mentioned earlier, such as CTR (boosted primarily by having a high position and decent ad copy), site speed and a low bounce rate – these will all have to be strong for a 9 or 10.
With Quality Score on your side, you should be ranking better, receiving more traffic and paying less (or at least the same) as you were previously [see: What are the Benefits of a Good Quality Score?]. A little PPC copywriting therefore can go a long way.
Working in new media for over 8 years, Oliver Ewbank has worked for a range of brands including eBay and SportBusiness.com on SEO, PPC and Social Media Management. He has won awards for his SEO work and been featured in a number of publications, including Virgin online.