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Pay Per Click – It's The Quality That Counts!

When running an effective Google AdWords PPC campaign there are many factors to consider and unless you’re experienced with how their systems work you may be missing some important factors you need to consider.

For example, you may not realise that when Google calculates the position in which your ad will appear they don’t only use the maximum CPC you’re willing to spend for each click, but also uses an algorithm which tries to calculate the relevance of your ad to the person searching their results.

To this end, it is very important to pay close attention to your keyword’s quality score.

In Google’s own words:

Quality Score for Google and the Search Network is a dynamic metric assigned to each of your keywords. It’s calculated using a variety of factors and measures how relevant your keyword is to your ad group and to a user’s search query. The higher a keyword’s Quality Score, the lower its cost-per-clicks (CPCs) and the better its ad position.

So now you’re aware of its existence and why it’s important to you, you’d probably like to know how you can increase your scores! Well here’s some food for thought.

Let us consider a site selling clothing.

The Devil Is In The Detail

One of the first steps is to make sure you laser target each and every campaign, adgroup, ad text and keyword. Having one campaign with one large adgroup containing hundreds of keywords and having just a couple of generic ad variations will not score highly.

What you should be doing is breaking your one campaign into smaller campaigns, each targeted at a different objective such as a different matching type or product range. For example the clothing store might have a campaign for tops, another for shoes and another for trousers and so on.

Then with each campaign you should split the keywords into small adgroups containing closely related keywords. Here, the clothing store might break keywords into groups based on the brand of clothing e.g. Bench tops, Calvin Klein tops, etc. If you end up with just one or two keywords in each group that’s fine, the more targeted the better.

You should now write some very target ad copy related to the keywords in a specific group. In the above example you might use the keywords ‘Bench Tops’ in the title for that group and possibly somewhere in the description.

Going down to this very granular level of detail with your PPC campaign means that every group becomes extremely targeted and very relevant therefore helping to improve your quality score.

Split Test Everything

Another factor to consider is how well your ad variations, landing pages and keyword matching options perform. If your ads have a very low CTR and your site rarely turns a visitor into a customer, then your quality score is going to suffer.

Obviously in this article we’re considering how to positively affect your quality score, but if you’re not doing this bit anyway, well you’re likely to be needlessly throwing money away!

The better your campaign and site perform, then the better your quality score is going to get and the best way to improve these performance levels is to split test.

For example the clothes shop might split test landing pages. In the targeted adgroups mentioned above, they could have one ad going to the relevant section in the online store, while at the same time having an identical ad going to a custom made page that is designed to try and convert visitors into customers.

This type of split testing can be used on every aspect of the campaign including; the wording used in ad variations e.g. promoting a different USP or simply trying different verbs; trying different matching options to see how broad matching compares to exact matching and phrase matching.

When you start to get a more effective campaign going, not only will your quality score go up, but so will your ROI (Return On Investment).

Go Tidy Your Room

The structure and organic optimisation of you site is just as important as the settings in the AdWords campaign. If you site doesn’t work, or doesn’t contain any of the keywords you’re bidding on, then you’ll be limiting your quality score potential.

The main areas to pay attention to are:

  1. the link structure of your site
    Make sure there are no broken links (especially on landing pages) and always try to use the keywords as the anchor text for the links.
  2. "use the keywords Luke"
    if you want Google to think a page is relevant to a particular keyword then you need to use that phrase in the content of the page.
  3. better meta
    You should really try to make sure that the landing page for a particular adgroup uses the keywords in the description and keywords tags. Ideally the best performing keyword would also be used in the title tag.
  4. cover the essentials
    Every site needs certain essential pages as far as the search engines are concerned and if yours doesn’t have them you should add them ASAP. These include; a site map, terms and conditions, privacy policy, a contact page and an about us page (I would add a home page, but that would just be silly)

The Horse’s Mouth

If you are ever in any doubt as to whether Google thinks you’re relevant to your target keywords, then why not just ask them.

If you’ve got a Google Webmaster account (if you don’t you really should get one) you can log in, go to ‘Your site on the web’, click on ‘Keywords’ and you will see a list of exactly how Google perceives your site.


If this still all seems a bit much, you could always turn to a professional for help. I happen to know a very good Internet marketing company based in Exmouth, Devon who employ a guy that’s awesome at this sort of stuff! Here, I’ll even give you a link to their page about PPC services.

About The Author – Philip Vellender manages PPC campaigns for a wide variety of clients in various industries. He’s also pretty darn good at Organic SEO, web development, website usability and can even turn his hand to a bit of design occasionally. You can email him at, visit the WNW Design website, or even call him on 01395 542569. You can also become a fan of WNW Design on Facebook.