Did you know that you could be paying lots more for your ‘pay per click’ advertising with Google than your competitors even if you are bidding on the same words?
It’s all to do with another one of Google’s mysterious algorithms, this one is known as the Quality Score. Google understand that to maintain their massive advertising revenue they need to make their advertisements as attractive to users as possible. If people click on their paid ads and end up somewhere they do not want to be, then they are likely to stop clicking on the paid ads. No clicks means no advertising revenue. So Google don’t just want to sell their adwords to the highest bidder, they want to also make sure the person who clicks on that ad also gets what they want or in technical terms, increase the click-through rate.
Essentially if they don’t think your website is as relevant to your keywords as your competitors, then they may charge you more money for those key words. This who concept is tied together with the Quality Score of your website against the keywords you are bidding on.
What is the Google Quality Score?
Every time someone does a search that triggers your ad, Google calculates a Quality Score. To calculate this Quality Score, they look at a number of different things related to your account such as:
– Your keyword’s past click-through rate (CTR): How often that keyword led to clicks on your ad;
– Your display URL’s past CTR: How often you received clicks with your display URL;
– Your account history: The overall CTR of all the ads and keywords in your account;
– The quality of your landing page: How relevant, transparent, and easy-to-navigate your page is;
– Your keyword/search relevance: How relevant your keyword is to what a customer searches for;
– Geographic performance: How successful your account has been in the regions you’re targeting;
– Your ad’s performance on a site: How well your ads been doing on this and similar sites (if you’re targeting the Display Network);
– Your targeted devices: How well your ads have been performing on different types of devices (you get different Quality Scores for different types of devices).
The Quality Score you have for particular keywords is constantly re-evaluated and rather than showing you a constantly changing Quality Score, Google displays a single Quality Score updated less frequently that gives you an estimate of that keyword’s overall quality. Quality Scores are rated from 1 to 10 with 10 being the most relevant ads for those keywords.
How does the Quality Score affect my advertising?
Google wants to display more relevant ads, even if they do not earn as much money for them, as their long-term success depends on their ads being relevant for users. So if you have a high Quality Score then your ad will be placed more frequently at the top end of the paid listings than one with a low Quality Score. This means it is more likely to be viewed by potential customers. What’s more, Google will charge you less for this ad if you have a higher score: A higher quality score gets you a better placement at a cheaper rate.
Improving your Quality Score
As with any of the Google algorithms the Quality Score calculation is extremely complicated and constantly refined by Google. This means it usually requires a combination of changes to make a big difference to your scores. However, one of the simplest things you can look at to make a difference, is your landing page. The landing page you have for you ad should be as relevant to that particular ad as possible. Many people simply send all their ads to their homepage, but creating customised landing pages for your specific adwords campaigns could be more beneficial. Your homepage tends to be fairly generic and relatively low on content. If you create a customised landing page you can make sure it includes all the relevant words that are in your ad and your key words.
A good example of this would be if your self storage business is located in Bundoora, you might also be bidding on self storage Thomastown as a key word (as Thomastown is the adjoining suburb). The problem is that your homepage just talks about Bundoora, so Google will judge it as less relevant. If you create a landing page just for this ad you can fill it with content about storing in Thomastown which Google will judge as more relevant, hence improving your Quality Score. All the links on the landing page can then go back to your normal website information and booking, but the landing site will have content that is pertinent to the words you are bidding on. This means that you could have multiple landing sites for your multiple adwords campaigns.
The other thing to consider when building your landing sites is how well they perform on mobile devices and tablets. More and more people are using these devices to search the internet and Google assesses how well sites display on a variety of devices as part of the Quality Score. This suggests that they may rank mobile friendly sites higher when people search from mobile devices.
Your account score
While Google will show you an individual Quality Score for every one of your ad campaigns, they also have an overall score for your whole account. This means that if you have some really low scores on your account as well as high ones, your overall score is being dragged down by your poorest performing campaigns. If any of your campaigns have a score of 3 or lower, then pause or cancel them – changes are they are not giving you a good return on investment anyway.
Work on your lowest quality score campaigns and if you can’t improve their scores then seriously consider how important they are to your overall account. Ultimately you want all your campaigns to have a high Quality Score and this will give your account a higher score overall resulting in better value for your money.
Avoid using broad match
When setting up your adwords, account Google defaults to broad match. What this means is that Google will attempt to show your ad to anyone who searches that keyword or any variation of the keyword Google thinks might be related. Unfortunately Google thinks a lot of things ‘might’ be related to self storage, like shipping containers for example. Broad match usually means you will get more junk clicks which you pay for. Most of your campaigns should be set up using phrase match. This means a search must include the phrase you’ve designated in the search.
For instance, if you bid on the term ‘Bundoora storage unit’, your ad will only appear when someone searches ‘storage unit Bundoora’ or ‘self storage unit in Bundoora’. They need all the words in their search. Your ad would not display for ‘self storage Bundoora’ as the word unit was not in the search. Also consider using the negative keyword function to knock out irrelevant words like ‘food storage units’ or ‘cold storage units’.
Google adwords are a great way to market your self storage business online, but like any marketing program you need to monitor, measure and adapt it to suit your business needs. Particularly as more and more businesses bid for the same keywords make sure you are getting the most out of your adwords account.