Archive for January 9th, 2009

Low Quality Score

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Quality score in Google AdWords is affected by a variety of factors and makes a huge difference on where your ad will be ranked in the SERPs.  Ultimately, a higher score means you can get a higher placement for a lower cost, which will greatly increase your return on investment.  A low quality score, however, can grind your campaign to a halt.

Thankfully, quality score is very transparent.  Mousing over the magnifying glass icon next to a keyword, will display the quality score as well as some additional troubleshooting information. A typical quality score is between 7 and 9.  If you are below this, it is likely that you could make a few simple changes to your ad structure or landing page to boost your score and help maximise your ROI.

A low quality score is tantamount to throwing money down the drain, but it is fairly common among individuals who set up their own campaigns with very little knowledge of PPC campaigns.  In extreme cases, a quality score can be so low that ads stop showing altogether. For example, If you have a quality score of 1, it is likely that your site has been considered to be a spam site or affiliate site with very little value. Your score is dropped so low that it becomes impossible for you to compete for your chosen search terms.  In essence, this is the PPC equivalent to a Google ban.

AdWords will greatly reduce the quality score for ads linking to pages which it considers to be of little to no value.  This mechanism is used largely to stop affiliate pages or doorway pages dominating the SERPs, and it ultimatley helps to maintain diversity and integrity.  If you have a particularly low quality score, it is likely that you have over stepped the mark and have been penalised. Often, this affects the entire domain and there is very little you can do other than address the problem, and wait or buy a new domain. Thankfully, this “ban” rarely happens to legitimate sites, but when it does, it can have a devastating effect on traffic and sales.