Improving Paid Search Quality Scores

June 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Search Marketing

If you are managing any form of advertising, getting the biggest bang for your buck should be at the top of your mind. Spend less, make more.

When it comes to paid search advertising, there is any number of ways to get more for less. One of them is by paying attention to your quality scores. In short, a higher quality score can mean you actually pay less for the same — or even higher — placement.

In effect you could actually be paying less (i.e. cpc) than a competitor bidding on the same keyword(s) yet have a higher placement in the search results.

So what can you do to better you quality scores? Well the real key is keep things relevant. Keywords should be relevant to the ad and to the landing page the user ends up on. This can often be achieved by developing tightly focused groups of keywords (sometimes only 2 or 3 per group) based around a single ad group. Do not try to lump everything you are bidding on into one giant campaign / ad group — our ability to focus will be quickly lost, and that won’t only hurt your quality scores, it will hurt your sales conversion.

Yes, developing a large number of tightly focused groups can be time consuming (but there are some tools out there that can help make it easier). In the end, it is worth the effort. I have campaigns I manage consisting of over 17,000 keywords broken into several hundred ad groups containing several thousand ads. Then others I manage consist of just a handful of keywords. The process of developing a paid search campaign that delivers high ROI is the same in all instances — focus on relevancy and tight groups of highly targeted keywords.

You can read any number of article relating to paid search quality scores. Rather than write another that re-iterates what is already out there, I thought I would list links to several below that I found interesting.


How to Get Higher Paid Search Conversion

October 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Conversion, Search Marketing

There are many ways to increase conversion of your paid search campaigns. On a general level, it starts with the keywords, moves to the ad title and copy, and on to the landing page (the page at which your traffic arrives.)

I won’t go into all those details here (that’s for another post) but did want to give a hint on one strategy that may help increase conversion of your paid search campaigns. This strategy serves a dual purpose and can subsequently flow over to converting visitors on your site that use your site search form as well.

Relevancy is Key

It has been long proven that when a user searches on a specific term and sees a listing with that exact search term in the title, they are more likely to click through on the listing. The term used to associate the two is called relevancy.

Increase Paid Search Conversion

However, once you get the click, you now need to convert them on the landing page into the action you desire (sale, optin, etc…).

Following the initial search rules above for getting the click, you can increase your chances of getting the “action” by increasing relevancy on the landing page. You achieve this using the same “keyword in the headline” concept revealed here.

Ideally, if you’re running an e-commerce business and the search term is “blue widget”, you would be directing that traffic to the specific product page for your blue widget. That product page should already have the keyword listed in its headline (i.e. the name of the product itself.)

Likewise, if you offer multiple blue widgets, the best option would be to send traffic to each individual page based on the ad presented. This can be time consuming but in the end it’s worth it.

However what if you offer multiple blue widgets in various styles, are short on time, and want to capture broad traffic looking for “blue widgets” in general? Or what if a visitor arrives at your site and uses your search form to look for “blue widgets”?

I’ve seen in a number of cases where the headline of the search results page simply says “Advanced Search” or “Search Results”. This does nothing for the initial relevancy factor.

How can we change that? Simply replace the “Advanced Search” or “Search Results” title with the actual keyword(s) entered into the search form.

Search Results Before
Search Relevancy Before

Search Results After
Search Relevancy After

Increasing the relevancy factor of on site search provides a dual opportunity to increase conversion.

For those who don’t have the time to setup individual paid search campaigns targeting individual product specific landing pages, it gives you an opportunity to still increase conversion on a broad scale.

Killing Two Birds With One Stone

Increasing the relevancy factor of on site search provides increased conversion opportunity for users searching your site. We can use these new “more relevant by association” search results to target broad paid search campaigns.

How? Going back to the blue widget example presented earlier we can do the following:

Perform a search on your own site for “blue widgets”. Now, copy the url from the address bar and use that url as the destination url for your paid search campaign which targets blue widgets (on a general level).

What you’ve just done is created a landing page of targeted search results for the blue widget products you offer and increased the relevancy factor by including the keyword searched on in the title.

Again, the best method would be to spend the time to create individual ad groups targeting each product, but the approach outlined here will give you a better chance at increasing conversion from paid search than just sending traffic to any old page on your site.