Quality Score and SEO

Google AdWords Quality Score is a black box, wrapped in best practices. Google does not divulge a lot of specifics, but they do give guidelines. So take any pundit’s comments on Quality Score (including mine) for what they are, educated guesses at best.

Most in the know believe clickthrough rate is the most important of many factors that go into Quality Score.

For me, the next most important factor has got to be “relevance”.

Relevance can be defined in terms of how well you have integrated these elements:

-The searcher intent when using a particular keyword in a search query.
-The ad copy
-The landing page

Basic SEO and AdWords Best Practices will help cover these bases. Let’s take a look at the product Golden Widgets. Here’s your checklist:

Searcher Intent

-Get in the mind of the majority of searchers. Google has. Know if you have an intent problem. For instance, if Golden Widgets is the name of a popular TV show, and you are selling fancy doorknobs called Golden Widgets, you have a searcher intent problem that is going to make Quality Score a challenge. Awareness of the problem is the first step in dealing with it.

The Ad Copy

-Golden Widgets in the header.
-Golden Widgets in the two line body
-Golden-Widgets in the display URL

To the extent you can do this naturally anyway. It is more important to have compelling ad copy than have it stuffed with keywords.

The Landing Page

I am not an SEO “expert”, but my understanding is that these elements represent much of SEO basic best practices.

-Golden Widgets in the URL
-Golden Widgets in the Title Tag
-Golden Widgets in the Header
-Content relevant to what most are looking for when they use that search term (pivoting, without bait and switch, to your goal as artfully as possible)

So we come full circle with searcher intent. As it should be. Quality Score is Google’s best guess at how aligned your advertising is to the needs and desires of the searcher, both before and after the click.

If the same keyword means one thing to a majority of searchers, and another within the context of your website, then the harder it is going to be to implement this strategy. Do the best you can without looking spammy, or making the searcher feel mislead.

I understand that the above template may not be practical or desirable in many situations. But as a guideline, it is not a bad way at all to think of Quality Score

One last reminder, any pundit’s advice is only as good as the test you can put it to. Any “hot tip” should be looked at as fodder for testing, not as a silver bullet.

-Tom Hale
AdWords Specilaist