What determines quality score?

By Affilorama Group
What determines quality score?


Thanks so much for the posts everyone, there have been some very interesting points raised about whether or not PR is a contributing factor (see comments made by Travis, Phil Wiley and others to my last post).

I decided to email google adwords about it so that I can get a reply in writing, this is what they had to say:

Thank you for question on why many people's keywords recently became inactive for search, and what you may do to decrease the minimum bid required to reactivate these words. I am happy to answer your question below.

Your keywords recently became inactive for search due to changes in our landing page quality measures. These changed lowered your keywords' Quality Score, thereby raising their minimum bids. Below I will explain how we determine a keyword's Quality Score, and will provide you with information to help you improve the quality of your landing page.

The quality of the landing page is one factor used to determine your Quality Score, along with clickthrough rate (CTR), relevance of ad text, historical keyword performance, and other relevancy factors. By factoring in the quality of a landing page, we hope to improve the end-user experience and in turn provide advertisers with more targeted leads.

There's no one specific formula to determine the quality of a landing page or website. On a case-by-case basis, we'll evaluate the content, structure, and navigation of a website. Keep in mind, the most relevant landing pages will include a substantial amount of content that is highly relevant to not only your choice of keywords, but also to your ad text.

Personally every page I list that has a PR of 4 or more has remained unaffected. But yes, like Travis and others (see comments on my last post) I too have got PR0 sites that have remained unaffected. Although not many. Google's primary way of automating quality analysis in the past has been PR (amongst other factors).

So, I give it a good chance that PR (relative to the PR of the other competing pages), plays a part. Although this is by no means definate or a fact, this is my hunch.

But wait... they said: On a case-by-case basis, we'll evaluate the content, structure, and navigation of a website.

Does this mean that they are human reviewing the landing page's relevancy to the ads written? Surely not, that doesn't sound very google to me. But it's nowhere near as huge a undertaking as it is to human review free sites, so we have to mark it down as at least a possibility.

Most importantly though, whatever the formula or method that google uses...

Google's rep says: Keep in mind, the most relevant landing pages will include a substantial amount of content that is highly relevant to not only your choice of keywords, but also to your ad text.

The best way to figure out whether your keyword, ad, or landing page is relevant and useful is to put yourself in the shoes of a user. Do your ad and landing page include language that makes sense in the context of the keywords you've chosen? For example, if you've selected the keyword 'hiking shoes,' have you made sure that your ad mentions hiking shoes or related name brands? Does your landing page actually offer the name brands you mentioned, along with detailed information about this shoe type?

Targeting your keywords, ads, and landing pages in this way likely will lead to several positive results. First, it can help you gain the trust of your customers and therefore keep them coming back to your site. You'll also minimize the money spent on clicks from users who might not be interested in what your website offers. And finally, you can increase your overall Quality Score and lower the minimum bid necessary for your ad to appear.

To learn more about how we define quality scores, visit https://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=10215&hl=en.

To review the landing page and site quality guidelines, visit https://adwords.google.com/select/siteguidelines.html

Advertisers who spend their energies upholding the spirit of the basic principles listed in our landing page guidelines will provide a much better user experience and could see lower minimum CPC(s). If you think there are things we can do to improve the guidelines - or things that we may have overlooked - please let us know.

From what he said. This means, one way or another, you've got to make your ads more relevant to the text people search for. That is google's goal, so whatever the latest changes mean, in the long run that is what google are striving for.

Here's a couple more of my hunches:

  1. One way I can guess that google may perhaps automate this is by timing the length of time people visit the landing page site before leaving it. If they leave quickly, especially if they come back and click on another google ad, then it's likely they didn't find what they are looking for. Again that's just a hunch.
  2. Another way is by making sure the keyword text in your ad (not just the phrase the user was searching for), is also used in your landing page.

To everyone reading this blog, I'm very keen to hear your comments on my 2 hunches above. And also what has your experience been of google's changes to their algorithm?

Mark Ling

p.s. Don't forget Google Adwords is NOT everything, not by a long long shot. In the world of pay per click (and there are numerous other traffic generating methods I use as outlined in Affilorama) I strongly recommend taking a look at Miva, Overture, and MSN. I'm guessing those 3 ppc companies will be large benefactors of the latest google changes, so too the average google searcher.

Rudolf 18 years ago
Basically, what Google wants is absolute relevancy. And if you're not helping, you're either paying for the loss, or you'll have to see your traffic drop. There isn't much you can do about it, if you can't keep up, you will lose. The only difference here is that this time Google is your competitor, not other companies. And I'm pretty sure Google will know when their boundries are reached; they will do it gently but surely, step by step and avoiding big changes that might scare people off of Google forever. Also, I'm getting the idea that Google prefers pages with a linking structure to pages without them. Basically that means that "real" websites are not experiencing the pressure landing pages do. And that would not be entirely unlogical, pages with a good big structure will almost always have more relevant info than a single scrollpage. You might almost think Google prefers informative websites to business-related websites, because, in effect these landing pages are just those people who advertise on Google. Telling us to up the relevancy of our keywords in our ads with the webpages seems kinda self-explanatory.. right? But I can't blame them for approaching starters, they probably make up for the bulk of Google advertisers.
Lowell 18 years ago
If Google wants to make such rules, they have every right. We also have every right not to be their customer. That is the route I have taken.

This bid blackmail happened to me several months ago, I got the same sort of unhelpful answers as Mark. I moved to Overture. Google may say they have other motives, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck.

Google doesn't run the internet. Google's policies keep a lot of very worthwhile new websites out of their search results. Many of Google's so called relevant search results turn up pages that haven't been updated in years. Among other things, Google is rewarding staleness.

The natural result of such tyranny is the growth of tagging sites where real people get to vote on worthwhile web pages, whether they were put up years ago, or yesterday.
Ian M 18 years ago
I find that setting up a new account works well for me:) It's working great, not sure how long this will last. Has anyone else experienced similar?
John Small 18 years ago
I love the fact that there is less competition in google now. I have a site that is similar in most ways to the sites that got kicked out, except that mine is about twice as long.

I think it's just the short pages that got booted, at least that's my take on it because my pages are otherwise no different. I originally optimized them for seo stuff, but it is paying off here in adwords:)