The ROI Revolution Blog

5 Step Google Initial Quality Score Checklist

December 16, 2009

quality_control.jpgYou don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. The moment you upload your new campaigns & ad groups, even if paused, Google gives you an initial quality score. If it’s below average you’ll be paying more per click until Google has enough data for your actual performance to determine your quality score.

If you don’t come out of the gate with your best foot forward, you’ll pay a premium on your first 100+ clicks. Worse, you may be tempted to give up on a keyword prematurely based on astronomical bid prices. Pay attention to the checklist below when launching new campaigns, ad groups or keywords into your AdWords account.

The good news is that all these suggestions won’t just help your initial quality score, but should actually increase the long-term quality of your AdWords campaigns.

Here’s how to get the best possible initial quality scores in Google:


1. Use AdWords Editor instead of the web interface when creating new campaigns

You can’t “undo” a first impression, so you’ll want to create and optimize your new campaign in an offline editor. This will allow you to reorganize keywords and ad groups before Google can give you an initial quality score.

2. Don’t launch campaigns as paused until the landing page is ready

It can be tempting to one-up your web developer by launching built-out campaigns as paused while waiting for the landing page to be completed. Don’t do it. Have patience… create a backup, write new ads, go on a long lunch, but don’t launch your campaigns into Google until everything is optimized.

3. Create as many ad groups as necessary to use all high-traffic keywords in your ads

Your quality score matters the most for keywords that get the most traffic. A big part of quality score is whether your ads are relevant to the keywords. In the beginning, the relevancy question is simply, “Are the keywords in the ads?” You may need to make additional ad groups for high traffic keywords to make sure those keywords are included in your ads.

4. Make sure your landing page is relevant for your keywords

Here’s the quick test: put your landing page URL into Google’s keyword tool. Do your keywords come up in the keyword ideas list? If not, edit your content so they show up. Ideally you’d have a unique landing page for every ad group. At the very least, you’ll probably want a landing page for each campaign.

5. Make sure your landing page has good navigation and generally isn’t “spammy.”

This is the least straightforward. Google doesn’t like spammy pages and will give you perpetually poor quality scores if your site looks spammy. They don’t let on to their secret algorithms to gauge the spammyness of a site, but if your site functions more like a snake oil infomercial than Wikipedia, you may have some work cut out for you.

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