A Small Business Owner’s Guide to Quality Score

Notepad with words PPC pay per click concept and marker.Paid search advertising is a great way to target narrowly a specific keyword and ensure your business’ presence on that search results page, but it can be confusing and overwhelming. The sheer number of options available to you from keyword combinations to bids is astounding. If you do it wrong, you might end up spending too much on ineffective ads.

The key to truly understanding pay per click advertising with Google is understanding your ad’s Quality Score.

What is Quality Score?

Quality score is a 1-10 estimation of the overall quality of your ad. It is determined by a combination of several key factors of your advertisement:

• The relevance of all of the keywords in your ad group
• The Click-through rate and expected click through rate of your ad- This is the number of people that click your ad out of the total number of people that see it. This usually is a reflection of how compelling your ad copy is.
• Landing page quality – Your landing page will score higher if it is fast, easy to use, easy to read and loaded with your desired keywords.
• The relevance of your ad text to the keywords and landing page- You want to have your ad landing page to include the text of your ad in some way if not multiple ways.
• Your previous advertising results – If you’ve had multiple quality PPC ad buys in the past, the system boosts your score.
• The user experience of your website – Google wants to reward you for making it easy to find the product your ad is promising. If you have a quality landing page as listed above, your user experience will likely be higher.
• Your geographic targeting – If your targeting is narrow, well defined and relevant to your website and keywords, you’ll score higher.

How do I find my Quality Score?

You should be able to see your quality score on the Campaigns tab of your Google AdWords dashboard. Click on keywords. Your quality score will be listed under the “Qual. Score” column. You can also run a keyword diagnosis.

What does this score mean for me?

If you have a high quality score, then Google anticipates that your ad will be effective. More effective ads are great for you because they result in more clicks on your ad and more sales, but they are also great for Google because they get more money. If they think you’ll get a great click through rate, your bid per click will be much more affordable. A great quality score is great for both sides.

A bad quality score, though, will raise your price per click because Google believes it will take more impressions to generate one click. That’s why you want to understand quality score, what goes into it and how to improve it.

How do I improve my Quality Score?

The best way to make sure you have a great quality score is to ensure your strategy is well thought out. You want to spend time identifying the keywords, which ones you need to be paying to advertise in, and on which local markets to focus.

Next, build a custom landing page for your advertisement. You want it to be fast, easy to read, and limits the number of steps to the offer your ad is making. If you’re offering a sale on a particular product, you want your landing page to give all of the details of the product and bring your customers directly to the checkout with the deal included. Each Ad set should have a specific landing page loaded with great copy that includes as many of that set’s keyword combinations as possible.

Next, you want to make sure your ad’s copy is snappy, short and compelling. Try to give your potential customers a clear benefit for buying your product and give them a compelling reason to buy it now.

Quality Score is a Good Thing

It may seem like an overly complicated score, but trust me, Google Quality Score is a good thing. It is the single best measurement of how effective your ads are and will be. Once you understand how to use it, you can greatly improve your PPC advertising. If you want a more in-depth and visual analysis of Quality Score and what it means for your business, check out this awesome resource from Ten Scores.

Building Relationships with your Leads

You’ve invested time and energy in social media, content marketing, you’ve created a call to action that’s been generating leads, and your email list of contacts is growing. Now how do you generate sales from your current leads and expand your reach to attract new leads?

Let’s take a look at two effective techniques –influencer marketing and customer emails – and how they can help you build relationships with your leads.

Influencer marketing

Using key influencers to promote your brand to a wider market, should be an important part of your overall marketing strategy. Today’s key influencers are often bloggers, and building relationships with bloggers, within your niche, can be more valuable than money spent on traditional advertising channels. According to a recent survey, 81% of consumers say they trust advice from their favourite bloggers while only 33% trust ads.

Word-of-mouth marketing is very relevant and when word gets spread by industry influencers, there’s more potential for capturing the attention of new users and increasing your reputation.

Build a strategy around influencers

Most brands today understand the importance of content marketing, and 77% of marketers use blogging to increase brand influence. Once you’ve invested time and effort into your own blog, how do you spread your reach by connecting with other bloggers?

Software such as GroupHigh can help you identify focus areas for your target audience and find bloggers and social media influencers who will be relevant to your message. Once you’ve identified them, determine how to collaborate to the best effect. Building a successful campaign involves:

  • Identifying your goals and understanding what you want to accomplish can help you decide on whom you want to work with and what approach you’ll take.
  • Get creative. Everyone likes a good product review, but more than their attention, you want to get them involved. Sponsor giveaways for ‘best comments’ or solicit user-generated content and feature the ‘best of’ on your site.
  • Provide high-quality images and suggest creative visuals that bloggers can use for their Instagram stream.
  • Create share-worthy messages. Target a devoted niche and focus on content quality rather than traffic analytics.
  • Research your competitors. Take the time to really analyse their successes.  What does a successful campaign look like?  Don’t be afraid to borrow ideas from outside of your industry either.

Realistic Expectations

It’s important to understand that blogging is a business too. Cooperation from bloggers isn’t always free, especially the high-level influencers. When you weigh the benefits, though, blogger influence often justifies the costs. Spending on influencer marketing might be an eventuality- as part of your overall social media marketing costs.

Connect with local bloggers (i.e. newspaper sites and community leaders.) This is valuable publicity, for free! Request backlinks to your site to drive traffic and boost SEO ratings. If you don’t earn a link, that’s OK, you still gained recognition and a boost to your reputation.

Craft Smart Correspondence

The other tactic for building relationships is connecting with customers through email marketing. Email lets you communicate your brand message in personalized format while providing leads the opportunity to click through and purchase.

Segment your email list. If you’re tracking analytics, you already know where you leads are coming from. Did they sign up through your latest Facebook ad, download your eBook, or were they referred by an existing customer? You can tailor your emails based on the specific marketing approach each customer responded to.

Other ways to segment include demographics and survey responses. The list goes on, depending on the product or service that you are selling. The point is that by breaking down your large list into smaller segments, you can send out targeted correspondence which translates to a higher likelihood of generating a response.

Personalize each email. Include details about past purchases and target items to customer interests based on those purchases. The more you demonstrate an understanding of your customers, the more likely they are to return and become loyal buyers.

Building relationships with your leads is the key to conversion. Building trust with influencers and maintaining communication through email marketing are effective methods of establishing these important relationships. And these are the relationships that create results!  

courtney.capellan.headshotCourtney Capellan is a Digital Analyst for hotelmarketingWorks. When she’s not writing about marketing trends she enjoys writing fiction, practicing yoga and treasure hunting. Follow her on Twitter @courtcapellan