Google Quality Score Is Overhyped

By PPC Hero Ally | @Hanapin | guestblogger

This week we are featuring guest articles from our PPC Hero allies! We requested submissions from our readers and we received excellent responses from some great PPC bloggers! The PPC Hero team will return to our regularly scheduled articles next week. Enjoy!
There.  I said it.  Google Quality Score is overhyped.  Too many people get scared by this nebulous thing called a “quality score,” and think that there’s no way to appease the Great Google Overlords into taking their website off the naughty list.  The reality is that if you’re running a relevant, well organized PPC campaign, you shouldn’t even have to think about your quality score.

So what is this quality score thing, anyway?  In a nutshell, it’s Google’s quantifiable value for several different factors of relevance between your keywords, ad text, and landing page (for more detailed definition, check out the AdWords help file on quality score.  It’s calculated differently for the search and content networks, but just for the sake of argument let’s focus on the search network score for now.

If your keywords are highly relevant to your ad text, your CTR is likely to be pretty good.  That’s one factor of your quality score.  If your landing page is highly relevant to your AdWords keywords and text ads, Google is likely to determine that the page itself has high quality.  There’s another factor in your quality score calculation.  Of course, you should be paying attention to all of this relevance anyway, since relevance tends to be one of the main distinctions between poor-performing accounts and top-performing ones.  The main point is that if users don’t find what you’re offering relevant to what they want, then they simply aren’t going to buy from you, fill out your lead form, or perform some other conversion action.  You should be paying attention to relevance in your account, regardless of whether or not you care about Google’s arbitrary quality score.

So why do people get so worked up about their quality scores?  My theory is that it’s slightly comforting to get a “grade” on how you’re doing in your AdWords account.  With so many different numbers and statistics flying around in your account, it’s easy to focus on one specific number to determine how things are going.  Remember this, though: <strong>quality score is not indicative of the “quality” of your account</strong>.  The only real “score” you need is one (or all) of these three: total conversions, conversion rate, and cost per conversion.  Notice the theme?  Do yourself a favor and focus on what you’re getting out of your AdWords account, not some meaningless number that’s automatically portioned out by the GoogleBot.

Guest blogger bio: Shawn Livengood is an internet marketing professional based in Austin, Texas.  He is currently pursuing his master’s degree in Information Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin.  Check out his blog at www.ppcwithoutpity.com.