Super-Segmentation For Quality Score

By Adam Lundquist | @adamlundquist | CEO of Nerds Do It Better

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Wondering why your quality score is so low?


If you are, you aren’t alone.


Countless marketers and business owners wonder the same thing as they look at their AdWords reports and give their computer monitor the stink eye.


It’s an important question and has implications that affect your whole account. With low quality scores you end up paying more for each click, your ads show less and generally the account produces a lower return on ad spend.


The sad truth is that too many advertisers fall into this category.


Does this sound like you?


I have news for you….it doesn’t have to be this way.


There is one optimization technique that almost always raises your quality score, can be done in a day and requires no coding….


Problem: Your Business Is Irrelevant


In the olden days of online advertising (roughly defined as around the time that it was considered acceptable to wear LA Gear light-up sneakers in public), the business that showed on top of PPC segment of the SERP’s was the one who could afford to pay the most. The highest bid was always the first position and this system really was not beneficial for anyone involved. The user saw an ad that was not exactly what they were searching for while the advertiser got prospects who were not exactly right for them and the search engine lost clicks and payments because they were showing ads that users weren’t interested in.


However, when Google stepped in and created AdWords, they changed the online marketing game by putting a premium on relevance instead of just the highest bidder. This premium on relevance was beneficial to all the parties involved. The user saw ads that were the most relevant to their search query. Google got paid because the user clicked the ad (and even if they didn’t they still experienced a search engine results page that was relevant) and the advertiser got a prospect who was interested in their product or service. This focus on relevance is what put Google ahead of the pack and helped them become the industry standard for advertising.


In terms of how this impacts your business, your quality score is a proxy for relevance and relevance is a proxy for click through rate. If you have a low quality score it is probably because you have a poor click through rate and this means that your ad is not relevant to that particular search query. Google penalizes those with perceived low relevancy with a low quality score and a higher cost per click.


Your Ad Groups Lack Proper Segmentation


One of the most common reasons for accounts with low quality scores is a lack of proper segmentation.


If you choose keywords that logically and semantically make sense to your business (and are not in broad match) and have ads that would seem to make sense, the issue is usually that simply your ads don’t match your keywords. This is because your ad groups lack proper segmentation.


Here is what I mean: If you have 20 -30 keywords in an ad group they all may match what you are selling, but more than likely the ads are not going to be particularly relevant to every single one of those keywords. This problem grows as you continue to carelessly add keywords to your account, and at a certain time you notice your most important keywords have poor quality scores.


Super Segment The Ad Groups


What you need to do to improve your quality score is to pull out keywords from their ad groups, which have lots of impressions and a poor quality score, and put them into their own single keyword ad groups (sometimes called SKAGs). Next, create very specific ads, ad extensions and landing pages for these keywords.


At NDIB (my pay per click company) we call this process super segmenting a keyword and it almost guarantees that you will be the most relevant result on the page. This is great, because as you recall Google rewards relevant keywords with highly clicked ads better quality scores. Additionally, when you super segment a keyword you don’t have to worry about search queries throwing a monkey wrench in your program because all super segmented campaigns are in exact match only.


How To Super Segment Your AdGroups


1) Pick A Keyword With Many Impressions And A Low Quality Score


The first step is to look at your keywords and see which ones have lots of impressions, but not great quality scores. It is on you to decide what you consider not great, but generally anything under 6 has some room for improvement.


You can see in the example below it is obvious that the keyword that has the most room for improvement with the most impressions is the top one. It has the most impressions in the account but only has a quality score of 4. Improving this one keyword can dramatically improve the entire campaign. We will super segment that one.


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Keyword data


2) Pause That Keyword In Its Current Ad Group
3) Create A New Ad Group


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Create a new ad group


Press the red +Ad Group button to create a new ad group, which will be your super segmented ad group. We like to denote it by using the SS | (name of keyword) as our ad group name.


4) Create A Single Keyword Ad Group


Take the keyword that you paused, and use that as the only keyword in this ad group. Make sure that the keyword is set on exact match, which can be accomplished by using the square brackets. You are going to be tempted to include more keywords – we all are…fight the temptation.


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Create a single keyword ad group


5) Make The Ads And Landing Pages As Relevant As Possible


Now you know exactly what keyword you are trying to make relevant to the user. There is no guessing because you only have one exact match keyword. The next step is to make your ads and landing pages as relevant as possible.


To do this use the:


  • Keyword in the headlines
  • Keyword in the description lines
  • Keyword in the display URL – this is free to do, and I am always surprised how many companies do not take advantage of it. The display URL doesn’t even have to be a real URL! See the examples below for highly relevant display URL’s.


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Ads with unique display URLs


  • Tightly Semantic Extensions – You may have to go in and update your sitelinks and callouts at the ad group level to make it more relevant to the searcher. You can still send the user to the same pages but just change the names in the description. The example below for the keyword “DUI Attorney Santa Barbara” demonstrates a great job of relevance with his sitelink extensions.


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Tightly themed extensions
  • Keyword in key sections of the landing page like the title tags and the h1’s
  • Images in your landing page that relate to the keyword – look at both of the landing pages below for DUI lawyer, which one is more relevant to you as a consumer? The images jump out as relevant in one and not in the other (for the record, I am not some sort of crazy DUI enthusiast – we just do a lot of lawyer pay per click marketing).


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Image of law landing page


Now you know how to super segment your campaigns to raise your relevancy, click-through rate, and quality score. How have you utilized segmentation to increase your return on ad spend?