We write a lot about Google AdWords’ Quality Score. There I said it. But as long as Google has the largest share of search traffic, AdWords will continue to be the main driver of the PPC industry and we’ll continue to help turn your campaigns into well-oiled machines.

As you know, at the heart of Adwords is the Quality Score. Google has left search engine marketers to their own devices when comes to interpreting and interacting with this ranking system – that is, until recently. This week Google pulled back the curtain slightly so that we can peak inside the mechanics of the Quality Score, but some of the gears seem a bit faulty.

Google has expanded their Ad Diagnostic Tool and launched the Keyword Analysis Page. Upon first glance, this is a helpful and insightful tool! When you click on the magnifying glass image next to your keyword you learn if your ad is showing, and the keyword’s quality score. If all is well (your ad is showing & quality score is great) then you move on. If your keyword isn’t showing ads then you can dig deeper to find out why and what corrective actions you can take. This where the wrenches are thrown into the works.

Some of the advice AdWords gives you looks a little suspect to me. If you’ll notice in this screen shot their advice is to delete this keyword. Admittedly, the keyword has a low quality score, and is currently inactive for search, but there are steps you can take before throwing in the towel. In fact this seems contradictory to one of Google’s sage pieces of advice: optimize, optimize, optimize.

If a keyword has a low quality score, you should get to work on writing better ad texts and revising your landing page so that it’s relevant to this keyword. Or you may need to restructure your account and tighten your keyword groupings. These are the steps to take before deleting keywords that are under performing.

Also, be wary of the question on the status page: Ad Showing? If the answer is yes, then all is well. But the answer can be ‘no’ for various reasons, and most of them are valid. However, your ad status can be marked ‘no’ if your ad is ranked off the first page. The majority of the time you will want your ad on the first SERP, but I have implemented strategies that utilized lower ad positions that were off the first page of results. Be careful when interpreting your keyword’s status.

The Keyword Analysis Page is very helpful. It gives you more insight as to why your quality score may be low, or why your ads may not be displaying, and you can take corrective action. You should use this tool frequently in order to grease up the wheels of your campaign and enhance your performance, but don’t just blindly follow every suggestion given (like deleting keywords), use your own judgment as well.