As you know, we frequently write about the Google Quality Score. We do this because the Quality Score affects the performance of your AdWords campaign, and it is shrouded in mystery (a bad combo). Well, over the past year Google has been lifting the thick veil that hides the mechanics of the Quality Score in order to give advertisers more visibility as to how their keywords are scored. Recently, Google AdWords made another leap forward in helping PPC managers get a better grasp on the Quality Score.

If you have run a keyword/placement report within AdWords recently, you’ll notice that you can now included Quality Score data as well as estimated first page bid information. For those of you who haven’t noticed these changes to your reporting options, here is a screen shot:

When you include this information within your keyword report, you’ll see these columns in your spreadsheet:

Previously, you could only get each keyword’s Quality Score by using the keyword analysis tool within the AdWords interface. As you can image, using the keyword analysis tool to acquire Quality Score information is extremely laborious because you have to go keyword-by-keyword. With this new reporting function, you can see your each keyword’s Quality Score in one easy place.

However, the keyword analysis tool has not been rendered obsolete. You can use the updated keyword report to discover which keywords have a low Quality Score. Once you find those weak keywords within your report, you can use the keyword analysis tool to find out why their score is low. Here is a quick screen shot:

Here you can find out what aspect of your keyword is holding back your Quality Score. It could be any of the items listed here: keyword relevance, landing page or landing page load time. And now you know what to fix and how to fix it.

So, what about that “estimated first page bid” column. Good question! This column is giving you an estimate as to how much you need to bid for first page placement. Sure, this may be a ploy by Google AdWords to get you to pay more. But I find this information helpful because it gives me an idea on how much I need to bid if my ad is not displaying on the first page of results.

Also, I’ve been able to utilize this information to lower my bids as well. For one keyword, my “estimated first page bid” was $1.25 and I was bidding $2.50. So, I lowered my bid slightly because I would prefer to keep my ads in the 3-5 position and stay on the first page of results, and pay less per click.

These new elements for your keyword report can be very powerful if you harness them properly. Successful PPC is all about measurement and performance visibility. Say what you will about Google AdWords, they really are trying to give advertisers the tools to make each PPC campaign successful. Now go use them!