Quality Score has been on everyone's mind recently. Everywhere I go and everyone I speak to has a story about some great keyword that he or she was buying and making a huge profit on until Google gave the user's site a poor quality score. Now the user can't afford the minimum bid. I often hear things like "It's not fair," "Why doesn't Google want to make money?" "My landing pages have good content; it doesn't make sense" and "Help Me!"
The truth is that Google is trying to take the principles that make its organic search results the most beloved in the world and apply them to its paid search results. What does this mean for you as an advertiser? It means you need to take the strategies used for SEO and apply them to your paid search. You need to stop thinking in terms of landing pages and start thinking about your landing page as one small piece of your entire domain. You also need to take the advice Google gives you and give it no reason to hurt your business with a poor quality score.
What Google tells us to do
Google preaches one thing: quality experience -- for its users and your potential customers. To that end Google has taken it upon itself to ensure that the page you deliver is of high quality. Here's what the company says it is specifically looking for:
- Relevance: This is a no-brainer: If you sell electronics and someone clicks on your ad for a "digital camera," send them to your digital camera page, not your home page.
- Originality: Okay, that's a weird one. Google specifically says "Feature unique content that can't be found on another site." Uh-oh, does this mean that my RSS feeds from related content sites aren't helping me? Probably not. If Google says they want content that can't be found on another site, then you can be sure they're searching for your content on other sites. If they find it, your quality score will suffer.
- Transparency: This covers the general best practices -- like being open and clear about the nature of your business. If you offer a downloadable product or collect personal information from your users then there's a lot to know and follow in order to stay on Google's good side.
- Navigability: Make it simple for users to find what they're looking for. Keep the sales process short and to the point. Don't use things like pop-ups, pop-unders or sliders.