The Power of Google Ads Quality Score and Being Relevant

The Power of Google Ads Quality Score and Being Relevant

Bird's Eye Views

A newsletter dedicated to getting your business found on Google

Google Ads Quality Score measures your relevance on a one to ten scale. Ignoring it can be a costly mistake. Andrew, one of my customers learned that the hard way.

Google Ads Quality Score has many inputs

More Money but No Relevance

The first time Andrew called me; he was frustrated with his Google Ads Account. There were few clicks, and no sales. Every time he did a search, he found his ad near the bottom of the Google listings.

Andrew claimed he had raised his click bid to from $2 to $5, but never got near the top of the listings. Then his real frustration came out. “I don’t know what’s wrong with Google, I’m offering $5 bucks a click and my competitor (a friend of Andrew’s) is only offering $3 a click.” Exacerbated, he added, “He’s always at the top of the page, and I’m at the bottom. I’m willing to pay more!”

By now I was knowingly nodding my head; Andrew had forgotten about Relevancy—one of the most important components of Google Ads.

The Real Value of Relevance

Relevance is the usefulness of your ad relative to the user’s search. Andrew’s ad was very general, while his competitor’s ad mentioned the product users were searching for and provided key differentiating features and a call to action.

When it comes to relevance, remember that Google only gets paid when your ad is clicked. So, if 100 people see your ad but no one clicks, Google won’t make a cent.

Simply put, the competitor’s ad was more relevant than Andrew’s ad, so Google believed it would get more clicks if it were higher in the listings. More relevant ads will often find themselves above higher paying competitive ads because more clicks mean more money for Google.

Google Ads Quality Score

To help guide us toward more relevant ads, Google provides us with a ‘Quality Score’ for each of our keywords. The Quality Score is Google’s opinion on how well your keyword matches what’s in your ad and what’s on your landing page. You’re given a one to ten rating, 1 meaning poor quality and 10 meaning very high quality.

Google Ads Quality Score is a ranking from one to ten

Andrew had a Quality Score of two, poor. By working on his quality score components Andrew’s reached scores between 7 and 10, reduced his cost per click 20%, rose to higher ad listing positions, and received a lot more sales.

Quality Score has three components:

  1. Ad Relevance—How closely the keyword relates to your advertisement.
  2. Landing Page Experience—How useful your landing page is relative to the keyword.
  3. Expected CTR (Click Through Rate)—How likely users are to click on your ad when shown with the keyword.

Google Ads Quality Score in your account

All three components, especially ‘Expected CTR,’ use historical data. This means that as your clicks increase, your quality score will likely begin to improve too.

How to Keep Ads Relevant to Your Keywords

The best way to maintain relevance is to keep your keywords grouped by specific themes. If you have a group of keywords that have a common theme, put them together in an Ad Group. For example, a home renovation company might group keywords by type of renovation: basement, kitchen, bathroom, etc. All the basement related keywords go in basement, kitchen related keywords go in kitchen, etc.

All the ads for the basement ad group will contain the word ‘basement,’ kitchen ad group ads will contain the word ‘kitchen,’ etc.

By using the ad group name in the ad, the ad becomes relevant to user searches.

Landing Pages

Each ad group sends the user to pages related to the keyword in the ad group. The basements ad group goes to a basement landing page, kitchens to a kitchens page, etc.

Expected CTR

This is the trickiest Quality Score component because it relies heavily on how many clicks your ad is getting. It uses Click History.

Troubleshooting A Low Quality Score

If your quality score is below five, it’s a good idea to look deeper at relevance.  Each Quality Score component consists of three ratings: Below Average, Average, and Above Average. A low quality score probably means one or two of these components is ‘Below Average.’

Google Ads Quality Score Actions to takeHere’s how to improve a below average rating in each component:

Ad Relevance: Make sure the keyword is in the first or second headline of the ad.

Landing Page Experience: See how well the promise made in the ad is fulfilled on the landing page.

Expected CTR: This is the toughest one because Google is pretty vague on what it means. It’s been my experience that if I can get the Landing Page Experience and Ad Relevance to Average or Above Average, the Expected CTR slowly follows.

Summary

If your keywords are grouped by theme, and you use the theme name in your ads, you will increase your ad relevance. Check your landing page for the keyword or variations of it. These simple tactics will help keep your ads relevant and higher in the listings.

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How to Choose Your Google Ads Bidding

How to Choose Your Google Ads Bidding

Bird's Eye Views

A newsletter dedicated to getting your business found on Google

Google Ads bidding

When it comes to Google Ads bidding, there are a lot of decisions to make. The first one is whether to manage your account manually or choose from a multitude of automated bidding options.

While automated bidding is designed to make your life easier, it’s important to select the option that will work best for you—that is, the one that will best meet your goals and objectives.

The chart below provides a summary how to direct your bidding according to your business goal:

Business Goal

Conversions

(Users buy, complete form, etc.)

Clicks (Traffic)

(Bring people to your site)

Impressions (Visibility)

(Show Your ads, but traffic & conversions are secondary)

Bid Strategy

Smart Bidding

CPC Bidding

Impression Bidding

Bidding Types

Target CPA (A)

Average pay for conversion

Manual CPC

Target Search Page Location (A)

Target ROAS (A)

Maximize Clicks (A)

Target Outranking Share (A)

Maximize Conversions (A)

 

CPM (A)

ECPC (A)

 

VCPM (A)

(A) Identifies an automated bidding type

I have tried all these, and my favourite by far is the manual option (Manual Cost Per Click). Although time consuming, it gives you full control over your bidding and it’s easy to make changes without major disruptions. There’s more about manual bidding further down this post under ‘CPC Bidding’

Now let’s have a look at the automated options.

Google Ads Automated Bidding

With automated bidding, you don’t have to set your individual keyword or ad group bids. But you also surrender various degrees of control in terms of how much you bid, at what times, and even how much you spend. That said, when done properly, this option works well for most.

How Automated Bidding Works

It’s said that the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour. That’s the premise that drives automated bidding. Google Ads uses ‘Machine Learning’ to track statistical models of past performance to predict future performance, and automates your bids based on this data. For example, users from some locations using mobile devices might be more likely to click on ads at a certain time of day.

Google uses something called auction time signals to predict the likelihood of someone clicking your ad. Machine Learning allows Google to assimilate a lot of variables very quickly to determine when you should bid high, low or not at all. These variables include:

  • Device
  • Location
  • Time of Day
  • Language
  • Operating System
  • Remarketing lists

Why I don’t use automated bidding all the time

Automated bidding relies on historical performance. If you don’t have any history (as with a new account) it probably won’t work very well at first. It can take some time for Machine Learning to gather enough data to perform well.

Define Your Objectives

For automated bidding to work well for you, you need to know what you want it to do. What is most important? Conversions? Increased website traffic? Impressions?

You need to define your objectives in specific terms. For example:

  • I want X sales lead per month and my budget is Y
  • My budget is A and I need 25 sales
  • I want 10,000 people to see my message each week
  • I want an ROI of 200%

The key here is to choose which objective is most important for your business. That’s right, you can only select one. And while this is a struggle for many business owners, the automated bidding process won’t work with more than one objective.

Smart Bidding Strategy

This is Google’s name for a group of bidding types that encourage users to take an action on a website. For example:

  • Making a purchase
  • Completing a form
  • Sending an email (click email link)
  • Clicking on a phone number
  • Signing up for an email list

Conversion Tracking required

To make any bidding work, you will need to have Google Ads ‘Conversion Tracking’ established. To set up conversion tracking, follow these instructions: https://birdseyemarketing.com/2019/04/google-ads-conversion-tracking/.

Choosing your automated bidding type

Here’s a summary of the different bidding types available:

Smart Bidding Strategies – When You Users to Take Action

Bidding Type

Target CPA

(Cost per Acquisition)

Target ROAS

(Return on Ad Spend)

Maximize Conversions

ECPC

Description

Achieve your desired cost per acquisition

Achieve your desired return on ad spend

Spend your budget to gain as many conversions as possible.

Automatically adjusts manual bids based on likelihood of user clicking

Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition)

This bidding type tries to get as many conversions within your CPA as possible. Be careful not to set bid limits too low, because it could exclude you from auctions. It’s best to allow Google to set your bids.

Target ROAS (Return On Ad Spend)

This option automatically sets bids based on your target return on ad spend; it will try to get as many conversions as possible within that ROAS.

There are two important requirements associated with this option:

  • Your campaign must have a minimum of 15 conversions in the past 30 days; and
  • You must set values for the conversions you want.

Maximize Conversions

This option will get the most conversions within your budget as possible, and it tries to spend your entire budget. This campaign can’t be part of a shared budget.

If you have a target ROI (such as 2%), you’re best to use Target CPA or Target ROAS.

ECPC

This option works with manual bidding to raise or lower your bids for clicks that seem ‘likely’ to convert.

Bids are constrained by your max CPC (CPA bidding is not constrained by max CPC).

CPC (Cost Per Click) Bidding Strategies — Driving traffic to your website

CPC strategies seek out ways to drive traffic to your website. You will get a lot of visitors, but not all of them will take an action.

There are two types of CPC strategies: Manual CPC and Maximize Clicks. Let’s have a look at each.

Manual CPC

You set the maximum amount you will spend for a click. There are tools available to help with this, including:

  • Bid simulator – Explores ‘what if’ scenarios (for example: how many more impressions or clicks can you expect by setting your bid ten cents higher)
  • Keyword Planner – Estimates traffic and bids
  • First Page Bid Estimates – Determines what you need to bid to make first page

Maximize Clicks

This is a good bid type for those who consistently spend their daily budget. Maximize clicks will take a more discerning approach using auction time signals to move bids up or down based on the likelihood of the user clicking your ad. This is also a good bid type for those who don’t have time to monitor their bids and are willing to let Google update automatically.

DO NOT USE MAXIMIZE CLICKS WHEN:

  • You need to maintain a specific position or cost per conversion, or
  • You can’t set individual bids.

Impression Bidding – Focusing on Your Message.

Impression Bidding types are for businesses that want to reach a lot people quickly. They are most beneficial on Google’s Display Network where image ads do very well.

 

Target Search Page Location

Target outranking Share

Cost per thousand impressions (CPM)

Cost per thousand Viewable Impressions (M)

Gets ads to top of page

Choose a domain you want to outrank

YouTube & Display

Pay per 1,000 impressions

Awareness, not necessarily click traffic.

Summary: When To use Automated Bidding

In summary, there are three things you need to determine before diving into automated bidding:

  1. Decide which advertising goal is most important to you: Action, Traffic, or Visibility.
  2. Track your advertising performance by setting up conversion tracking.
  3. Determine how much time you can dedicate to Google Ads. If you have the time, start with manual bidding to build up historical performance statistics before trying automated bidding.

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How to Optimize Your Google Ads Account: Follow the Money

How to Optimize Your Google Ads Account: Follow the Money

Bird's Eye Views

A newsletter dedicated to getting your business found on Google

Follow the money to optimize Google Ads AccountThere’s a famous line in the movie ‘All the President’s Men’ where Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook) tells the reporter (Robert Redford) ‘to follow the money’ to find the answer. I use this same line anytime a Google Ads tutoring customer asks me how to optimize their Google Ads account without getting overwhelmed by the data.

Of course, my customers aren’t trying to uncover a government conspiracy, but sifting through the mountains of data Google Ads gives you to try to figure what’s working and what isn’t can be daunting. By advising them to follow the money, I’m telling them to follow their costs, starting with the highest ones.

Follow the money: Costs and conversions

To identify your highest cost Google Ads’ campaigns, sort your campaigns by the cost column, then double click the top of the cost column to have Google Ads sort from highest to lowest cost.

Next, look at the number of conversions in each campaign. If you have high costs with few to no conversions, you have a problem worth investigating. To give more context, I’ll often look at the cost per conversion (total cost / number of conversions) column as well. If that dollar value is within an acceptable range, there might not be an issue at all.

When there are no conversions or the cost per conversion is too high

This is where you need to begin troubleshooting to determine the root cause of the high cost versus low/no conversions.

It’s time to go into the campaign’s ad groups. To do this, click into the ad groups and do the same thing we just did in the Google Ads’ campaigns. Sort ad groups from highest to lowest cost, and look at the number of conversions and cost per conversion.

Click on the high cost and low conversion (or unacceptably high cost per conversion) ad group and look at the keywords. Find the high cost, low (or no) conversion keywords. Try to determine why this keyword isn’t converting. Is it too general? Is it a single keyword instead o a group or phrase? Single keywords draw poor quality traffic. Check the search terms report to see what precise terms are triggering your ads to show. If you see terms you don’t want your ads showing for, move those to ‘negative keywords.’

While cost and conversions are a good start for Google Ads novices, there are other metrics mixes you can use to investigate optimization, including impressions and impression shares, clicks and CPC, and many more. 

For beginners, Google Ads optimization is easier when we pair down the data to a couple of metrics and then follow those through. The problems start to show, especially when you follow the money.

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Segmented Google Analytics Audiences: Your Pandora’s Box to Remarketing

Segmented Google Analytics Audiences: Your Pandora’s Box to Remarketing

Bird's Eye Views

A newsletter dedicated to getting your business found on Google

What are your customers doing on your website the first time they visit? Are they looking at specific pages? Putting items into a cart, but not following through with the purchase? Maybe they’re reading your Contact page, but not getting in touch.

That’s ok. Most website visitors don’t become customers right out of the ‘Pandora’s Box,’ so to speak. To convert their interest into a sale, they will need to return to your site.

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Getting Started with Google Remarketing Audiences

Getting Started with Google Remarketing Audiences

Buyers rarely make a purchase the first time they visit a website, so getting them to return to yours is crucial to making the sale. Remarketing is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to do this.

To get started with your remarketing campaign , you will need:

  • Google Analytics, to identify who will see your ads; and
  • A Google AdWords account.

Some Rules / Caveats of Google Remarketing (Check these Before you Start)

  • Google requires an audience of at least 100 users over a 30-day period.
  • Your Google Analytics and Google AdWords accounts must be linked together so Analytics can pass the audience members to AdWords.

Now, let’s begin by setting up your first Google Analytics remarketing audience.

Google Analytics Remarketing Audience Setup

By default, Google will display your audience to be ‘all users’ who visit your website. However, you do not have to enable this audience.

All Users Audience

  1. Log into your Google Analytics account.
  2. On the ‘Home’ page, follow the left navigation panel to the bottom and select ‘Admin’ (it will have a gear wheel icon next to it).
  3. In the middle column (Property), select ‘Audience Definitions.’
  4. From the Audience Definition drop down, select ‘Audiences.’
  5. Create your first audience’ screen will open. By default, Google will create your first audience and name it ‘All Users.’ It’s an audience that captures every user that lands on any page of your website.
  6. Open the dropdown menu under ‘Audience Destinations.’ If your Google AdWords account is linked to your Google Analytics account, you will see your AdWords account listed. Select it, and click ‘Enable.’

To ensure your audience was successfully created, select ‘Audience’ on the Admin main page.

Now you’re ready to set up your remarketing campaign in your Google AdWords account.