How To Increase Adwords Quality Score From 5.56 To 7.95 In 90 Days [Case Study]

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Have you tried everything to increase your Quality Score only to find that it just won’t budge?

Are you stuck with the same average Quality Scores of 5 and 6?

How would you like your Quality Score to look like this in the next 90 days?

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In this article I’m going to be showing you the exact strategy that allowed us to increase our PPC management clients Quality Score from 5.56 To 7.95.

And cut their cost per conversion by 37.5% in under 90 days.

As you probably already know Quality Score is important

Research from Wordstream showed that increasing your Quality Score can cut your CPC by as much as 50%.

They also found that by increasing your Quality Score from 5 to 10 you would decrease your cost per conversion by 80%.

Here is their analysis of several hundred million of Adwords spend.

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Our Methodology For Increasing Quality Score

From Wordstreams research we knew that click through rate (CTR) was by far the most influential factor in increasing Quality Score.

You will see from the graph below that their is a direct correlation between Quality Score and CTR.

As CTR increases so does Quality Score.

The vast majority of our strategy therefore focused on increasing CTR.

quality score vs. click through rate

We also knew from Adalysis‘s research that landing page experience is gaining weight in Googles’s Algorithm.

Their research showed that landing page experience was now 39% of the Quality Score algorithm.

So we also put emphasis on improving the clients landing page experience too.

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Before I get into the exact strategies that we used you need to do one thing:

You need to download this script which will allow you to track your Quality Score and produce a graph like the one at the one below.

This will allow you to see your progress and analyse if what you are doing is working.

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Once you have done this you need to follow these exact strategies that we used.

1. We Implemented Single Keyword Ad groups

The key to getting really high Quality Scores is to get a good match between your advert and what the use has typed into Google.

What the client and most advertisers I see do is that they put lots of different keywords in an ad group.

The problem with this?

Its impossible to write an advert that matches each of the keywords exactly because several keywords share an advert.

The solution:

We put all of the clients 3945 keywords in their own single keyword ad group.

So each ad group looked like this with one keyword (in the three match types) and two adverts.

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We then wrote adverts that contained the exact keywords within the ad group using this template:

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So when users searched for “3D Studio Max Training” they saw this advert:

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You will see that it contains the keyword “3D Studio Max Training” in the headline and also in the display URL.

The reason this advert performed so well is because it would always match what the user was searching for.

Higher relevancy = higher CTR = higher Quality Score

In the account we found that by implementing single keywords ad groups we:

  • Increases in CTR by 14%
  • Decrease in cost per conversion of 21%

Just put your  keywords in their own ad groups and then write ads using the template above and you will be well on your way to achieving higher quality scores.

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2. We Implemented a Split Testing Strategy

One of the key problems I see people making when they are struggling to increase the Quality Score is not split testing adverts.

Or if they were split testing they were testing the wrong things… I’ll come into this in a moment.

We knew if we wanted to get high Quality Scores then we needed a high CTR which meant split testing a lot.

In fact we tested 24 different ad copies before we managed to achieve a Quality Sore of 7.95.

A study by wordstream showed that on average you will need to split test 20 times before your get an advert with 3X the average CTR.

This is what you are going to need if you want to start constantly achieving quality Scores of 7 and 8.

Above Average CTR

If you want to start split testing effectively you are going to need 2 things:

  1. A way to accurately track your split tests.
  2. A solid split testing strategy.

Tracking your split tests

To split test affectingly you must have some sort of software or script to tack when your test are completed.

This is especially important on larger accounts with thousands of adverts where it is almost impossible to keep track of your tests manually.

To keep track of our tests we used this free script.

It allowed me to automatically track when adverts had reached 95% confidence rating and were ready for a new split test.

It also sent me an email every time this happened so I could go into the account and create a new advert straight away.

Split testing strategy

When it comes to split testing we used a simple but effective strategy.

Start wide and then go narrow….let me explain what I mean.

So at first we made big changes to the adverts.

Big changes to the ads = Big changes to the performance.

For example here is our first split test. As you can see we completely changed to USP / Offer

Ad copy 1. (This focused on the advertisers strong customer satisfaction)

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Ad copy 2. (This focused on the free 18 month class retake USP)

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We then went on to test around 6 different ad copies with different USPs to see which one performed the best.

Once we narrowed down which offers worked the best we then started to refine the ads further by testing things such as:

  • Displaying trademarks within the ad copy
  • Utilising seasonal headlines
  • Capitalizing the first letter of every word
  • Using different punctuation
  • Using localized keywords
  • Using dynamic keyword insertion
  • Using synonyms of words: Eg change low cost to cheap, or sale to discount for example.

By testing these smaller points we did not get the big increases in performance as we did with the the large changes.

But we did get small incremental increases in CTR that all added up.

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3. We Wrote Compelling Ads

For a high CTR your ads need to be relevant and compelling.

We already had relevancy covered because we were using single keywords ad groups and were placing the keywords within the headline of the adverts.

We then turned to this formula devised by MECLABS that is designed to maximised conversions (in our case a click)

(I know it looks complicated…don’t worry I’ll explain exactly how to apply it)

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Image source: Search Engine Watch 

The formula shows that there are 4 elements that make up a conversion.

The motivation of the user, the clarity of the value of the proposition, the incentive to take action the friction of taking action.

Here is an example of how  suggests that this might be applied to an Adwords advert

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Image source: Search Engine Watch 

 

Our aim was to make to include the 4 elements within the ad copy to improve the likelihood of a click (conversion).

Here is how we applied this formula to the clients adverts.

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We included the clients value prop (18 months free retake which is the longest on the market) in the headline.

We also used this to remove the friction that somebody might not want to spend several hundred pounds on a training course and not pass.

We included the word ‘certification’ to add credibility and included “widely recognised” as an intensive along with the free retake.

This helped us increase CTR from 3.42% to 4.01% simply by writing more compelling ad copy.

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4. We Used The Full Range of Ad Extensions

Using the full range of ad extensions is an easy way to significantly increase your CTR and Quality Score.

We made sure that the client had the 6 main ad extensions implemented that effect CTR the most.

With it being a larger account we used this script that helped us find ad groups and campaigns with extensions missing.

ad-extensions

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Here are the expected CTR gains your can expect from adding different ad extensions.

By implementing all of these extensions you should increase your CTR by 67% on average.

To learn how to implement ad extensions read this article  by Sam Owen from PPC Hero.

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5. We Focused on Commercial Intent Keywords

Choosing the right types of keyword is  key to getting a high Quality Scores.

Heck choosing the right types keywords are fundamental to Adwords success.

Wordstream found that the highest performing accounts focused on three type of keywords:

  • High commercial intent keywords (product terms and substitute product terms)
  • Branded keywords
  • Local terms

They also found that they avoided avoided informational keywords.

This diagram explains the different level of commercial intent.

keyword-research-target-model

As mentioned above Informational keywords should generally be avoided within your campaigns.

The intention of these searchers is to find out information as opposed to purchasing from you.

Examples of these are ‘’How do I increase my quality score?’’ or “what is Quality Score?”

Based on this we did the following:

  • We added a branded campaign to bid on our clients branded terms such as “academy class”
  • We went through their campaigns and removed all of the informational based keywords provided that they were not profitable.

The key point to take away from this is to focus to branded, commercial and local keywords.

Remove any informational keywords from your own campaigns.

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6. We Optimised for mobile devices

Its no secret that over 50% of searches now come from mobile devices so its fundamental that you optimise your ads for mobile too.

This eye tracking study by Bing shows how important it is to have a full set of ad extensions on mobile devices.

Ads with multiple ad extensions have a 15-30% higher click through rate than ads that just have sitelink extensions.

So we ensured that we had the full set of mobile optimised ad extensions in place.

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To show multiple sitselinks on mobile devices you need the limit their length to just 12-15 characters.

By using these shorter sitelinks on mobile devices we have found that this can increase click though rate by as much as 15%.

Here is a good example of two advertisers using mobile sitelinks effectively

You will however still want to have 25 character long sitelinks for desktop devices.

So create a seperate set of stitelinks for mobile and use the mobile preference setting to only show them on mobile devices.

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7. We Improved Load Speed

One of the things that our client was seeing a lot of was “landing page experience below average”

To track if we were improving it we used this script which i strongly suggest that you implement that gives you this dashboard in Google Sheets.

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You will see the pie chart in the top left had corner shows you how many ads have below average landing page experience.

There are 4 areas that Google states make up their algorithm:

  1. Relevant and original content (not important)
  2. Transparency (not important)
  3. Ease of navigation (not important)
  4. Website speed (very important)

However we and other agencies have found from our tests that only website speed is important.

In fact when Daniel Gilbert tested different keyword densities and even sending people to irrelevant pages this made no difference to Quality Score.

(However i strongly suggest you send people to relevant pages as this helps increase conversion rates, but it doesn’t effect Quality Score)

As we knew website load speed makes the biggest impact of Quality Score we ran the clients website through this free tool from Google that allows you to test your page speed.

It then gave use several suggestions on what we should change to improve your page speed.

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In this case we spoke to the clients web development team and had them implement Googles suggestions to improve the load speed.

However if you don’t have your own web developer there are several freelance web developers on sites such as Upwork and Peopleperhour.

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Conclusion

And there you have it

If you carefully follow the strategies that I have outlined within this guide you will be well on your way to achieving high quality scores and significantally reducing your cost per conversion.

In simple terms the number one factor that you need to focus on to improve your Quality Score is CTR.

So if you do nothing else, work on your ad relevancy and ensure that you have a full set of ad extensions.

If you have any questions please feel free to comment with them below and I will do my best to answer them.

wesley parker
About wesley parker

Wesley is Founder and CEO at Clicteq. He currently manages a £6 Mil Adwords portfolio across a range of different sectors. He regulally features in leading search publications such as Econsultancy, Campaign Magazine and Search Engine Land. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Linkedin

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