Online merchants running small enterprises are doubtless familiar with the challenges of getting a good return on their investment (ROI) from the advertisement platform Google Ads. There are usually two primary challenges to overcome. The first is direct competition from other online merchants vying for the same keywords. The second is optimizing for Google’s Quality Score metric, which is notoriously hard to do.

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Google Ads Optimization and Why it Matters

All the same, Google Ads is an incredible resource for ecommerce merchants. The good news is that it provides easy access to a broad customer base, potential for high conversion rates, and a nice boost to your top line. However, the bad news is that it’s hyper competitive. The big fish usually eat the little ones because they have more money to spend.

Despite the bad news, though, Google Ads optimization tactics can still produce positive results on a budget. How? It starts by understanding the rationale behind Google’s sorting mechanisms.

Google parses the competition for ad placement using two functional metrics: keyword bid price and quality score. Optimizing for keyword bid price is relatively straightforward. However, it can quickly become expensive with a generalist’s approach. That’s because the cost of a bid is reducible with granular segmentation of search data. However, this should absolutely be part of your strategy already.

In general, though, merchants often spend too much time (and money) focusing on keyword bid price. Then they wonder why they are not ranking for keyword groupings despite raising their bid amount. The reason likely has to do with a lower-than-desirable Google Ads Quality Score.

What Is a Quality Score in Google Ads?

First of all, let’s clarify what a quality score actually is. A quality score is a composite score that estimates an e-merchant’s overall performance in Ad Auctions. Basically, Google uses this score to determine the overall relevance your Google ads provide to users.

How Does Google Determine a Google Ads Quality Score?

There are several factors that go into determining a Google Ads Quality Score, including:

  • Expected click-through rate (CTR)
  • Ad or keyword relevance
  • The overall quality of a landing page
  • Previous performance

As you can see, there is a close connection between the keywords you choose and the ad copy you want to promote. Google, acting as a proxy for what consumers are looking for, takes relevance very seriously—and so should you.

Relevance is absolutely crucial to your advertisement strategy. That’s because it helps consumers understand what it is you sell. For ad copy, this means using the keywords you want to rank for in the title and text in a direct, logical way.

For example, let’s say you are an ecommerce vendor of women’s running shoes and you’re targeting the keyword “best Nike running shoes for women.” In this case, you would want to include those search terms in the description.

However, you need to do more than just map keyword groupings to ad copy, although this is an important prerequisite to getting a better click-through rate. Other factors, like the quality of the landing page and previous performance, influence performance, too.

Why a Strong Quality Score Will Help Lock Down Returns

Keep in mind that while keywords have their own individual quality scores, this is not the same thing as the overall quality score determined at the time of each separate auction.

Quality scores of the keywords themselves do not factor into the Ad Rank position determined at Google auctions. However, real-time calculations of the same overall factors that determine a quality score do. In fact, a study by WordStream found high-quality scores don’t just translate into more clicks and better ad rankings. They also directly correlate to higher conversions.

Tips for Boosting Your Quality Score

So what can you do to optimize your quality score? In other words, how can you lock down better value for better rankings? Here are some helpful strategies to help boost your quality score and therefore maximize your returns.

Eliminate Keywords with Low-Quality Scores

Slicing out all keywords with a quality score of one is an efficient way to lower costs and improve overall ranking positions.

Design Targeted Campaigns

The more well-targeted campaign will result in an improved user experience. This is why it is worth it to take the time to parse out a relevant set of keywords for each ad group.

Focus on High-Quality Content

This tip applies both to the landing page and to the ads themselves. Avoid including any distracting information, and keep ads neat and concise. Focus ads on one product and one product only. In this way, you ensure that the ad is relevant to the user.

Don’t Forget About Your Landing Pages

Neglecting your landing page will have a negative overall impact on your Google Ads Quality Score. Also, be sure to integrate relevant keywords that are specific to the ad group they pertain to. Moreover, if it is practical, shoot to include a separate landing page for each ad group.

For example, here’s a screenshot of a well-executed paid search campaign in Google Ads, where the ad copy reflects the search term and is central to the landing page as well.

First the ad copy:

quality score

And the landing page:

quality score

The Takeaway

Developing a killer strategy for a Google Ads campaign relies on a granular approach to developing effectively targeted campaigns. The most effective way to optimize for a high Google Ads Quality Score in an auction is to understand the intent of your target audience and commit to endless iteration.