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Quality Score Improvements

Posted on by Mike Poserina in Google AdWords

Earlier this month Google implemented changes to the mysterious “Quality Score”. To briefly summarize the changes, Google states that they have incorporated three main improvements:

1)    Quality Score is now more accurate because it is calculated at the
time of each search query.

Real time evaluation is an excellent way to keep PPC ads that are highly relevant in top positions. For us advertisers this means that quality is more important than ever. This improvement will help those whose who are following the quality rules, but hurt those who already have a low quality score.

2)    Keywords are no longer marked “inactive for search” — all keywords
are active because they are evaluated for every relevant query.

Google is giving a chance to those low performing keywords. You may have a keyword that is has not been clicked on in a month because it is irrelevant, now instead of blocking that keyword, Google will still allow your ad to run, and wait until someone’s search is relevant to your product or service.

3) “First page bid estimates” replace “minimum bids” in your account —
providing a more actionable and useful metric to advertisers.

It is pretty obvious that ads that show on the first page receive more traffic, and this is a convenient function for us advertisers who want to know how much it costs to be on the first page.


One other change that I have found particularly nice is the addition of the numerical rating system for quality score. Instead of ranking a keyword as “ok” Google now gives a 6/10 rating which is easy understand. They also include a “Details and recommendations” that gives us hints to what we are doing wrong.


As Google continues to make changes in Adwords, it is good to remember that the basic measurements of quality score remain the same. No matter how quickly quality score is calculated, or how fancy the Analysis graphic becomes, don’t forget your quality score is still based on the following:

  • Keyword CTR
  • Ad text relevance
  • Historical keyword performance
  • Landing pages
  • Website Relevancy

Related with Google’s paid search, we interviewed Marc Poirier, CMO of Acquisio who will be moderating the panel on “Tools of the Trade for Paid Search”. See what he had to say about top features of paid bid management tools and what feels still needs to be done manually.

1)      Tell us about how you got into paid search / Acquisio?

“I’ve been involved with Internet Marketing since 1997. I got into paid search specifically as a natural complement to SEO work I was doing for customers in 2003. That was the beginning of the Acquisio adventure, we were an agency at the time.”

2)      Before we get talking about TOOLS, what do you feel still needs to be done manually when managing paid search accounts?

“Well, I guess keyword research requires tools for insights and inspiration but it remains very much an activity that requires human brains! Same thing goes for copy writing and for landing page design, and of course test design requires a little thinking. So does KPI setting. Strategy is something very human as well, robots would need way too many inputs to replace a brain :-)”

3)      In your opinion what are the top 3 FREE tools for PPC and favorite feature(s)?

  • “Spyfu’s historical data is so useful when trying to understand what happened before you came into the picture
  • Wordstream’s Free Keyword Tool for keyword research, the sheer volume of suggestions that come out of it is unreal.
  • Google Insights for Search is awesome if you need insights into seasonality or geographic differences”

4)      For those who are not afraid to put some money toward their tools, What are the top 3 subscription PPC tools for and what features set them apart?

“1. I like Acquisio because it’s my baby 🙂

  1. Then I think AdGooroo and Spyfu have unbelievable data to help shape strategy
  2. Finally I really like what BoostCTR are doing to help squeeze better results from existing ads”

5)      What is most important tool and why?  Keyword Research, Bid Management, Analytics or LP testing software?

“That depends on what your needs are. Some advertisers don’t really need a lot of keyword research, others can only generate margin by exploring and expanding. Bid management may have no impact or even negative impacts in the wrong hands. Analytics are only as good as the person who deployed the tags and configured the platform, and landing page testing software won’t help you if you have no volume coming through. All these tools play a key role, I would say the most important tool is experience and intelligence.”

6)      Where do you feel paid search going?  What is the next trend, platform or technology that will have the biggest impact in 2012+?

“I think most PPC management companies have already gone beyond paid search and into social ads and display ads – both are biddable media, and both are gaining in popularity as they can support performance marketing efforts quite well. Paid search alone as a core agency discipline is on its last leg, those who are ignoring everything else that is going on are missing a significant opportunity and their competitors are eating their lunches.

In 2012 I would expect Promoted Tweets to become widely available.”

Thanks for your time Marc, See you in NYC at SES show!

Marc Poirier is a professional Internet Marketer with more than a decade experience in the Search industry. He is Co-Founder and VP Marketing of Acquisio where he leads all sales and marketing activities. He will be presenting on “Tools of the Trade for Paid Search” at the upcoming SES NY conference. Jamie Smith is CEO of Engine Ready, a San Diego based PPC management and SEM agency.  A Google certified partner providing profit based PPC optimization services utilizing proprietary research and reporting software.  He will be speaking at SES NY on the topic of transitioning from “Search to Social” in the paid search vertical.