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Use “See Search Terms” to Improve Your Quality Score

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Posted on by Mike Poserina in Google AdWords

Google to Announce Change to Their Trademark Advertising Policy

It is expect that on May 18, 2009 Google will announce a new change in how they approve/disapprove ads which use a trademark name.

Effective June 15, 2009:

  • Ads which use the term in a descriptive or generic way, and not in reference to the trademark owner or the goods or services corresponding to the trademark term.
  • Ads which use the trademark in a nominative manner to refer to the trademark or its owner, specifically:
    • Resale of the trademarked goods or services: The advertiser”s site must sell (or clearly facilitate the sale of) the goods or services corresponding to a trademark term. The landing page of the ad must clearly demonstrate that a user is able to purchase the goods or services corresponding to a trademark from the advertiser.
    • Sale of components, replacement parts or compatible products corresponding to a trademark: The advertiser’s site must sell (or clearly facilitate the sale of) the components, replacement parts or compatible products relating to the goods or services of the trademark. The advertiser’s landing page must clearly demonstrate that a user is able to purchase the components, parts or compatible products corresponding to the trademark term from the advertiser.
    • Informational sites: The primary purpose of the advertiser’s site must be to provide non-competitive and informative details about the goods or services corresponding to the trademark term. Additionally, the advertiser may not sell or facilitate the sale of the goods or services of a competitor of the trademark owner.

If you reread these criteria they will slowly make sense.  If examples make it easier to understand, here are some “Cans” and “Cannots”

You can now say:

  • “We Sell Sony, Samsung, LG, & Westinghouse LCD TV’s” which links to a general landing page.
  • “Newest model Sony LCD TVs on Sale” which links to a Sony LCD TV landing page.
  • “Find All Replacement Parts for Sony LCD TV’s” which links to a Sony LCD TV parts landing page.
  • “See which TV (Sony or LG) received the highest quality rating” which links to a purely informative landing page which does not facilitate the sale of one product or another.

You still cannot say:

  • “Looking for low cost Sony LCD TV’s?” which links to a LG TV landing page.
  • “LG LCD TV’s are the same Quality of Sony’s at half the price!” which links to a LG TV landing page
  • “See which TV (Sony or LG) received the highest quality rating” which links to a landing page which pushes the sale of the better performing product.

‘If you have ads in your account which were previously disapproved for trademark policy and that comply with the aforementioned criteria, you may submit those ads for re-review after May 18 and eligible ads may begin showing in the US starting June 15.’ – Google

By now, most of you have seen and hopefully used the “See Search Terms” button in your Google AdGroups to better refine your broad and phrase match keywords.

By selecting the “See Search Terms” button, you can see which keyword phrases related to your broad or phrase match keywords triggered your ad to show. It’s a great tool for finding negative keywords and discovering new profitable keyword phrases to bid on.

Another important use of this tool is to help weed out high-impression, low-click keywords that are bringing down your keyword’s, AdGroup’s and account’s CTR – all of which hurt your Quality Score.

For example, let’s say you sell toy drums and you’re bidding on the broad match term toy drumsticks. Google aggressively tries to help us out by showing our ads for phrases they think are similar to our keywords. In looking through your Search Terms listing for that term, you see rubber chicken has amassed 250 impressions, but 0 clicks.

Of course no one clicked on your ad since a searcher could tell immediately that you only sell musical drum related products. On the other hand, Google knows that chickens have drumsticks and that a rubber chicken is a toy, so they believe that phrase should trigger your ad.

Now you might think since no one is clicking on your ad, or ever will, that no costs will be incurred so no damage is done. You’d be wrong, though, as your CTR is definitely being negatively impacted by this phrase. Even though it appears that rubber chicken will never cost you any money in clicks, its impact on your Quality Score might cost you money in higher CPCs for other words in your AdGroup or account, and you’ll still want to add it to your negative keyword list to ultimately improve your Quality Score.

For Example, ( is our Public Business Website URL.Â
If our ad says:

Engine Ready, Inc.
Official Website of Engine Ready.
Leaders in PPC Marketing.

…there will be no Google Badge.  The Display URL must to receive it.

That being said, it is very important to test variations of your ad creative to see which version of your URL receives the highest CTR.  If this is not a strategy which you have tested before, the performance difference you will see may come as a shock to you. Unfortunately, there is no data to support which variation will perform better for you; it has to be tested. The easiest way to test this strategy is to A/B Test your best performing ad:  Duplicate it and add/remove ‘www’ from the display URL.

Once you figure out which variation of the Display URL appeals to your visitors more (higher CTR), all ads should be updated and the Public Business URL should be changed in order to fully utilize the Google Badge functionality.

In a less obvious example, let’s say the report also shows, similar to rubber chicken, that plastic toy drumsticks have generated 250 impressions and 0 clicks. Whether you sell plastic toy drumsticks, or not, you need to take action. If you don’t sell them, then take the same action as in the rubber chicken example above.

If you do sell plastic toy drumsticks, then it’s likely that your ad is not doing a very good job. And it’s very possible that you could be paying a higher CPC for other keywords in this AdGroup because of that term’s detrimental impact on your Quality Score. So, in this AdGroup, add plastic toy drumsticks as a negative keyword, and create a new AdGroup for this phrase with an ad designed just forplastic toy drumsticks. Then add that keyword into this AdGroup.

By making these moves, you’ll be on your way to improving your Quality Score in the 1st mentioned AdGroup, your overall account, hopefully paying lower CPCs, and increasing your chances of selling plastic toy drumsticks.

As a plus to this, the Google Checkout Badge definitely gives you a competitive edge over your competitors.  But have you ever had problems getting the badge to be placed on your ads? Do you have 2 creatives in an Ad Group but only 1 has the badge?

Working on an agency side, there are many roles which you may not assume. One of those roles which we have yet to encounter is signing up for the Google Badge, integration of the technology into the shopping cart, and processing orders.  As a SEM agency, these duties typically are the responsibility of the client.

One of the main set up requirements is establishing a ‘Public Business Website URL’: The public business website URL you specify for Google Checkout is displayed to buyers so they can locate your business online.

This URL is important as it is bound to the display URL of all Ads in the account.