Since I’ve been providing professional AdWords consulting, which has been since 2004, I’ve worked with advertisers that have a wide range of experience. AdWords has evolved considerably since it was first introduced back in October of 2000. In this time, perhaps the most significant change has been the introduction of the quality score. Actually, there are several quality scores related to your account, but the only one you can actually see is the one associated with your keywords. Nevertheless, they are all interrelated.
The quality score is so significant that an update to the quality score algorithm can literally put a multi-million dollar businesses out-of-business overnight! If you want to master AdWords, you must pay attention to and gain an appreciation for quality scores. Hal Varian, Google’s Chief Economist, has an excellent YouTube video that puts quality score in perspective.
My goal in writing this post is not to try and teach you the finer details of the quality score, but to give you an appreciation for some of its ramifications when you consider making changes to your AdWords account or your website. Although I do offer another post where I go into more depth on the AdWords quality score. My objective is to highlight these scenarios which I often see.
- A history of poor quality score that needs to be improved
- A history of good quality scores, but poor campaign performance
Most of my prospects and clients come to me because they believe their AdWords account can be improved, but they just don’t know what to or where to start, much less what to expect if they do make a change.
Over the years, I have gained a pretty good understanding of how AdWords works and what Google refers to as their best practices. Therefore, when I work with clients, I will be implementing these best practices in a way that best fits the goals of the client. Some clients want short-term improvements either because they don’t have the time, patience, budget or long-term commitment, and others want to get right with the program and do whatever it takes to get where they want to be, as quickly as possible. They see it as an investment in their business and understand that there could be some short-term setbacks if we are to achieve long-term gains. This is the essence of what this post is all about.
One of the biggest factors in being successful with AdWords, is to understand the importance Google places on relevance. I talk about relevance in more detail in my article titled A chain of success. The other factor is history or longevity. How long has a particular element of your account history been around and how has it performed over time? This is where I make the connection between Google and an elephant, because an elephant never forgets and neither does Google!
In literally the blink of an eye, Google calculates the instantaneous quality score every time your ad is displayed. And some of those 100+ elements that go into the quality score calculation are things like; how long has your domain been in existence, how long has your AdWords account been in existence, how long has this campaign, ad group, ad copy, keyword been in existence and how have they performed?
Google likes longevity and rewards you for it. On the other hand, if you have a history of poor quality scores, it is like a whole you eventually must crawl out of. You don’t get any do-overs! Creating a new ad group, campaign, even a new account will not release you from the clutches of Google’s memory banks. Think of quality score like your grade point average. That poor grade never goes away, it can only be reduced in significance by lots of better grades.
Now I’ll try and tie all of this together. If you have an AdWords account with several months or even years of relatively poor quality score history, you are at a distinct disadvantage over another advertiser with a good history. On the other hand, if you have a solid history of good quality scores and we need to redesign your account, there could be short-term (weeks) setbacks in terms of quality scores and CPCs, while the new campaign builds its own history. If you change the domain name or make significant changes to your website, even if they conform better to Google’s best practices, it will take time to reap the benefits. The Google bot that gathers data for the quality score may not come around for several weeks or even months, and there is no way you (or me) can make that happen any faster.
In summary, I want you to be aware of just how important relevance and history play in the process of getting your AdWords account to perform to its full potential and what you can expect when we begin making changes to your account.