Jason McDonald wrote an article explaining why he “hate, hate, hate, hate, hate[s]” AdWords Quality Score. I’ve got some complaints about the metric – the only people that don’t haven’t had to deal with Quality Score – but I think McDonald misses the mark on several points.
Instead of worrying about Quality Score, which he says that Google is doing their best to get people to focus on, he believes people should zero in on:
- Transactional keywords, or those at the bottom of the sales funnel
- Click-through rate
- Impression share
He goes on to say that conversions are your goals. You get paid based on sales, Google gets paid based on clicks. Completely correct, and there’s no question that Google has tied the Quality Score metric to clicks because it makes them more money.
In my opinion, he is in the ballpark, but in the nosebleed section of the stands. Google has actually been downplaying the importance of Quality Score, probably because not everyone can have a high Quality Score, and they don’t want to chase away potential customers. Additionally, CTR is one of the major components of determining someone’s Quality Score, and these scores also determine someone’s impression share. People who have keywords with poor scores are going to have an uphill and expensive battle to get their ads to show up.
What he is actually saying is: “Ignore Quality Score… Then focus on the things that determine Quality Score.”
Theoretically, you could “game” the system by creating ads that get tons of clicks (Free puppy with every click!), but knowing that you pay for each click, it seems better to attempt to get people to click your ads in legitimate ways. Writing better ads, even improving your landing pages (accordingly) and constantly testing new ads are all effective ways of improving Quality Score and sales.
Quality Score matters.
Without forgetting here.
And of course, the almighty here.
But… it’s a free country, do what you want.