Search Marketing Demystified

August 18, 2020
3 min read

Nowadays, one of the first things we do when we’re curious about something is to Google search the subject matter. We then tend to click on the first few links because we trust Google to give us the most relevant search results.

But say you’re a business, organization, or an individual; and you notice that your brand is nowhere near the top search results. Unfortunately, one of the ways that Google determines relevancy is by web traffic. So if you’re just starting out, chances are Google won’t consider you relevant because no one is going to your website.

This is where search marketing comes in. It is one of the most effective ways to get your brand noticed, by giving you the opportunity to brute force your way up onto the top results, in the form of an advertisement.

Just like every other marketing campaign, search marketing requires some setup, money, and you will face competitors. In this article, we won’t be going over how to setup, and organize your search campaign (there are many guides for that, and it’s also unique to what your goals are). Instead, we will be talking about a metric that is universal across all industries, goals, and strategies, called the “Quality Score”.  Quality Score is a metric used by some of the major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo! that influences ad rank and cost per click of ads.  It helps determine how holistic your campaign is and can help you get the most out of your budget. 

A quality score is found at a keyword level within your search marketing campaign. It ranges from 0-10, and is defined as how relevant your ad copies, keywords, and landing page are to a person who sees your ad. Another way to visualize this is by thinking how connected your keywords are with your ad copies.

Let’s assume for a second that you’re a computer repair shop. You’ve devised the ad copy below and assigning it to the “computer repair” keyword. Users will be served this ad copy when they search for “computer repair”.

Everything in the above makes perfect sense, but there is one minor problem that is often overlooked. You’re targeting “computer repair” but your ad copy mentions “laptop repair”. This “minor” disconnect between keyword and ad copy, can negatively impact your quality score.

But how does quality score work in the grand scheme of things? Let’s take a look at the chart below.

Say you have a competitor, who is bidding on the same “computer repair” keyword. You have the same max bid as your competitor ($2.00), but they have a higher quality score than you do. Because of their higher quality score; their ad has a higher chance of showing up, and appearing above your ad due to higher relevancy.

You can too boost your relevancy, but you will have to raise your bid to at least $4.00 to get a relevancy score of 24 to finally outrank your competitor.

But if you’re looking to avoid raising costs, then adjust your keywords and ad copies, and make sure they’re aligned.

It’s important to remember that Quality Score also takes your past CTR, and landing page content/quality into account. But optimizing your keyword and ad copy is the most immediate adjustment you can make to raise your score.

One way to fix the “computer repair” problem above, is to make a separate keyword for “laptop repair” and assigning it to the copy above; and create an ad copy that mentions “computer repair” for the original keyword.

 As a marketing agency, we strive to provide the best outcomes for our clients. Very recently in Q4 2019, we overhauled an Adwords campaign for a client and performed a campaign wide quality score optimization. Results were very positive as we saw a ~+50% increase in Impression Share (from 40% to 90%) and ~+43% in CTR (from 4.0% to 7.0%).

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