In our last episode in this series we talked about quality scores and how they can make or break your PPC campaign. When it comes to managing your advertising budget, quality is king. If your quality score is low in relation to a coveted keyword (remember that your score changes per word, per campaign and for your business as a whole) you’ll pay through the nose – and your high-quality competitors can beat your bid by spending a fraction of what you’d pay. Quality scores ensure that PPC providers get their money’s worth. People won’t click on bad ads as often, so the search engines want more money per low-quality click.
The other big factor is how the ad affects a search engine user’s experiences. Providers hate ads that take users to lousy places. It makes them look bad and reduces confidence in the ad system. Every search engine wants ads that are relevant to the user’s search goals.
No major PPC provider shares its exact methods with the public. This keeps unscrupulous “black hat” SEO firms from abusing the system. Fortunately, experience teaches the good guys (like us!) what providers prefer, so we know how to cultivate better quality scores for our clients. Here’s what search engines like:
- Relevance: If your ad is actually about whatever the user is searching for it’s better for everybody. The searcher’s actively interested in what you have to offer, the search engine proves its worth and you get more leads.
- Text Quality: Your ad needs to communicate a clear message about what you offer. Even a “teaser” style ad should logically flow from your product or service.
- Well-Designed Landing Pages: After clicking your ad, searchers should find easy to read, optimized landing pages. See this article for tips.
Here’s what they don’t like:
- Deceptive Ads: If your ad isn’t relevant to a typical search for its keyword or worse, tries to piggyback a popular term to sell something unrelated, providers will slash your quality score.
- Incoherent Ads: If you don’t communicate clearly, the provider will reduce your quality score based on the (usually correct) assumption that fewer searchers will click on it.
- Lousy Landing Pages: If your landing page includes annoying features like popups, keyword stuffing and badly formatted titles, Google, MSN and Yahoo will punish you. They don’t want you to lure their searchers somewhere annoying.
Good PPC practices keep costs down, draw more interest and establish your business as an ethical, interesting member of the online community. Bad practices drive your costs up. In extreme cases, search engines will ban particularly awful advertisers.
The criteria we’ve mentioned are just starting points. Every search engine is different, so it takes expertise to guide the most effective campaigns. What works best for Yahoo won’t always translate well to Google, for example. At GILL Media, we keep abreast of PPC trends to launch the most effective campaigns for our clients.