People who’ve had apparently endless issues with the Google Adwords quality score might get quite excited by this headline. However, in the usual style of our good friend Google, they will be replacing the current system with one they say will create a fairer basis for evaluation.
Basically, they are going to tinker with the quality score once again. The new system is an attempt to create a more accurate quality score. As all us affiliates know, the QS is less than perfect and I’ll welcome an improved version. However, forgive me Google if I silently quake in my PPC boots in case you’re about to knock down my affiliate house of cards once more! It’s difficult not to get anxious when the big G-meister announces an all singing and dancing shake up to the status quo.
The Changes in a Nutshell: -
- The new quality score is calculated each and every time an ad is served in response to a Google search query. Google will use this data to work out which queries your ad is performing best for. Google says the data collection will mean your ad is more likely to show for relevant queries and less likely to turn up for irrelevant search strings.
- An end to keywords being marked “inactive for search”. This won’t mean a PPC free for all, so try not to get too excited. Google says that despite this, keywords which have been previously marked inactive for search are unlikely to get much traffic. According to them, their combined per query quality score and bid levels are unlikely to result in a good placement.
- Minimum bid is also up for the high jump. As Inactive for search is being scrapped, there’s no need to display a minimum bid for ad activation – that will already have happened. Instead, there will now be a “first page bid”. This will do what it says on the tin. Tell you what you need to shell out to get your ad on the all important first page.
What does this mean? Well, at first glance it just seems like Google is tweaking things to try and tighten up the relevance of their results. I also welcome the first page bid metric being clear, it will help me to judge how much I should be bidding over large groups of keywords and ads.
However, I’m interested in what will happen in the scenario where there are very few or no ads in response to an extremely niche search query. If I were Google, I’d recognise that accross all the millions of keywords falling into this category there’d be a significant hike in ad revenues from making sure Adwords ads were more likely to be served. Paranoid? Well, perhaps… but I will be really interested to see what happens with this one. I’ve often read anguished tales from affiliates who have had keywords of exactly this nature switched off who said they had excellent ROI from some golden niche they’d stumbled upon, only to have them slapped.
More reading here in this article on the subject by Barry Schwartz