I have some affiliate websites and use adwords. I was paying 5 to 10 cents a click for most keywords. I just checked online and see that almost all keywords are not showing due to low quality score. My click through rate has been 2%-5%. I see they are now asking between $.50 and $10. Is there anything I can do? Do you know what factors go into a quality score?
You’re exactly right that it’s the Google “quality score” that’s caused your bids to skyrocket on your AdWords campaigns. Basically, Google made some big changes in the last few months to make sure that the ads appearing for a given keyword are more likely to point directly to product pages from vendors, rather than through a puzzling maze of affiliate links, redirect pages and arbitrage schemes.
Here’s how Google describes it:
“Quality Score is the basis for measuring the quality and relevance of your ads and determining your minimum CPC bid for Google and the search network. This score is determined by your keyword’s clickthrough rate (CTR) on Google, and the relevance of your ad text, keyword, and landing page.
“We believe high quality ads attract more clicks, encourage user trust, and result in better long-term performance. To encourage relevant and successful ads within AdWords, our system defines a Quality Score to set your keyword status, minimum CPC bid, and ad rank for the ad auction.”
Really, you can’t fault that. After all, if the law of the digital jungle pollutes the online advertising world, our new “dotcom” era of Web 2.0, new media technologies, Web-based services and so much more would be quite adversely affected. I know as someone who relies on advertising for a portion of my own revenue stream, I am loath to see anything that adversely impacts online advertisers because I know that if their ads aren’t effective, they won’t advertise and my (our?) ad revenue will decline.
Note that you can actually see your quality score too, which can be a great way to learn what is really happening and give you some very good ideas about what you can do to improve things. To see your score, log in to your AdWords account and select the campaign and ad group in question. Now choose “Customize Columns” at the top of the Keyword tab and choose “Show Quality Score”.
I also have a variety of different articles I’ve written and gained insight from industry experts like Joy LaRoque of Access Marketing and Mark Widawer of West Hills Web and related. Here are a few starting points: What is Google AdWords Arbitrage?, Figure out AdWords Costs for Specific Keywords, and more articles about AdWords.