Thursday, November 13, 2008

Google Quality Score - What You Need to Know

Many people have been confused over the concept of the Google Quality Score. In case you aren't aware, or don't participate in pay per click advertising on Google via AdWords, there's a new concept in town and it's name is "Build a page." That's correct, build a page that is specific for every keyword that you're targeting with your AdWords campaigns.

Google is asking that you have a targeted page for every keyword that you would like to advertise against. They're saying that if the keywords aren't in the title tag, content, and if the page isn't specific to the keywords that you would like to advertise against, there's a good chance that the page won't show up in the top Google AdWords listings, even if you're willing to pay or bid the highest amount for a listing there. This is the way that organic search has worked for a long time.

If you think about it, this isn't such a bad move by Google. They're protecting the user experience. They also may be indirectly protecting advertisers from spending their money on clicks that wouldn't be relevant or convert for them. Sounds like a win/win to me.

The other interesting thing about the AdWords Quality Score is its heavy weighing toward click through rate. If this is such an important aspect of the system because Google deems this as proving that an ad is valuable to a searcher, what's to say that they don't use the same metrics in their organic listings? The AdWords blog has reported that they often apply a "disabling rule" that inhibits ads with very low CTRs for a given query from being shown.

Many webmasters probably neglect optimizing their SERPs to entice users to click. If your site ranks number five or six, and is driving more clicks than the four, what's to say that Google won't reward you with better rankings for providing a better user experience? This is

n't to say that this is definitely a way that Google's algorithm works, but just an idea to get you thinking about how optimizing for pay per click can help out greatly in what you do for your organic campaign because, as Google says, "better ad relevance leads to a better user experience."

As a little refresher for those SEO newbies out there, you must have a few things to do well in organic search:

  1. A Web site that's deep in quality content (specific content to your industry).
  2. A Web site that is linked to by other relevant, quality Web sites.
  3. An older domain certainly doesn't hurt.
  4. A strategy and plan for execution of that strategy.

Developing a page for each keyword that you want to rank for makes sense, doesn't it? Search engines read text, so if you don't have the keywords on your page, you probably won't rank for those keywords.

Once you've developed these pages, make sure that you're giving each a unique title tag, keyword inclusion in the URL (if you can swing it, do something like, keyword inclusion in the header (H1), and keyword inclusion in the first paragraph of copy and links pointing to this page (internal and external links).

By optimizing your Web site for organic search, and building out a bunch of pages for each keyword that you're honestly interested in targeting, your pages might do well with Google's Quality Score algorithm. After all, it's starting to look more like the organic algorithm.

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