The world of search engine optimization is one of numbers and statistics. Companies use SEO to increase web traffic (and ultimately sales), and perhaps the most important factor in improving one’s SEO is the use of more effective keywords. When you run an ad campaign with Google AdWords, Google analyzes every keyword you’re using and assigns it a base-10 rating known as a “quality score”. This score is important because this is Google giving you an assessment of how much you are going to pay-per-click for that keyword, and how highly it ranks on the search page.
There is a misconception that the higher a page ranks on Google, the more money that company pays per click. This is not always the case. The pages you see listed at the top of any Google search are the ones that get clicked on the most. Yes, sometimes this is accomplished by paying more, but utilizing the most effective keywords possible is better for your brand and less expensive. For these reasons, it is recommended that you don’t run any keywords that have a quality score that is below 5/10. If the quality score is below this benchmark, it is simply not worth the money to keep it active and action should be taken.
There are a few different ways you can alter a keyword to improve its rating with Google and save you money. The simplest approach is to just pause the keyword. Once you pause the keyword it will stop running and you won’t get charged for using it unless you reactivate it. You may leave a keyword paused indefinitely, though this approach is equally effective for the short-term should you wish to analyze and edit the keyword later on. If you want to continue using a keyword that has a poor rating, changing the kind of match it uses can improve its score as well. You may edit the match type from a “Broad Match” to a “Phrase Match”, which means someone would have to type in the exact phrasing of your keywords to get a match. If that doesn’t help you can upgrade your keyword to an “Exact Match”, which means your ad will only show if someone searches your exact keyword and no other search terms before or after it. It should be noted that changing a keyword’s match type is not necessarily a permanent solution. If none of the aforementioned techniques improve your quality score to 5/10 or higher, but you still feel the keyword is important enough to include in your ad campaign, you can always rewrite your page content to include the keyword.
Putting in the time to review and analyze the keywords in all of your ad campaigns can be a time consuming task, but it is time well spent if it means saving you money and making your company more visible. By using this feature on AdWords you ensure that you get your money’s worth from pay-per-click advertising.
The author, Bob Ottaway, is President and Founder of Ottaway Digital. Established in 1999, it has been a pioneer in SEO, digital advertising & social media since 2006.