Quality is Key with PPC

Posted on August 21st, 2012 by True Media

Here at True Media, our interactive team conferences in from each office for a weekly meeting to discuss what’s happening in the digital world. From the latest Google update to training each other on different platforms to use for our clients, it’s our time to discuss something we learned over the past week. It’s a great way for us to share something that we may have stumbled on researching for a client, or the perfect excuse to hop on Twitter for a bit to research our own interests. Not to mention it helps us stay at the top of our game when it comes to digital marketing.
For this week’s call, our Interactive Director changed it up on us – thankfully, because it sparked an idea for my blog post (after my initial idea of trying to make my cat become an internet sensation was shut down). Our conference was turned into a question and answer session, where we proved our role as experts and answered common client concerns.
A question was posed to each team member, but all of us jumped in and provided our own feedback. I’m still fairly new to the digital realm, but it was amazing to me to hear myself talking about things I had no idea about two years ago, and I was impressed with the input that my teammates had on each issue. Here I’ll tackle one of the questions that was brought up during the discussion, and explain a little bit about the basics of pay-per-click.
Why should I optimize my Website for PPC? What difference does it make?
When it comes to page optimization, SEO typically takes the limelight. But for pay-per-click, it’s just as important- and good optimization can lead to higher ad position and lower costs for you.
How it Works:
When it comes to search, Google is far more interested in the user finding exactly what they’re looking for over a company earning money. This is why SEO is important for your site, but it’s also a factor that shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to SEM.
First, a quick breakdown of PPC basics:
The pay-per-click model, or PPC, is purchasing ads on Google’s search function in order to increase traffic to your website.

  • An advertiser creates a list of keywords that are relevant to what they are trying to sell or do.
  • When a person searches for a keyword that’s on your list, it will trigger the ad you have created with a link to your site.
  • Each time your ad is served, that’s considered an impression.
  • Each time someone clicks on your ad and goes to your site, it’s called a click (what else?).
  • Clicks/Impressions*100 gives you a percentage known as your clickthrough rate.

(For more info about PPC, SearchEngineLand has a great list of references for beginners)
There are a huge number of factors that play into when your ad is served, how high in the results it is positioned and how much you have to pay if someone clicks on your ad. But as I said earlier, Google’s entire model is based on people finding what they’re looking for (there’s a reason “googled” is in the dictionary), so the key to ranking high and paying less is all about relevance.
Where optimization really comes into play is when it relates to your Quality Score. This is a number that Google assigns to your account, ad groups and ads, but the keyword level is where you see the actual number that Google has assigned. This quality score is based on the following:

  1. Expected clickthrough rate: this is based mostly on historical data that Google has gathered. It uses the account, keyword and display URLs past clickthrough rates in order to predict whether or not a person will be likely to click on it the next time. This is why it’s so important to create great, clickworthy ads that relate to what the user wants to find up front.
  2. Ad relevance: Is your ad relevant to your keywords? Are your keywords relevant to what people are searching for? No matter how much you’re willing to pay for it, Google is never going to show an ad that isn’t relevant to what the user is searching for.
  3. 3. Landing page experience: Google’s top factors for determining landing page quality are relevant and original content, transparency, and navigability.  An easy to use, relevant landing page that allows the user to quickly find exactly what they’re looking for increases your quality score, as well as the likelihood of a user staying on your site and the potential for a conversion (if that’s what your goal is).

Your quality score is the combination of all of these factors that show how relevant your ad is to the user. The factors work together, which is why it’s important when creating ads that you create them in groups of similar keywords, and match them to an optimized landing page that is just as relevant. Matching relevant keywords to your ads will increase clickthrough rate, and matching your ads to your page content will increase the user experience.
A primary method to enhance quality score and ensure that you’re reaching the goals of the campaign is to create your ad groups based around specific parts of your website, and use keywords and ad copy that relate directly to that section. Focus on the goals of your campaign: do you want people to buy your product? Do you want to raise awareness? Whatever your goal is, create your ad group’s keywords and ads to the page on your website that has the most relevant information, and make sure that page on the website is optimized to clearly match your goal.
If you don’t have a specific page that has information about your goal, custom landing pages are the best way to go. This allows you to completely optimize what the user sees, in order to provide the most relevant content quickly and simply. You can also build custom landing pages to allow for a conversion right on the page, instead of a user having to search for it after landing on your site. Always make sure that your landing page clearly directs back to your website, allowing users to explore more of what you have to offer if they want.
When it comes down to it, being an expert at pay-per-click is fairly simple. Give the user what they’re looking for. Make it easy for them to find. Don’t mislead them in any way. And provide high quality content that compels people to take action.
If you’d like to learn more about PPC, I’d highly recommend checking out the following blogs:
And of course… the True Media blog!