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How Google's Quality Score Update Impacts Advertisers

by Colling Media - May 21, 2015

Any shakeup is bound to make some people happy and upset others. This is the case with Google’s May algorithm revision, which some have named the “Quality Update.” Google hasn’t shared much about exactly how the algorithm has changed and whom it affects, but it has said the algorithm is unbiased – i.e. it’s not going after any group in particular.

This seems to have been borne out through various reports in the last few months. While several have promoted theories that Google is targeting certain types of businesses (such as How To sites or the financial sector), others have spoken up with the information that the Quality Update has actually helped them. What most really want to know, though, is how this update is going to affect advertisers and marketers.

What the Update Means for Quality Score

So far the update doesn’t seem to have had bearing on the way consumers act, if it ever will. The Q2 search trends remained pretty much static from Q1, with 45 percent of search still coming from the rapidly expanding coterie of consumer mobile devices and Google grabbing a whopping 89 percent of mobile search.

But Google has substantially changed the way it measures keywords on ad campaigns: “Instead of measuring new keywords from scratch, we start with info about related ads and landing pages you already have.” This means two things:

You should try to improve the keyword relevance of all your ad campaigns

You should delete non-relevant or low-quality keywords from your campaigns to avoid dragging new campaigns down

Google adds you should “invest in growing your coverage on relevant searches, especially in areas where your ads have the potential to be high quality.” Always good advice, but especially now where the performance of one keyword or ad set can bleed into all the other campaigns you’re running.

How to Improve Your Online Presence Overall

Since last we heard, the creation of quality content was the best way to indicate the overall quality of a site, that’s still the best starting place. Advertisers and marketers should keep creating marketing plans that rely on useful, actionable advice and carving out a place for their clients in the thought leadership sphere. Other advice:

Your quality score will be higher for ads that are directly, specifically targeted

Your site’s quality depends in part on user-friendliness, relevance, time on site, scroll depth, and social signals, so make content shareable

Beyond quality, marketers and advertisers should remember nearly 8 in 10 local mobile searches result in an in-store purchase, so optimizing mobile content for searchers is crucial. For more information, we may just have to wait and see.

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