Chris Thomas

Want to improve your web search results AND lower costs? It could simply be a case of getting a better ‘score’ from Google. Here’s how…

Search engine optimisation (SEO) meets search engine marketing (SEM)

Chris Thomas

I’ve spoken to you about Google’s quality score before, but I thought I’d give a little more in-depth attention to it this week. Hopefully it will enable you to lower costs and improve your return on investment.

Pay per click (PPC) management

There is more to ranking well in the PPC results than how much you pay. It’s fast becoming more about the “quality” of your ad campaign. Google’s “quality score” is the key.

First of all you need to enable the quality score column. Somewhat mysteriously, Google makes it quite difficult to find.

SEO meets SEM 1

In your AdGroup, look for the “customise columns” link. Next, move down the drop down list and select “show quality score”.

SEO meets SEM 2

You’ll then see a new column showing your quality score next to each key phrase in your list.

What is Google’s quality score?

Quality score is a dynamic variable assigned to each of your keywords. It’s calculated using a variety of factors and measures how relevant your keyword is to your AdGroup and to a user’s search query.

Quality score influences your ad’s position on Google and the Google network. It also partly determines your keywords’ minimum bids.

In general, the higher your “quality score”, the better your ad position and the lower your minimum bids. There are three levels of quality score, “poor”, “OK” and “great”:

SEO meets SEM 3
SEO meets SEM 4
SEO meets SEM 5

SEM meets SEO…

“…. advertisers who are not providing useful landing pages to our users will have lower quality scores that in turn result in higher minimum bid requirements for their keywords.”

In light of the previous comment from Google, it’s important to ensure that your AdWords campaign has the highest quality score possible for each of the keywords triggering your Google ads.

When a new AdGroup is created, Google looks at several factors:

  • Google analyses each key phrase in your key word list.
  • Google examines your Google ad(s).
  • Google visits and analyses the landing page where the visitor is sent to when they click on your Google ad.

How do you ensure a “great” quality score?

The process requires careful setup and is best performed by your PPC management company. They will need to have access to your website content.

Essentially, each key phrase needs to be checked for relevancy – ideally each key phase should be in your Google ad and on a relevant landing page within your website.

To ensure each key phrase is included in your Google ads, you can either create a Google ad for each key phrase (very time consuming) or use dynamic keyword insertion (DKI).

Essentially, Google’s DKI system takes the key phrase typed in by a user and places it into your Google ad dynamically. This usually results in a higher click-through-rate because the user “sees” the key phrase they’ve typed in, somewhere in the content of your Google ad.

Ensuring each key phrase is on an appropriate landing page requires your PPC management company to have access to your website copy (usually through your content management system). This enables them to make slight changes to your existing copy and place key phrases “on page”. Note: All changes should be checked by you prior to publishing.

When a key phrase is included in your Google ad and on the destination landing page it is highly likely Google will reward the key phrase with a “great” quality score by increasing your ad rank and lowering your cost-per-click.

Another tangible benefit in combining PPC management and SEO is keyword research. The only way to discover “real” keyword popularity through Google is by analysing impression data coming out of Google AdWords. By using [exact match] key phrase impression data we can see which key phrases are the most popular.

If your AdWords campaign utilises conversion tracking you will also be able to analyse the most highly converting (profitable) key phrases. Over time, this enables you to perform highly accurate search engine optimisation by targeting keyphrases that have already proven themselves to work, removing all the guess-work from SEO.

Search engine optimisation and pay-per-click management have now converged. It is now nearly impossible for an SEO company to perform truly successful search engine optimisation without access to Google AdWords data.

Moreover, it is impossible for your PPC management company to extract the best quality score from your PPC campaign without access to website content.

Ideally you should consider one company with expertise in both areas to coordinate both SEO and PPC to guarantee the best possible return for your search engine marketing endeavours.


Chris Thomas heads Reseo a search engine optimisation company which specialises in setting up and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns, Affiliate Programs and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.

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Vivian writes: Does this mean that if the words you have selected give a poor ranking then you should get rid of them?? or is that an obvious question?

Yvette writes: A useful article on Google, SEO and AdWords campaign analysis.



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