Ads in a Quality Score World

I’m in San Jose this week for the Search Engine Strategies conference…current session is called “Ads in a Quality Score World”, moderated by Danny Sullivan (standing in the photo)…and speakers including Andrew Goodman (He wrote the book on understanding Adwords and I recommend his guides) and Google, Yahoo, & MSN ad quality product managers.

My interest in this session is to better understand the current state of the market in terms of the major search engines are quality scoring ads… because our own future desire to rank members and articles by the quality of their landing pages (see these entries: Landing Page Quality Scoring, and this one: Landing Page Quality Follow Up Mini Podcast ) in an effort to ensure a positive & relevant user experience.

Here are my notes/thoughts:

  • Account history is important factor – build a positive trust-based history.
  • Overall history and recent history important
  • Build new landing pages when you feel your ad quality score is low
  • CTR is still the anchor – to track effectiveness
  • Why quality score is important: So you can pay less than competitors for higher ad rank.
  • Giving end-users a relevant experience is the point.
  • Combination of all quality scores within your account is a factor
  • Some say there are 100 factors that affect your quality score… I’m certain that there is a weighting system though so that a dozen or fewer items are more important than the other 80+ factors.
  • Lack of transparency or a ambiguity by the search engines on this quality score system probably won’t be changing
  • When you can’t figure out why your quality score is lower than you think it should be, focus on conversion metrics to determine future actions.
  • Because landing pages change frequently, the focus on putting your best foot forward reputation wise is when you run your next ad campaign…
  • Ads should always reflect the intent of what the user is looking for. This is a key that we look for when we review landing page URL’s.
  • User Goals when they search are: Expressed (bikini), repressed (black), latent goal is emergent (Brazilian tie side bottoms)
  • Paid Search is designed to deliver relevance.
  • Ads are the meat of the “Relevance Sandwich.”
  • Relevance is determined by CONVERSION rate.
  • Ad quality scoring is about a year old.
  • Don’t market to your quality score…focus on your users, their needs, etc.
  • Clay Bavor, Quality scoring Product Manager at Google said that in the end, quality scoring benefits everyone.
  • – Obsess on the user experience. Hey, that’s our theme too!
  • – All else will follow. He spoke for 5 minutes… and the room buzzed because Clay used his brief time to make one core point.
  • – Later in the Q&A, Clay said that the human review component in quality scoring is more designed to filter and catch the bad guys than to penalize the good guys.
  • Brian Boland, Group Marketing Manager at Microsoft adCenter, focuses on the end-user experience…helping them get to where they want quicker… MSN’s stats are that it still takes 11 minutes for a user to get what they are looking for. Dang.
  • – What kind of quality score are you giving us, the search engine ad provider…traffic sources… Interested and competitive position.
  • – Find the highest quality traffic to make yourself more successful.
  • David Pann, VP of Marketplace Design & Matching, Yahoo! Search Marketing
  • – Poor keyword selection is primary reason for poor quality scores
  • – Overall relevance of your landing page determines quality end user experience
  • – Promised to be more transparent about future changes in quality ranking metrics than Google and Microsoft (didn’t say that directly, but inferred it)
  • As you read my notes above, note that I’m thinking about how it applies to ranking articles based on landing page quality scores from links found in resource boxes by our members… rather than how to be a PPC (Pay Per Click) buyer.



    OH! I am so excited that you are there. If we can’t be there, then you are the next best thing. YAY!

    This is fantastic insight and info.

    Comment provided August 20, 2007 at 2:45 PM


    Lance Winslow writes:

    Glad to see Chris is there, unfortunately Chris’ competition is in Belize right now.

    Comment provided August 20, 2007 at 8:37 PM


    Max Glenn writes:


    Thanks for connecting us with the source!!!

    It is good to have your presence and your feedback on new directions and how we can enhance our work on the web.


    Comment provided August 20, 2007 at 11:35 PM



    Yes, I agree with everyone! Thank you Chris for your lessons! We are waiting for more when you come back.

    Comment provided August 21, 2007 at 10:13 AM


    Steve writes:

    I am personally amazed that msn can add input to anything to do with quality!

    Comment provided August 21, 2007 at 4:18 PM


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