If you are running google ad campaigns, chances are you are over-spending for the leads you’re getting. Conversion rate optimization is one of the best ways to increase the quality score of your google ads, as well as the core metrics of your business. While so much is said about the importance of having a strong content strategy for your company, how to run ad campaigns, or how to succeed with organic content, there is much less information on how to leverage conversion rate optimization specifically to increase your quality score and reduce the cost per lead that you can generate from your google ad campaigns.
This guide will help you determine where your biggest areas of opportunity are, and will provide you with tactical steps that you can implement now to drive a higher return on ad spend.
The importance of quality score against spend
According to Google, “quality score is a diagnostic tool meant to give you a sense of how well your ad quality compares to other advertisers.” Google will score your ad campaigns from 1-10, with a 10/10 being the best score you can get.
A higher quality score means that your ad and landing page as well as the messaging you show is highly relevant to the target you’re putting the ad in front of. This is a comparison of your ad(s) against other advertisers bidding on the same keywords.
While the Google algorithm is a “black box” and they don’t release information on how exactly the score is put together, there are a number of sources who have reverse engineered the process. The best resource we’ve seen is this one from Wordstream.
Our team has been able to quantify the impacts of quality score. Here’s the breakdown:
Quality score 1 of 10
This means you’re paying 400% or so HIGHER on your CPC in comparison to a 5/10 score
Quality score 2 of 10
This means you’re paying 150% or so HIGHER on your CPC in comparison to a 5/10 score
Quality score 3 of 10
This means you’re paying 67% or so HIGHER on your CPC in comparison to a 5/10 score
Quality score 4 of 10
This means you’re paying 25% or so HIGHER on your CPC in comparison to a 5/10 score
Quality score 5 of 10
This is the google benchmark number – so we use absolute percentages for measurement above or below this baseline.
Quality score 6 of 10
This means you’re paying 17% or so less on your CPC in comparison to a 5/10 score
Quality score 7 of 10
This means you’re paying 29% or so less on your CPC in comparison to a 5/10 score
Quality score 8 of 10
This means you’re paying 38% or so less on your CPC in comparison to a 5/10 score
Quality score 9 of 10
This means you’re paying 44% or so less on your CPC in comparison to a 5/10 score
Quality score 10 of 10
If your quality score is 10/10 you are paying an estimate of 50% less on your CPC in comparison to a score of 5/10.
The relationship between CPC and Quality Score can’t be underestimated.
The key components of quality score
Niche ad groups & strong message matching
The closer you can match your ad creative and copy to the exact persona you are targeting, the higher your click through rate should be. This likely means you need to separate out your main keyword groups into single focused, narrow potential matches. You’re going for a high intent audience that resonates with a small group of keywords in your overall campaign, driving a higher click through rate than less relevant keywords, and sending the user to an optimized landing page (more on that below).
If you’re new to google ads, you will want to make sure to read up on how to conduct proper keyword research. We have some great free videos on running google ads here that should help you out.
Group your keywords into groups that you’re leveraging one or more ads against with the single purpose of finding relevant users who are looking for the keywords you’re bidding on.
Diversity of messaging is important. You’ll want to test as much ad copy as you can to determine the best fit for your keywords. Ideally you’ll be able to leverage keywords in your ad copy itself, making it crystal clear what you’re advertising for.
You’ll measure this based on the click through rate that your ads are getting. The best ads with the highest click through rates get higher quality scores, driving down your cost.
Landing page optimizations
Landing page speed and optimization is another critical component of having a great quality score. Your landing page is incredibly important, and is something that many advertisers ignore. When we run ad campaigns for our Trajectory Agency clients we make sure that the ads, messaging, and landing pages are all highly tuned and optimized. This means that we’ll often create many landing pages to support each main ad and keyword group that we’re running.
Anatomy of an amazing landing page
There are a few key themes we see with amazing landing pages that convert. Below are some recommendations for you to consider when building out your landing pages.
The platform matters here, a lot. If you’re using a website builder like WordPress or Wix, or if you’re coding your own website, chances are you are leaving a lot of room for improvement on page speed. Page speed is one of the main drivers of landing page impact on quality score, so it’s essential to optimize here.
Use a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights to see how your pages rank speed wise. While we can’t exactly quantify the impact of one speed against the other, almost all of our campaigns that we manage that have an 8+ quality score have lightning fast pages. We’re talking 90%+ PageSpeed score for both mobile and desktop.
Landing page platforms
While there are many platforms you can choose from, we love using Unbounce for our landing pages. They have a great integration with WordPress that enables you to build lightning fast landing pages right from within Unbounce that also live inside the WordPress world you are used to. We are an Unbounce partner and with this link, you will get a free 14 day trial of the platform to test it out and see if it is a good fit for you and your business. If you subscribe, there is also a 20% discount on your first 3 months membership.
Once you have your page speed and platform optimized, it’s time to focus on what to include on your landing pages. What we generally recommend for our agency clients is:
- A very strong headline that matches the content in your ads as closely as possible
- A strong sub-headline value statement
- A crystal clear and single call to action – usually a free trial, freemium sign up, book a demo, or push to purchase
- Strong social proof
- A well formatted, well written set of product/service benefit statements
Here is an example of an extremely high converting landing page we tested for a premium tier product offering ($2,000 per month):
Build your landing page in a way that’s easy to replicate – chances are you’re going to build out as many as needed to support the ad groups you created in your campaigns.
Other components to consider
Just as having strong keywords is critical to campaign success, understanding and removing negative keywords is also important for increasing your quality score. You’ll want to look through the search terms people are searching for that you deem irrelevant and remove them from your keyword groups. This should have a positive impact on your click through rates.
Removing or turning off ads
Sounds simple enough, but when we run ad campaign audits, we very often see legacy ads still running and spending precious budgets. Make it a habit to check in on ad level performance daily. Turn off or tune the ads that are underperforming.
That’s it for now! Thanks for tuning in, and if you have any questions, just reach out!