For charities who are not finding their Google Grant useful or are frustrated with managing it, I usually hear two common complaints:
 

“My keywords have high search traffic estimates but are getting low clicks”
 
or
 
“Google says my keywords are below first page bid but with a $1.00 maximum bid I can’t compete”

 
The key to answering those questions lies with the concept of quality score. There’s a lot of complexity to quality score, but in this blog post I’ll break down and simplify the bits that are important to charities with Google Grants.
 

What is Quality Score

 
In a nutshell, quality score is a metric Google uses to rate the relevancy of an AdWords keyword to the user’s search. The higher the quality score is for your keyword, the less you have to pay for it (or the cheaper it is to get a higher ad position). This is Google’s way of creating incentives for advertisers to make their ads relevant to searchers. After all, Google’s core business is about delivering the most relevant information to what your searching.
 

What Determines Quality Score

 
There are a whole bunch of criteria that affect your quality score. In simple terms, quality score is calculated based on how relevant your keyword is to your landing page, your ad text, and the user’s search. Quality score also takes into account past performance, so it’s an important issue to address as soon as possible.
 

Why Quality Score is Important For Google Grants

 
Let’s go back to the two original criticisms, high search traffic but low clicks and bid prices being too low. I’ve seen it suggested that it’s at some fault or some limitation of the Google Grant program. In reality, both situations are symptoms of a problem with low quality score. If your keyword has a really low quality score (under 3) it may not even be shown during searches. No matter how high the search estimate is, you simply won’t be given a chance to generate clicks. For keyword bids that may be more competitive, improving your quality score will let you grab good spots without having to exceed the $1.00 bid maximum. In fact, this should be the case at least 80% of the time because generally speaking, you shouldn’t be competing for keywords with for-profit companies who will bid over $1.00.
 

How to Increase Your Quality Score

 
To refresh your memory on our simplified version of how quality score is calculated:
 

Quality Score = Relevant Landing Page + Relevant Ad Text + Relevant User Search

 
Therefore, improving your quality score can be done by improving each of those criteria.
 
1. Relevant Landing Page: Make sure your ad is pointing to the landing pages that are most relevant to the keywords, and not simply your homepage. On those landing pages, it helps to include the keywords that your advertising on it. This is also crucial to enhancing user interaction once they reach your page through your Google ad. Imagine if you’re advertising volunteer opportunities and send users to your homepage. They may or may not have the patience to look around for the volunteer section, but it would have been far better to send them to your volunteer page in the first place.
 
2. Relevant Ad Text: Within your ad text, it pays off to include the keywords your advertising inside the ad text. Not only will it help improve your quality score, but also those keywords will be bolded if they match what a user is searching, making your ad more visually noticeable. As an aside, grouping your keywords more closely will help improve the relevancy of your ad text as well.
 
3. Relevant User Search: This goes to the actual keywords your selecting. Make sure your content and keyword relate to how people interpret their searches. Avoid keywords that are too broad, particularly one word keywords. Also, use negative keywords to filter out interpretations of your keyword that are not relevant to your content. A trick I like to use is to do a Google search of that keyword and see what comes up. The results I see that are non-relevant I will add negative keywords for.
 
At the end of the day, managing an AdWords or Google Grants account for better quality score takes time, effort and knowledge. That’s why we offer our expertise to charities here at ConnectAd. If you have questions about quality score, leave us a comment below or email me at schoy@connectad.ca.

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