A frequent question that I’ve been asked: How do you optimize an AdWords Account? My answer (to quote an oft-used phrase): I begin with the end in mind. If I’m working with a B2B Account, I am solely focused on the Cost Per Lead Metrics, so I optimize all the elements higher up in the funnel that I have control over in order to get a most favorable CPL.
What elements do I have control over?
Bids. Bid Strategy. Ad Text. Keyword Targeting. Landing Pages (sometimes). If I’m being the best steward of my client’s money, I’m making the most relevant choices for the account…examining the account data…and tweaking my choices, all the while chasing optimum performance.
What element do I not have control over?
You might point out to me that you’ve seen all these blog posts talking about quality score elements and what you might do to get your score higher. I would tell you that most of that advice is quite valid.
You might also point out to me that you’ve read studies showing that higher quality scores lead to lower CPCs and better performance. I would acknowledge that those studies (as well as reports I’ve run on client accounts) validate this theory.
So why don’t you have control over your Quality Score?
Technically, you do have some control over it. However, it plays very little into how you would optimize an account.
If I’m doing the best possible job for my client, I’ve chosen the right list of keywords; I’ve written extremely pertinent ads; I’m making the best bidding choices, and my landing pages are topically on point and contain all the right elements to convert relevant traffic.
I let my performance against client goals dictate how I manage the account…not what the quality score is telling me.
Would you ever manage an account based on Quality Score?
If for some reason I’m not hitting client goals and I’m looking for an easy way to optimize the account, I would look at the Quality Score of the non-branded keywords. What I might do is create a CPA Matrix by Quality Score (QS) with an eye towards pausing all non-branded keywords tied to a Quality Score with a substandard CPA (generally QS 1-3), investing the savings into higher QS keywords. Implementation of this tactic should improve account performance.
I have to say that I rarely resort to Quality Score-based tactics, because I’m solidly dialed in for campaign management. Were Google to take away Quality Score, it would have very little impact on my process and my results (which would still be awesome).