Most people, even those well versed in SEO, will tell you that the Google algorithm is a bit of mystery. Sure, plenty of guidelines are available on the web and even Google offers its very own curriculum for webmasters teaching interested parties how to go about creating a great website. However, the underlying mechanics remain shrouded in secrecy. This applies as much to paid search as it does to organic search.
However, many of the headlines in the last 12 months have been dedicated to organic search – with suggestions of penalties by the dozen, a zoo full of new ranking algorithms (hello, Panda and Penguin) and threats of being barred from Google for any number of wrong doings. In the middle of all of this, changes were also happening to paid search. Sound confusing? Let’s go back to the beginning…
In a general sense, a few major components are commonly accepted as ingredients for a successful website. Though difficult to quantify, current methods for creating a website that populates in the upper echelons of an organic search result incorporate several factors not least of which is rich, useful, original and informative content. Mobile compatibility is a big one and social media influencer rating is also key.
A great website is not slow and Google is well aware of this fact. Sites with a terrible backend or an overburdened frontend, littered with ads or other nonsense have a chance at appearing in your Facebook feed but little chance at surfacing at a respectable position in a Google search.
Of course, keywords also still play a big role in website relevance.
A keyword is arguably one of the easiest ways to provide an indexing mechanism for a web page. This feature essentially creates the basis for analyzing a page as it allows the creator to attach relevant information checked against other rating instruments. But, unlike in the early days of search engines, keywords hold less weight than they did. They key to all of these changes has been quality – Google wants to know your site offers the users it sends your way a quality experience.
In the middle of the year, Google made an announcement on their social platform Google Plus about changes to their quality score algorithm – after a year filled with changes to its organic search practises, the search engine had finally turned its attention to AdWords. This caused a bit of commotion at the time and continues to baffle some not privy to the implications of the information.
The quality score ultimately quantifies your AdWords account based on what still amounts to an overall, account-level rating. This means that the platform takes into consideration the whole of your campaign and even your website landing pages to determine how good your campaign is overall. The better optimized and better performing it is, the better your quality score. You’ll either be a good, bad or average in comparison with other advertisers. Google says account level quality scores don’t exist but many analysts argue that quality score is a machine learning metric, therefore it must look at past account data to predict future performance.
One of the key impacts of the revises quality score was that keywords, especially new keywords, will receive a default rating of 6 on the 1 to 10 quality scale. Keep in mind, this value sometimes increases or decreases depending on the overall quality of the site. In other words, do not make a big deal out of a 6 rating as this has become standard.
As before, ad text and landing page URL are also important so make text relevant and send the user through to the most relevant page on your site.