There’s no doubt that online marketing only continues to evolve at a rapid pace, introducing new and complex ways to get ahead of the game and competition. But with it comes the need to understand how all of these algorithms and functionalities work, particularly when it comes to search.
For those diving into the world of pay-per-click advertising, Google Ads comes as the most popular and cost-effective option, with 63% of the population clicking on these paid links at some point in time. The challenge is that you don’t get that kind of engagement without testing and refinement, and without the understanding of how to increase ad relevance on your own campaigns.
So, in this quick guide, we’re going to examine exactly how you can improve your quality score on this platform, resulting in maximum exposure and a nice dose of ROI as a result.
How do Google Ads even work?
Any digital marketers' goal is to make their ads more relevant to the people who see them, which naturally makes sense. But knowing how to increase relevance isn’t always an easy thing to do straight off the bat, especially when we already know Google has its sneaky ways of assessing criteria.
To get started, you’ll need to set up your Google Ads account and ensure your campaign settings are sitting where they should be and to do that, you will need to have a firm grasp on how this platform functions as a whole. So, let’s look at that step before we delve into the nitty-gritty stuff.
Ultimately, Google Ads operates through four hierarchical layers:
Account: You will already have this if you have an active Gmail account.
Campaign: You can start a new campaign under your Google account at any time.
Ad Groups: The demographics and targeting you use for each set of ads.
Keywords: The primary keyword each ad group is linked to.
When you map it visually, it looks like this:
In a nutshell, each ad group is smaller and more precise than the campaign you're running, so you may run a range of campaigns with multiple ad groups in each.
Let's say you're in the business of selling mountaineering gear and you'd want to launch a marketing campaign for mountain shoes. You can target "trekking shoes," "climbing shoes," "mountain boots," and so on for each ad category. In this example from SEMrush, your ad groups and targeting will look like this:
Once you’ve created ad groups with selected targeting and campaign specifics, it’s time to get into the hard work of creating the best possible quality score.
Understanding Ad Relevance in Google Ads
Ad relevancy is a term used by Google to describe the degree to which a campaign corresponds to the search intent of the user. For example, marketing women’s jumpers is not relevant to someone looking for men’s formal wear. Because of the keywords you choose and the ad text you write, the incorrect ad may show up, ending up in wasted budget, time and resources.
Ad relevance for Google Ads is determined by whether or not the search term appears in the headline of your ad and whether or not the post-click landing page matches up. Your ad relevancy will be better if your keywords and ad content are clearly linked, creating an undeniable connection between everything tied to your overall campaign.
The most important thing to understand is that the keywords you choose to target have a direct impact on ad relevance. If you do not do the due diligence and hard work at the beginning to research competitive phrases and linked audiences for your ad group sets or campaign, your quality score will suffer from a lack of relevancy. And if you’re not sure why this score matters so much, think of it this way:
Ad relevance = Positive quality score = Low cost-per-click
What makes up ad relevance?
While all of this might seem complicated, there’s a super-easy way to break down the Google Ads quality score into three separate measurements:
The expected click-through rate (CTR) of your ads
Ad relevance overall
Landing page relevance
When you look at each of these parts individually, you will become more aware of how they are influencing your quality score and where the work needs to be done.
If your Google Ads campaign is considered high-quality enough, it’s likely to yield an average or above-average CTR.
Source: Learn Hub
This is the measurement of the expected percentage of people who will click on your ad if it appears in the search results for the term they are looking for. For example, if someone searches for women’s jumpers, is returned your ad as a result, and is likely to click on it, this audience base makes up your pre-determined CTR.
Improving your expected CTR relies mostly on ensuring your keyword targeting is as tight as it can be, backed by careful split testing and frequent reviewing.
As previously stated, your themed ad groups need to be directly targeted to a page and the overall intent. Targeting one keyword and including an irrelevant ad and landing page or misaligned copy will lead to a poor relevancy score, influencing your overall rating for this part of your campaign.
Think of it as the relationship between your keywords the ads themselves and the post-click page content you’ve included as the final step. If one of these components doesn’t add up, your equation falls apart, leaving your quality score in disarray.
Landing pages and relevance
Visitors who have a great experience on the intended pages are more likely to take action. These pages are crucial in the buyer’s cycle because they give a ‘fearful’ or ‘hesitant’ customer the final push over the edge to take action and make the purchase. In fact, landing page content that directly addresses these concerns collect an 80% conversion rate on average.
But imagine if your page didn’t address these factors or was completely off-topic overall. You’re likely to leave the user frustrated and Google even more so, so your quality score will take the hit.
If you want to maximize the effectiveness of your PPC advertisements, improving the landing page experience is a must-do; there’s no escaping it.
At the end of the day, the ad's post-click content must be relevant to what the visitor was searching for initially, and provide the answers to their burning questions. This is where your keyword and ad copy choice will also come into play.
How to improve ad relevance on Google Ads
Firstly, create different ad group sets for each theme.
Create a distinct ad group for each of your products/services to target. Make sure to include relevant keywords in each new ad group you create. Having a plan in place can help you stay organised and relevant here. As a result, the viewers will receive exactly what they're looking for, rather than clicking on an ad and becoming annoyed.
Review your ad copy – and then review again.
An ad copy needs to hook in the audience and entice them to click. It also needs to include relevant keywords (for those nifty quality scores again) and creates a distinctive message overall. If the user can’t understand what you’re trying to promote to them, then the message is lost completely. Our pro tip here? Avoid jargon at all costs.
Examine your ad copy closely and assess whether it needs further refinement or if errors are visible. If you think you’ve hit the nail on the head, do a final check just to be sure.
Beyond checking over your content, there are a few other ways you can ‘jazz’ up your ad copy:
Use the official Google Advertisements Script to identify low-performing ads.
Conduct A/B testing without affecting the current flow of your campaigns
Ensure your ads match the content on the post-click landing page
Use emotive and ‘power words’ to entice the user.
Your audience and location-targeting should be segmented.
Imagine owning a clothing company that sells both Asian and Western apparel for people of all ages. Separate ad groups may be created for different age ranges, and campaigns can be created to reflect these differences in demographics.
Additionally, to raise the relevance score of your advertising efforts, you may also try experimenting with different places, times, and audiences overall to see which one packs a punch.
Block out negative keywords.
These phrases act as a preventative measure for your ad being shown for a certain keyword that you do not want to target at all. It stops it from showing up in search results for specific targeting, avoiding extra costs and wasted budget.
If there is a keyword you want to make sure you do not show up for, make sure you specify this in your targeting.
Examine your CTR further.
If your Google Ads CTR is low or below average, then there’s still work to be done. A low CTR may be caused by a variety of factors, including irrelevant target keywords or poor landing page experiences. To help increase this aspect and your resulting ad position, consider:
Making use of add-ons
Trying out a variety of ad formats
Using a well-thought-out bid strategy
Enhancing your quality rating
Using terms that are relevant.
At the end of the day, your ad performance depends on how much thought and strategy you've put into your ad relevance score. From your post-ad click landing page, through to correlation to user's search, all of this influences the end result.
Put in the hard work at the start and you'll see a much better impact across your campaigns. Remember that compelling ads come with:
A compelling ad headline
Relevant post-click landing page
Tightly themed ad groups
A strategic campaign structure
Quality user experience.
Keep these in mind and you'll end up with a better ad position and high-quality score that powers up your digital marketing efforts from start to finish.