Google AdWords Launches Greater Visibility Into Quality Score Components

Great article by Jennifer Pepper of Unbounce about changes to Google AdWords Quality Score reporting:

A recent update to Google AdWords is changing the way performance marketers understand their landing pages’ Quality Scores.

While Quality Score is a critical factor in your ad performance, it’s always been a bit of a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

Marketers have never been able to natively view changes to Quality Score components in AdWords directly. That is — even though expected click through rate, ad relevance and landing page experience scores are the elements contributing to your Quality Score, you haven’t been able to see these individual scores at scale (or for given timeframes) within your AdWords account, or export them into Excel.

Which is why, up until now, some especially savvy marketers have had to improvise workarounds, using third-party scripts to take daily snapshots of Quality Score to have some semblance of historical record — and a better-informed idea as to changes in performance.

Fortunately, an AdWords reporting improvement has brought new visibility into Quality Score components that could help you diagnose some real wins with your ads and corresponding landing pages.

What’s different now?

As you may have already noticed, there are now seven new columns added to your menu of Quality Score metrics including three optional status columns:

  • Expected CTR
  • Ad Relevance and
  • Landing Page Experience

And four revealing historical keyword quality:

  • Quality Score (hist.)
  • Landing Page Experience (hist.)
  • Ad Relevance (hist.)
  • Expected Click Through Rate (hist.)

metrics

This is not new data per se (it’s been around in a different, less accessible form), but as of this month you can now see everything in one spot and understand when certain changes to Quality Score have occurred.

So how can you take advantage?

There are two main ways you can use this AdWords improvement to your advantage as a performance marketer:

  1. Now you can see whether your landing page changes are positively influencing Quality Score

Now, after you make changes to a landing page — you can use AdWords’ newest reporting improvement to see if you have affected the landing page experience portion of your Quality Score over time.

This gives you a chance to prove certain things are true about the performance of your landing pages, whereas before you may have had to use gut instinct about whether a given change to a landing page was affecting overall Quality Score (or whether it was a change to the ad, for example).

As Blaize Bolton, Team Strategist at Performance Marketing Agency Thrive Digital told me:

As agency marketers, we don’t like to assume things based on the nature of our jobs. We can now pinpoint changes to Quality Score to a certain day, which is actual proof of improvement. To show this to a client is a big deal.

Overall, if your CPC drops, now you can better understand whether it may be because of changes made to a landing page.

  1. You can identify which keywords can benefit most from an updated landing page

Prior to this AdWords update, ad relevancy, expected click through rate and landing page relevancy data existed, but you had to mouse over each keyword to get this data to pop up on a keyword-by-keyword basis. Because you couldn’t analyze the data at scale, you couldn’t prioritize your biggest opportunities for improvement.

keywords

However, now that you can export this data historically (for dates later than January 22, 2016), you can do a deep dive into your campaigns and identify where a better, more relevant landing page could really help.

You can now pull every keyword in your AdWords account — broken out by campaign — and identify any underperforming landing pages.

campaign

Now, an Excel deep dive into your AdWords campaigns can help you reveal landing page weaknesses.

 

Specifically, here’s what Thrive Digital’s Managing Director Ross McGowan recommends:

You can break down which of your landing pages are above average, or those that require tweaking. For example, you might index your campaigns by the status AdWords provides, assigning anything “Above Average” as 3, “Average” as 2 and “Below Average” as 1. You can then find a weighted average for each campaign or ad group and make a call on what to focus on from there.

What should you do when you notice a low landing page experience score?

As Google states, landing page experience score is an indication of how useful the search engine believes your landing page is to those who click on your ad. They recommend to, “make sure your landing page is clear and useful… and that it is related to your keyword and what customers are searching for.”

In short, it’s very important that your landing pages are highly relevant to your ad. Sending traffic to generic pages on your website may not cut it. Moreover, once you are noticing low landing page engagement scores, it’s time to try optimising these pages with some quick wins.

In the words of Thrive’s Ross McGowan:

Figure out what a user wants, and do everything you can to tailor the on-page experience to them. Whether that be [using] Dynamic Text Replacement, A/B testing elements to get the best user experience, or spending less time on technical issues and more on writing great content.

Finally, for more on AdWords’ latest improvements, AdAlysis founder Brad Geddes has written a great article on Search Engine Land.

His company had enough data on hand to attempt a reverse-engineer of the formula for Quality Score to get a sense of how changes to one of the QS components would impact overall score.

Brad’s recommendation is much the same as Ross’: if a landing page’s score is particularly low, your best bet is to focus on increasing user interaction with the page.

If you want to learn more about this, or just have a chat about how magenta7 can help in this area, just drop as a note here

 

 

What makes a great contact page?

In this post, we’ll go over a number of contact page examples, so you’ll be able to review your own contact page and improve it. For a lot of companies, that contact page is the main reason they have a website in the first place. For others, the contact page filters or manages all incoming contact requests. The correct information on these contact pages, combined with for instance a map or relative images, really improves user experience. And that way you can even use your contact page to improve the overall SEO of your website.

Please understand that there is more than one way to look at a contact page. Some websites use it to direct customers to their customer service, others fill their contact page with call-to-actions and direct visitors to their sales team. Small businesses will use their contact page to direct people to their store or office. What works for others, might not work for your contact page. It highly depends on what kind of business you have. Go read and decide for yourself what improves your contact page!

Essential elements of your contact page
Think about what you are looking for when visiting a contact page on any website. You may be big fan of making a phone call or, maybe you’d rather email a company. Personally, I prefer a contact form on some occasions and an actual email address on others. So I’d advise you to provide both. Let’s look at all the essentials:

Company name.
Company address.
General company phone number.
General company email address.
Contact form.
Multiple departments

If you have more than one department that can be reached by phone or email, list all. Add a clear heading and the details of how that department can be contacted. An example: universities and hospitals usually have separate departments for students, patients, press, business opportunities and more. Youtube has a variety of departments/directions to point you to on their contact page. Obviously, these departments should only be listed if their details should be available for everyone visiting that website.

Spice up your contact page
Contact pages that list the bare necessities are dull. And there is so much more you can do to spice up that contact page!

Why and when should I contact you?
It sounds so obvious, but you actually might want to tell your visitors why and when they should or shouldn’t contact you. It pays off to create a safe environment, to assure people you have no annoying holding tunes, that you’ll connect them with a human being from minute one, or simply that you won’t be taking calls after 2PM for whatever reason.

By explaining a bit more about your contact policies, you a) add text to an otherwise dull page and b) are able to manage expectations. Hubspot pointed me to this nice contact page example that does this very well: the contact page of ChoiceScreening.

An awesome call-to-action
Add a great call-to-action to your contact page. That could be a button at the bottom of your contact form, but also a phone number that is displayed in a prominent spot. Just make sure it’s immediately clear what you want your visitor to do on that contact page. Pick your preferred contact method.

We’re good at designing websites, contact pages and other web-related items. Give Andy a call on 07787 151613 or email him on [email protected] or use the form on our Contact page – he’ll be happy to advise you.

Content SEO – how to analyse your audience

To write appealing text for your audience, you need to know them. Who are the people that read your stories, visit your website. require your service?

Who are the people that search for the terms you want to be found for? Where do they come from? How old are they? What are they interested in? And how will you be able to reach those people again? In this post I’ll help you with analysing your audience, as this is essential for SEO.

Why should I analyze my audience?
If you don’t know much about your audience, it can be quite hard to write text and interesting articles for them. Should you write text that is difficult or very easy to read? Which topics will interest them the most? Which search terms do they use? What blog post will make them come back to your site? These questions are especially important if you want your audience to become regular visitors to your website or if you want them to buy something from your online shop. If you know a lot about your audience, it will be much easier to adapt your text to them. As a result, you’ll become more successful in selling your stuff and gaining those return visitors.

How do I analyse my audience?
There are several ways of analysing your audience. We’ve listed the ones we like to use below. To really get to know the people who come to your website, we’d advise to use all these different ways of analysing.

1. Google Analytics
The best way to start analysing your audience is by using Google Analytics. Google Analytics will tell you at what time a day your audience is on your site; where they’re from (at least from which city and country); which pages they like most and whether they use a desktop or a mobile device. That’s all valuable and usable information.

Closely monitor which pages and blog post generate much traffic and investigate possible patterns. Perhaps posts about a certain topic generate a lot of traffic, while posts about other topics don’t get many visitors. Use that information when choosing the topic of your next blog post.

2. Facebook Insights
Google Analytics can tell you a lot about the visitors on your website, but if you want to know more about the people you reach on Facebook you’ll need to use Facebook Insights. Check which posts get many views and which posts don’t get attention from your audience. Experiment with buying adds on Facebook too. Of course, every social media platform has its own analytics. Monitor the analytics of the channels you use on a regular basis.

3. Surveys
A great way of getting to know your audience is to have them fill out an online questionnaire. In a survey, you can ask them anything you want. You can, for instance, set up a survey that pops up when someone enters your site or you can send a survey invitation to your newsletter subscribers or to the buyers of your products. There are lots of packages that allow for online questionnaires.

Remember that most people do not participate in online surveys. Still, if your audience is large, you’ll easily get a decent amount of people to fill out your questionnaire. To get more participants you can always try to win them over by raffling a nice incentive among the respondents.

Please note that it’s always a certain group of people that’ll be willing to fill out a survey. That group is highly selective and not representative for your entire audience.

4. Talking to your audience
Just having a conversation with a part of your audience also remains a great way to find out more about them. In an online questionnaire, you can ask a lot of people about your product, but their answers will probably remain shallow. If you’re able to really talk to some of the people from your audience in person, that could help you to get a better idea about who your audience are. Ask them what they like best about your website, your products, or your blog posts. Ask them why they come back to your website. Invite them to talk about their experience and don’t be scared of some criticism.

5. Comments
If you want to analyse your audience and find out what kind of people it consists of, you should analyse the comments on your blogpost. What are people saying about you or about your post in the comments below your articles? Which aspects of your blog post are they talking about in their comments? Which topics are so important to them, that they are willing to engage? Analyse comments on your website, and don’t forget to monitor comments on social media either!

Analysing your audience can be a tough nut to crack. Google Analytics and the analytic tools of the numerous social media platforms are useful, but don’t tell much about the intentions or desires of your audiences. Surveys are great, but as most people won’t fill out an online questionnaire, the data aren’t that valid and representative for your entire audience. Talking to your audience can bring useful insights, but you won’t be able to have a conversation with all of them either.

All the different ways of analysing your audience do add value in their own way though. Using them all will give you a clear impression of your audience.

We’re good at all of the above – and if you would like a no-pressure chat about how we could work with you to improve your website, give Andy a call on 07787 151613, he’ll be happy to talk about it with you – and buy you a cup of coffee if/when you meet up.

Meta Keywords – why we don’t use them

You would think this blog article would be redundant by now: people know that the meta keyword tag is useless nowadays, right? The truth is that we still see site owners using meta keywords on their website. In addition to that, people are still searching for meta keywords according to Google Trends, although there seem to be fewer queries than 5 years ago. That’s why we republish this post about the uselessness of meta keywords for SEO once again.

What are (or were) meta keywords?

The meta keywords element dates back to 1995. People were still searching the web using AltaVista and Infoseek and the web was still gloriously innocent. You could add a meta tag on a page, indicating that page’s main keywords. It looked something like this:


This meta keywords element (like all meta elements) is invisible to visitors but visible to search engines. The keywords you put into this element’s content attribute would then be used as a ranking factor by the search engines.

If this sounds like you’re asking Google directly to just rank you for whatever keyword you want: that’s what it was. If you think “that’s too easy”: you’re right, it turned out to be. Of course, as the web became more commercial, people started spamming this keywords element and search engines began ignoring it.

It’s important to note that the meta keywords tag has nothing to do with the focus keyword in your SEO plan. The focus keyword is a feature of your SEO that is used to determine whether you’ve optimised your page well for the keyword you want to rank for. It’s not a signal that we give to search engines in and off itself.

If you’ve got a site that hasn’t been optimised, had an SEO review and update in the last few years – you might be using these… get in touch and ;et’s have a look at it for you. Call Andy on 07787 151613, he’ll be happy to chat to you about it.