Hoo boy! I went through this interview to try and extract the most important points made, and I will do the best I can here. However, if you are a serious AdWords professional, I’d suggest you read the entire interview from end to end.
The main thing you will get from this interview is that the Quality Score you see in your Google AdWords account differs significantly from the Real Time Quality Score that Google uses to determine how your ad ranks. There is definitely a strong correlation, so Quality Score is a useful metric, but an understanding of Real Time Quality Score can give you an extra edge in understanding what it is you need to do to make your optimization efforts as successful as possible.
Quality Score is the number you see in your Google AdWords account. It is a number between 1 and 10, where 1 is a horrible score, and 10 is an awesome score. Some key points about Quality Score are:
- It is mostly based on historical clickthrough rates of the keyword and ad text.
- Additional factors include landing page quality and load time of the page, but these are secondary factors.
- Quality Score (QS) is based on data from exact match only. Even if you bid on a broad match keyword, such as “cruises”, only exact matches with the keyword are used to determine the QS.
- The published number is the aggregate for all instances of that keyword in your account.
- When you first add keywords into an new account, Google will show the system wide average for that keyword as your Quality Score.
- If you have an existing account, and you add a new keyword, than the account history is a factor in the default Quality Score.
Real Time Quality Score is the number used by Google to help determine your ad rank. It has a lot in common with QS, but is calculated in real time and takes into account many additional factors. Some key points about Real Time Quality Score (RTQS) include:
- Specific query performance is taking in to account. For example, if you bid on “tennis shoes” and someone searches on “discount tennis shoes”, but you sell only expensive tennis shoes, chances are that the resulting user interactions will end up in a low RTQS for this particular query.
- RTQS is personalized to the user based on query history. For example, a recent search on “Rome” followed by a search on “hotels” is more likely to show adds for hotels in Rome.
- RTQS personalization is session based. Once the session cookie is deleted the query history used for personalization is lost.
- Other personalization factors include location and time of day.
- The +1 button does not factor into RTQS … yet. However, it can impact QS and RTQS by increasing Clickthrough rate.
- +1 is associated with the URL, regardless of whether or not it is clicked on in the ad, organic results, or on the web page.
- Site links drive CTR increases ranking from 17% to 30% and can also result in more qualified customers (higher conversion).
- CTR expectations are normalized by position. So if the number 1 position usually gets a 30% CTR and you are getting 20% that is a negative.
- RTQS is determined at the keyword-ad level. There are no ad group or campaign components to RTQS.
That’s it for the summary points. However, in the body of the interview there is much more, including Frederick’s recommended process for optimizing your QS and RTQS, lots of examples, and why bidding your keywords high when you first launch them is a smart thing to do.