• RyanMJones

    I’m glad you posted this. There’s a lot of people in the industry who don’t know this. I’m also glad to see you reference TF-IDF for SEO. I’ve long held that the algorithm weights change based on the result set and it’s nice to see some alluding to that.

  • http://www.TheeDesign.com/ Raleigh Web Design

    Oh man this info would have been helpful while studying for the AdWords exam! Oh well. It’s good to see that a lot of the info goes along with what those in the industry sort of already understood anyway. And the Moz infographic about the AdWords landscape (posted here: http://www.theedesign.com/blog/2013/google-adwords-in-2013-infographic ) ties in nicely with these points as well. Anyway, thanks for sharing this valuable info!

  • Kohki Yamaguchi

    Great insights on the inner workings of QS. Very informative, and thanks for the link!

  • http://www.LeadDiscovery.com/ Jerry Nordstrom

    QS has come a long way, but it still falls down in competitive markets where the conversion takes place offline.

    If an advertiser creates an add that is shall we say on the edge of truthfulness for a service, and the landing page is sufficiently vague as not to counter the ad’s claim then a high CTR is still rewarded by Google to that company. The visitor may never know the deception until further down the sales cycle… or perhaps with a smooth sales rep never at all.

    This happens frequently in the mortgage and insurance field. They offer one “incredible rate” in the ad which leads to a landing page with general information about that rate and they rely on the sales rep to deal with the “clarification”… or the real rate that they are being offered. Just search for “30 year fixed mortgage rate” and see how many false and deceptive ads with landing pages there are.

    Sure you can be caught and the FTC or DOC may hand your hat to you, but this has been going on for at least 8 years.

    In some models CTR makes it worthwhile to cheat the system. Honest marketers like us end up being punished with truth in advertising.

    Google’s fault? No, but it is an end result of CTR that marketers should be aware of.

  • Garen

    It’s not Google’s job to regulate and police every single industry in order to create a fair marketplace for you. That’s what watch dogs are for. If your competitors are bait and switching the end user, I imagine they would have a really difficult time sustaining their spend levels on AdWords over the short term as their ROI would be in the toilet.

  • dralfredbellows

    Frederick: Thanks for the insight. I’ve been managing our AdWords and online SEO for a few years now, and it always helps to have someone who understand the vernacular and formulas give me a plain explanation. Much appreciated!

  • http://www.toptiertools.com/ Frederick Vallaeys

    Glad you found this article useful! Someone on the team explained it to me with the whole triangle concept one day and that made it so easy to grasp that I thought it was worth sharing more broadly…

  • Tara Dee West

    Really useful post – I didn’t realise they favour looking at the CTR when the keyword matches the search query exactly – that’s good to know as I’ve often wondered how this might have affected broad match keywords where you naturally have less control over the relevance of the search query.

  • http://www.LeadDiscovery.com/ Jerry Nordstrom

    Garen you may wish to actually read the full comments of a post before you respond negatively.

    “Google’s fault? No, but it is an end result of CTR that marketers should be aware of.”

    I never said Google must regulate and police for my purposes – those are the misguided words you have chosen to overlay on my comments. The article focused on the effectiveness of QS my comment is to point out that although there has been progress, there are still areas that need to be worked on. The examples used were not to complain about our personal competition as you suggest, but instead to identify two of the larger industries where offline sales take place and QS can be gamed.

    “ROI would be in the toilet” You may not have been involved in these particular industries, so I understand your standpoint here. These companies have refined sales techniques to convert a prospect who has responded to “watered down marketing”. I won’t go so far as to say bait and switch, but rather enticing response through exclusion of important considerations and then hard selling on the back end. They do achieve positive ROI.

    To be clear it is not Google’s fault, nor responsibility to validate every claim an advertiser makes. This mainly falls on the FTC who’m I believe are still busy trying to clean up the perils of fax spam!

  • Stephen Murphy

    “a high CTR is still rewarded by Google to that company”

    Google does not award CTR to advertisers, CTR comes from the percentage of clicks out of impressions.

  • http://www.LeadDiscovery.com/ Jerry Nordstrom

    Hi Stephen, the opperative word I used is rewarded, not award. Clearly Google does not award you a CTR. By achieving a high CTR with misleading ads you are in part rewarded with a higher QS. This is the thrust of my point. I like the progress Google has made, I don’t hold them accountable for false ads (unless they knowingly ignore them to increase profits), that said this does not negate the fact that the model has a weakness in this area.

  • Mayur More

    Nice inputs, Will help a lot for New as well as existing campaigns. Improving QS is the most critical job in every PPC campaign.

  • Iris

    Great article. Anyone have any tips on getting back on Google adwords’ good graces? Once they suspend you for no apparent reason, it seems impossible to start up anew.

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  • Jordan McClements


    Thanks for the article.

    But I’d be very interested if you were able to expand on one thing…

    “Where possible, they also favor looking at the CTR when the keyword in your account matches the search query exactly”

    (My understanding was that they “look at” rather than they “favor looking at”)?