Resuscitating keywords with poor Quality Score

A reader wonders:

I took some of my most active keywords and moved them out of one ad group into their own ad specific ad group. The only problem is they are being copied with their crappy quality score intact. I was hoping they would generate a new, higher quality score in their own specialized ad group. Any way to circumvent the bad history and start a star out with a clean slate?

My reply:

Quality score is based on the interaction between keyword, ad, and landing page – and wrapped up in the overall quality assessment of your account and website. If you simply move a keyword into a new ad group with a different ad, you’ve changed only one small part of the equation.

If you create a different landing page specific to your keyword (one that follows Google’s guidelines), you will see an improvement in quality score as soon as Google sees your new keyword.

Now – some keywords are never going to have great quality scores, regardless of what you do. That’s because they have a “Google-wide” history of low CTR, or just don’t get searched much. In that case, realize that Google is grading on a curve, and that everyone bidding on that keyword is suffering the same indignity. All you have to do is be better than your competitors – you don’t need to see that Gold Star of “Great” next to every keyword.

So to answer your question – there’s no “clean slate.” There’s just improvement. But as long as you’re playing the game according to Google’s rules (which basically means aiming to give a good quality experience to the humans who see your ads), you should see better quality scores by adhering to the best practices Google preaches.

For a comprehensive guide to improving your quality score,

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  1. #1 • Kevin Light said on January 5 2009:

    Thank you for answering the question, Howie. Best wishes for a great year!