Google Grade Grubbing

Google Grade Grubbing to Improve Your Quality Score

In high school, I discovered an easy way to impress my English teachers. Whenever we discussed a novel or short story in class, at some point I would raise my hand and offer the following insight:

"It’s almost like [setting where the story takes place] is a character in the story."

My teachers would inevitably get this misty look, like they were remembering why they went into teaching in the first place, and respond with something like, "Yes, Howie, that’s very observant. [Famous Writer] often used [that setting] to convey his [almost always "his"] world view, in the same way that he used his characters."

So, in action:

A Separate Peace:

Me: "It’s almost like the Devon River is another character in the story."
Mr. Krasner: "Yes, Howie, that’s very observant. John Knowles often drew upon the natural features of rural New Hampshire to convey something of the fragility of human relationships."

The Magic Barrel:

Me: "It’s almost like the street corner where Leo meets Stella is another character in that last scene."
Ms. Comba: "Yes, Howie, that’s very observant. Malamud grew up in Brooklyn, and was often drawn to descriptions of light and darkness on Brooklyn streets as symbols of the inner struggles of his characters."

I could go on and on…

The point was, it was an easy and predictable way to grade grub, which for some reason had and still has a negative connotation (at least among the kids who used to beat me up after class).

Wanna grade grub with Google? It can be as easy as doing a few simple things…

Keep your ad group keyword lists small

Each ad group should have only a few keywords, all very closely related to each other.  Here’s an example of a bad keyword list (much too broad):

tea
green tea
organic tea
iced tea
loose tea bags
coffee
soda
egg cream
seltzer

And here’s a much better keyword list:

green tea
loose green tea
bagged green tea
organic green tea

The reason you want tightly focused ad groups, of course, is so you can…

Match your ad to your keywords

What ad could you write for the bad, overly broad keyword list? "Yowza, Have We Got Beverages" is about the best you could do for a headline.

But for the Green Tea ad group, you could produce a headline like, "Green Tea From Around the World" or "Organic Green Tea" or just plain old "Green Tea."

Match your landing page to your keywords

Google categorizes web pages relative to search terms according to the following hierarchy:

1. Vital
2. Useful
3. Relevant
4. Not Relevant
5. Off-Topic
6. Spam

In order to get an OK or Great quality score, your site needs to score somewhere in the first three categories.

So you need to match the keyword to the content of the landing page. Put the keyword in the title tag, the top-level heading tag, and alt-tags for images. Write the content of that page specifically for a visitor who searched for the particular keyword. And signal to Google that you are adding value, in the same way that my "setting as character" gambit told my English teacher that I was a thoughtful, deep, literary playa.

In a future newsletter, you’ll discover how to ratchet your site from "relevant" to "useful" (and possibly to "vital"). But that’s advanced stuff – like actually reading the book in English class.

Worth doing – but you can definitely score a passing grade with Google simply by doing the basics consistently.

After all, "It’s almost like the Quality Score is another character in your AdWords campaigns."

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BONUS BOP QUOTES (for reading this far):

High School: the mouse race to prepare you for the rat race.
– Unknown

When I got out of high school they retired my jersey, but it was for hygiene and sanitary reasons.
– George Carlin

I have never been jealous. Not even when my dad finished fifth grade a year before I did.
– Jeff Foxworthy

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.
– Albert Einstein

In 1765, Parliament passed the Stamp Act, which, as any American high school student can tell you, was an act that apparently had something to do with stamps.
– Dave Barry

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