New changes to Google AdWords Quality Score

by Josh Todd on August 22, 2008

Google is doing it again.  Although they are sure to be controversial (they always are), these changes could benefit Affiliate Marketers a lot more than the last few rounds of changes.

Here are the changes:

  • Quality Score will now be more accurate because it will be calculated at the time of each search query
  • Keywords will no longer be marked ‘inactive for search’
  • ‘First page bid’ will replace ‘minimum bid’ in your account

The first point on the list is huge.  Instead of using a broad Quality Score to determine the placement of your ads, Google will be calculating the Quality Score on the fly based on a number of factors.  These factors include Keywords and Geographical Location.  In my opinion, it’s about time Google implemented an automatic Geo-Targeting method for ads, and it’s finally here.  How nice would it be to never have to worry about paying for clicks that get sent to a “country-specific redirect”.  There have been controls to specify what countries your ad gets placed in for years, but nevertheless it still happens.

The second change involves keywords no longer being labeled ‘Inactive for Search’.  This won’t necessarily be a huge boon to search marketers, but it does increase the overall pool of terms & keywords that can be targeted, even if they are extremely longtail.  More keywords equals more clicks and revenue for affiliate marketers.

Possibly the biggest change is the new ‘First Page Bid’ listing.  It has long been a guessing game to figure out the sweet spot between paying too much for clicks, and having your ads show up on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th page of results.  Some might say that this will cause an upward trend in keyword bid prices, because inexperienced marketers will now know how much they need to bid to get on the first page.  I don’t see this being a long term issue, because they will either run out of money or decide it’s not worth it to bid with the big boys because they can’t get the traffic to back out for them.

My feeling is, the more transparency that Google has, the better.  It’s no fun trying to guess what you need to do to be successful as a search marketer.  The more information we have about how the system works, the better that we will be able to use it and optimize our campaigns to be as profitable as possible.  It doesn’t matter how complicated the system is, the cream will rise to the top.  If you are a full time affiliate marketer, you should take these changes and run with them to gain a lead on the competition as quickly as possible.

If you want to read the changes for yourself, checkout the official post on the AdWords Blog.

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