SES: Search Speaks Up On Ad Quality Scores

    April 10, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

A controversial piece of the SEM puzzle considers whether or not a marketer’s advertisement suits the quality requirements of the search engines. A session at SES New York brought out the opinions from reps of Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft about ads and quality scores.

Search Speaks Up On Ad Quality Scores
Search Speaks Up On Ad Quality Scores
Who Can Compete with Google?

The trio of speakers from those search advertising companies at the SES New York question and answer session on “Ads In A Quality Score World” talked in general terms about quality ad strategy.

When it came to specifics, people like Nick Fox, Ads Quality product manager at Google, stuck with the standard line about serving the users by providing quality ads. “In the long term our focus on the users builds trust with searchers so it ultimately increases clicks,” he said. “We have many engineers looking at improving the user experience.”

Google would prefer that advertisers quit worrying about the ‘black box’ that assigns the quality scores affecting keyword prices. “Don’t worry about quality scores; focus on relevance. This is the message we would like to get across,” Nick said.

During the Q&A session, Nick did confirm one much-rumored point about quality scores. There are two different ones: one for bid, and one for rank. The landing page quality score is not used in the ranking score. Nick thinks these will merge eventually.

“You can always revert back to your original landing page if you don’t get good results,” he said of low-performing landing pages. But don’t wait for Google to disclose quality scores. Nick cringes at the thought of millions of websites designed around Google those; that’s why Google will not give quality score feedback.

Microsoft has the opposite approach in mind. Brian Boland, a group marketing manager with Microsoft’s adCenter, said they plan to be transparent with quality scores. He’s promised adCenter will publish information that will help webmasters pick up good quality scores for the product.

AdCenter won’t be a scammer free-for-all. “We don’t like arbitragers and spam,” Boland said. “We want to protect the users and their search experience.” Anything that’s designed for clicks rather than users will raise the red flags, he promised.

Gulshan Verma, a director of product marketing with Yahoo Search Marketing, recommended testing one’s site for quality results regularly. “At least with Yahoo there are no penalties for this,” Verma said.