Quality scores in Google PPC campaigns can be a complete pain. Everyone wants to get a better quality score but sometimes no matter how hard you try there is no way of getting that score up from where it sits. And the longer it sits there the harder it can seem to move it at all.
Talking recently to Google’s helpdesk we were made aware of something that we hadn’t come across before, namely that quality score can be affected by organic listings. This seems strange but it goes like this. When someone searches on a keyword and your PPC advert is shown, if the searcher chooses to click on an organic listing over the PPC listing then it makes sense that it’s more relevant, and as it’s more relevant then it must mean that your PPC advert isn’t the most relevant thing on the page and therefore your quality score should be reduced to reflect this fact.
We were a little taken aback by this revelation and whilst it sort of makes sense it doesn’t help if you are trying to run a lean PPC campaign. Looking on Google’s own pages it makes no mention of organic search, nor the fact that you can end up with a ‘sticky’ quality score.
So what can you do about this? Well ultimately, nothing. Google owns search in the UK and it owns the PPC that runs on it. If it decides that the playing field slopes that way then you either have to accept it and still play the game or find another way to do business. And we’re still waiting for someone to come up with a reasonable alternative….