Quality Score can be a frustrating concept for a Paid Search Marketer. We are used to immediacy and hard results, but Quality Score is always a little less tangible. The other day we were brainstorming ideas for an account that has broad keyword targeting and therefore low CTR's and poor Quality Score. We decided to make a small tweak to our Display URL and move the term after the forward slash, in front of the domain. In the previous format the domain was the only text extended to the headline but when keywords precede the domain, Google also allows them to show in the title. This resulted in a format similar to extended headlines and significantly improved metrics.
During the two week test, we ran the exact same ads with two different Display URL's. The new URL had a CTR 28% stronger, CPC's 13% lower and Conversion Rate 67% stronger. However, the biggest gain that came from the test was improved Quality Score. Our highest volume keyword had been at #1 since launch and moved to #2 during the testing period, a major improvement that has now shown even further improvements on CPC's.
While a large majority of Paid Search is data and analysis driven, this experiment exemplifies how it can also be very basic graphic design. Figuring out how you can manipulate your ads to drive the right format can lead to a substantial increase in site traffic. This is a practice that Google is constantly using and becomes extremely apparent in a 10 year difference of the Google Search Results Page for the keyword 'flight'. Their constant tweaking has lead to a 12% increase in Paid Search CTR this past year, which is something Paid Search Marketers should be taking advantage of within their own creative units. It will not only lead to naturally improved metrics, but Google should also reward you with improved Quality Score for following their own best practices.