Poor Keyword Quality Scores in Existing Adwords Account

I recently launched a new Google Adwords campaign for a client. This client had tried Adwords several years ago with a trial campaign that they ran for several months. They didn’t have any noticeable success with it and turned it off. The account sat for several years with no action until the client hired me. I had asked the client about opening a new account, but they preferred to use the original account. I had not seen significant problems with using an existing account with another campaign in it, so I loaded the new campaign into the old account.

I started turning ad groups on and thought it was curious that the majority the quality scores were twos. There were a few ones mixed in, as if that were any better. I was used to new campaigns starting out with a quality score of seven, so this was not the norm. I tried increasing some of the bids to see if this would alter the quality scores and it did not. With a quality score of two, my new ads weren’t even running. No client wants to hear their ads aren’t running, they want to see results.

I took a deeper look into the original, paused campaign that was still in the account. In looking at the quality score of the keywords still in the campaign, they were all low twos and threes with a handful of fours. It appeared that in this case, the historical account information was drastically altering the quality score of the new campaign.

Just to double check, I called the support staff at Google and verified that new keywords will inherit a quality score from the historical performance in an account. When no historical information exists, the quality score can initially be determined from the performance of that keyword across the whole market. If it has performed poorly across the board for the majority of Google Adwords customers, it will start out with a low quality score in a new program as well.

I knew that in this case there were good keywords involved that were relevant to the landing pages and were included in the ads. I had segmented like keywords into closely related ad groups. I had used best practices to put the new campaign together. This was not an instance of poorly performing keywords.

Google suggested opening a new Adwords account to see if that fixed the problem. They also suggested increasing the bids to see if that had any effect. The Googler that I talked to said he wouldn’t be surprised if the new account had no effect on the poor quality scores and thought it was more an issue of the bidding being too low.

I opened a new Adwords account and within 10 minutes had quality scores of six and seven, where in the original account, I was still looking at twos for the same keywords. I tried a little experimenting with bids in both accounts, just to see what would happen. In the old account I significantly increased bids on two ad groups. I waited for several hours to see what would happen. It did not increase the quality score on any of the keywords. I tried the same thing in the new account with the same group of keywords. I had increased quality scores by at least one point within ten minutes on a large number of keywords in the ad group.

In the end, I moved all the ad groups and keywords into the new account. The program started generating impressions and click throughs in the first few hours. In conclusion, I would recommend starting a new Adwords account when launching a new campaign where a previous campaign existed that had poor performance.

Have you had a similar experience with quality scores in a new Adwords campaign? Share your thoughts with us.

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