Apologies to our readers for being away for a bit. We could blame it on laziness but the real truth is we’ve just been silly busy with our own projects.  Unlilke other PPC blogs out there (cough cough…PPC Hero) we aren’t a blog with a team of writers regurgitating PPC best practice to drive traffic to our own websites for our own gains…

Which is we guess what makes Black Hat PPC different…we our an ad free blog and we are anonymous…we do this blog for one reason and one reason alone…

We dont believe everything our ‘ dont be evil’ friends at Google say. So we voice our opinions against,  lets face it, the biggest and most innovative company in the World. (we think its fair to say we are underdogs!)

Now before you think we are Google haters…we aren’t…the World is a better place for Google, we all have jobs and work in the Search industry as a result of Google. But having said that it doesn’t matter if it’s Google or some other company. ..the issue is that we work in a rapidly developing industry worth millions and millions of dollars/ pounds/euros/ yen/milk tokens. But we want to voice our thoughts  that whilst working with Google we don’t believe everything they say.

Let is take the latest example of Google hippocracy…an article they posted this week on their blog regarding Google Quality Score…


As part of our ongoing efforts to help improve the quality of our ads, we’re announcing an update that changes how each keyword’s 1-10 numeric Quality Score is reported in AdWords. Under the hood, this reporting update will tie your 1-10 numeric Quality Score more closely to its three key sub factors — expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience. We expect this update to reach all advertisers globally within the next several days.

We’re making this change so that the Quality Score in your reports more closely reflects the factors that influence the visibility and expected performance of your ads. We hope that providing you more transparency into your 1-10 Quality Score will help you improve the quality of your ads.Please note that this is only a change to how a keyword’s 1-10 Quality Score is reported. It does not change how Quality Score is calculated in real-time for each auction, and thus won’t have any direct effect on your ad performance. So unless you have automated rules tied directly to your reported 1-10 Quality Score, your ads should continue to behave as they did before.We believe this improvement will make it easier for you to take specific action to improve your ads and to recognize when your changes are working. Our goal in making this update is to provide you with a better understanding of your Quality Score to help you run a more effective AdWords campaign.

To review the basics of Quality Score, please see our help center article on how to check and understand Quality Score. We also recommend reviewing 10 things you should know about Ads Quality, which addresses frequent questions and common misconceptions on Quality Score and other external factors that influence the performance of your ads.

Posted by Jen Huang, AdWords Product Manager


Thanks Jen for this amazingly vague article! This article implies that Google has changed its Quality Score algorithm. But it doesn’t go into detail about how.

 Well let us tell you how… 

Google has turned its ‘magic dial’ in the background that has improved the overall Quality Score numbers that are being reported across accounts. We track Quality Score across a number of advertisers that we run PPC campaigns for (yeah, contrary to popular belief, we aren’t just PPC geeks sat in a garage somewhere…we have access to Millions of pounds worth of advertiser spend with Google AdWords) and we have seen Quality Score increase dramatically in the last month or so.

Why has Quality Score increased?

Well we’d like to think its thanks to our amazing optimisation skills, however, we have been tracking Quality Score for years now and we have seen increase of up to 2 numbers in the last few weeks across the accounts we monitor. So where as you may have an average Quality Score of 6.5 for your keywords in your account, its all of a sudden jumped to 8.5!!!

Why the dramatic increase in Quality Score?

Simple…in two words…Enhanced Campaigns! 

Enhanced Campaigns means that landing page Quality Score is in totally disarray as advertisers are now landing keywords on both Mobile and Desktop websites, how relevant are each or those landing pages? Sure they are different…but how is Google calculating Quality Score when you have keywords and ads going to different sites? What if your desktop site is optimised to your keywords but your Mobile site is total garbage with no relevance to your keywords or ads? How is Google attributing Quality Score? We dont think even Google know.

Why has Google done this?

Even more simple…they know that there are many PPC professionals out there who track Quality Score. Studies are due to come out any time now showing increase/decrease in CPC’s as a result of Enhanced Campaigns. Everyone in the industry is expecting it, but the funny thing is, that Mobile CPC’s aren’t increasing as much as first estimated (maybe 5% overall) as advertisers are ‘dialling down’ their Mobile Bid Modifiers. Where CPC’s are going up is on Tablet (about 20%) as advertisers have no control over their Tablet bids as they are the same as Desktop bids now. (If you are reading this and dont work in PPC, apologies, we have probably lost you long ago!)

So is it just a coincidence that Google amend their Quality Score algorithm just after Enhanced Campaigns are implemented?

We dont think so. This is just a cunning way of Google hiding the way of CPC’s increasing. They have turned the dial on PPC to increase this nomial score called Quality Score, to give advertisers a better score and can claim that is due to better relevancy of ads. However, as in SEO and PageRank…Quality Score is just a made up number by Google that is a clever way to make Google more money when really only other metrics matter…CPC, Clicks, CTR and Spend.

Okay…rant over. But in summary:

Google have changed their Quality Score algorithm to artificially inflate the number that advertisers see in their accounts in order for them to hide the real truth that CPC’s are increasing as a result of Google Enhanced Campaigns. 

Brought to you by Black Hat PPC.

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