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Google AdWords Forum

Quality Score is a big joke
QS is just a tool to make more money for Google

 2:30 am on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Here is the keyword:

Blue Widgets

Quality Score 10/10

Relevance: No Problems
Landing Page: No Problems
Landing Page Relevance: No problems

Average ad position: 3.1
Current bid: $1.30

I click on Bid Simulator and Google shows me estimated clicks and impressions. According to Google, if I increase my bid to $2.21, I will receive more impressions and clicks.

How is this possible? Doesn't Google have to show the ad all the time if the average position of the ad is 3.1? Why should I increase the bid when the QS is 10/10?

After working on so many keywords/ads/campaigns, my conclusion is this: Google doesn't think about the users first any more. Google just wants to make more and more money through Adwords and I think they will pay the price in the future. Big time.



 2:32 am on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've said it before... will say it again:

QS is Carbon Cap and Trade: Making something out of nothing, and monetizing it.


 2:48 am on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Here is a better example about Google's real intention when it comes QS.

The keyword phrase in question:

Beautiful Blue Widgets

You create the ad and you submit the keyword phrase. Suddenly, you see this message next to the keyword:

Below First Page Bid

How did Google know that the ad with this keyword phrase won't outperform all the ads including this keyword. Isn't it possible for this ad to beat the competition? Maybe, just maybe, this could be the best ad of all times. Maybe, it well get incredibly high click through rate. Maybe, the landing page is extremely well targeted.

According to Google, we should increase the bid right away. Why? In order to increase the QS. It's obvious: More money = QS for Google.

Don't be evil, eh?


 4:28 am on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Lucky... you just repeated me, though you did so with an example of how making CO2 a PRODUCT to be traded (auctioned).

Then again, it is one of the only games in town, if one does not look at (or give a chance) the Bing alternative.


 1:11 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have been a big fan of Google until now. I spent more than $2,000,000 for my clients on Adwords in the last 3 years.

From now on, I will have to look for different alternatives. That's for sure.


 1:29 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

In this instance, it's a sellers market. Google being the seller.

If a company has a box full of advertisers, any company will try to extract more from them. It's the capitalist way.

It's a service, and a successful commercial company looking to pay dividends to its shareholders. just don't be surprised it's happening.


 2:22 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

you are totally right, engine.

google is taking advantage of being the most powerful company on the web. in the past, for smart people, it wasn't very difficult to beat the competition using adwords. now, with the implementation of this interesting quality score, google says "you have to beat me" which is impossible.

when there are so many advertisers bidding on the same keywords, google is killing everybody constantly by raising the bids.


 2:34 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

If your quality score is 10/10, then it's probably not a big factor in the first page bid.

More impressions and more clicks at a higher cost is probably their prediction based on a higher ad rank. And no, they don't have to show your ad all the time if your average ad rank is 3.8 - part of that is determined by your daily budget (unless you have it set to just let fly until all the budget is used up)

If you're happy where you are, then keep your bid where it is. If you want to test their bid simulator, then jack it up for a few hours to a day and see if your ad ranks higher and produces more clicks/conversions.

Google's not promising you that you'll make money at the higher cost (they can't) nor that you'll get a better ROI (they also can't) but just predicting how many more clicks you might get if your raise your cost (and presumably your ad rank)

No need to get in such a tizzy about it.


 3:08 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)


the average ad rank in question is 3.1, and the daily budget is $100,000.

nobody thinks that google promises us that we will be making money at higher cost.

SanDiego Art

 8:31 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Is it a Google-Search only or Search-Network campaign? You can get more impressions and clicks if the Avg Position is better than 3 if it is being distributed to the Search-Network partners b/c some only take the top 3... Just a thought...

I've never really trusted Keyword Estimate Tool, Bid Simulator, etc. Until you try/test you never know what you'll get based upon differences in Ad Copy.

SanDiego Art

 8:35 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Also, I don't see how you don't think if you are Avg Position 1 or 2, that you WON'T get more clicks. That is just the nature of search. Typically #1 gets more clicks than #2, and #2 more than #3, etc.

Impressions might be a different story, but as rank increases so do clicks (most of the time)...


 10:48 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

SanDiego Art,

I was talking about impressions, not clicks.

Of course, the number of clicks depends on your ad's position on the page. If your ad is on top of the page, it "usually" gets more clicks.

The whole point I am trying make is this:

Even though your QS is 10/10, Google is telling you to increase the bid to get more impressions (and more clicks). Why?

You have an ad that performs extremely well:

-Very High Click Through Rate
-Great Landing Page
-Great landing Page performance

On top of these, the bounce rate of the page is extremely low. Also, the ad is generating very good number of conversions.

I think this all means that this ad/keyword/bid/landing page must be great for the users. After all, Google's motto has always been "Relevance".

When this is the case, why should I increase the bid?


 10:54 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

When this is the case, why should I increase the bid?

Because goog says ..today is soylent green ..


 11:04 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

SanDiegoArt's question about whether it's a Google-only search campaign or Google+network is likely the key here.

You can get more impressions and clicks if the Avg Position is better than 3 if it is being distributed to the Search-Network partners b/c some only take the top 3


 11:07 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google is not TELLING you that you have to increase the bid. They are suggesting that you might get more clicks if you try it.


 11:26 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)


I tend to agree with you and SanDiegoArt about the Google-only and/or Google+network thing.

I will make some bid adjustments to see how this will effect the bid estimator's recommendations.


You seem to defend Google even though Google TELLS us to increase the bid without knowing the performance of the ad in the first place.

You create an ad group and you use the keyword phrase "beuatiful blue widgets".

The second you create the ad, you see the message that says "Below First page Bid".

Please tell me how Google calculated the QS of this ad.
Google is TELLING me to increase the bid right away so that my ad could be displayed on the first page.

-Google doesn't know the performance of this keyword
-Google doesn't know the performance of the ad
-Google doesn't know the performance of the landing page

In short, Google doesn't have enough info about the keyword/ad/landing page etc

Then how does Google tell you to increase the bid? What kind of QS is this?


 12:25 am on Aug 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google doesn't know the performance

True, Google doesn't know, not at the beginning. So Google starts you out with some default averages, then recalculates as the performance of the ad / ad group / keyword become established.

If you don't like where the default averages start you out, you can bid more aggressively, you can earn your way up, or some combination of both.


 6:20 am on Aug 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google doesn't know the performance

True, Google doesn't know, not at the beginning.

Actually, as far as I got it through all these years, and especially for last one or two, Google actually "knows exactly" what WILL happen with your ad.

I put KNOWS EXACTLY under quotes, because any human being would mostly argue with any kind of precise prediction.
The fact is that Google owns the system, and they set the rules, being right or not.
Plus, the "prediction" ability gives them quite a bit of room to speculate with your (read their) money.

Now, to get some of the blame off Google, the whole scenario about predicting is based on the history and some kind of comparison that Google does here and there, and all around. This is where the QS comes from, so immediately, after you just built and published your ads and keywords.
What about history and comparison?
If Google has ever dealt with that particular URL, it already knows the DNA of it, period. All is predicted already.
If the URL is totally new to Google, the site is marked by who knows which algorithmic way (not a big deal for Google based on its experience with regular search), with the help of the history of each particular keyword, based on the performance of all other URLs that have participated in the keyword(s) auction.

The thing that I always argued the most about was, let's call it, black listing of URLs. Once your URL was marked to be 1/10 when about QS, good luck buddy, you better go out of business with Google (or change your URL and hope you'll get through).
I wish Google AdWords is smarter then it is now, that is, to really be able to check the site and particular landing page every some time (possibly daily) and really be able to (re)calculate that QS.

To support my thoughts from the above paragraph, here is an example:

Authoritative site that sells "blue widgets" made by "widget maker" and has always been offered from the pages that were part of the site BLUEWIDGETS.COM
QS was historically 10/10, why bother as the site was really run and maintained by people that make and sell that product.
Then, owner decides to kick in with the new domain name that points to the same site.
Through the time, Google picks one of the two (or who knows how many), and now, WIDGETMAKER.COM is rocking with QS 10/10, while BLUEWIDGETS.COM sucks with QS 1/10.
Two domain names pointing to the same site, period.

I really wish Google AdWords is smarter, not just like a bread-maker with few programing features.

Another thing I want to add in regards the pricing, QS, and bids that are too low for the first page is that there are keywords that are really expensive.
For example, home insurance in UK. Good luck in competing with all these big brands. I just resumed a campaign and on QS of 7/10, some related keywords were showing $15 and around for the first page.

In short, Google doesn't have enough info about the keyword/ad/landing page etc

- Keyword was there while we were in diapers.
- Landing page info is gathered and calculated in the matter of milliseconds, or whatever it takes Google's server to pick it up and "chew" on it few times.
- Ad's quality is calculated by the formula that Google's brain has come up with throughout the years in this business.

Trust me, even with being one of the bigger slammers onto Google AdWords' system all the time, I say they have the system that does make sense, even though I say that some of its parts are out of it.

Your query about their predicting ability is in place for somebody who is new to Google AdWords, and nobody else.

And yes, their predicting system is likely designed based on the formula that makes them money, but with enough of supporting facts that would always "wash" them in front of any customer, judge, or even the one above.
Once they explain it thoroughly to anyone, that one would say "Oh, OK, now I get it..." and go away without saying a word, but not knowing much more...


 8:38 am on Aug 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

QS isn't a big joke! It's the most important component to maintain adwords order. So Adwords give their users high experiences, so businessman wold like to spend money on it.

To join your discussion:)
IMO, the QS such as 10/10 showed in adwords is the measure. Is it the real number that used to calculate? Even it's true, the others maybe get the same QS to you. So the max bid will be affected your ad position. The higher position always get more click with the same level of ad copy. I agree with netmeg!

Google is not TELLING you that you have to increase the bid. They are suggesting that you might get more clicks if you try it.

The Bid Simulator is just a tool let you know a bit more about the date in adwords. It is a hint showed us how many clicks we could be able to get if we high the bid to another given leveling. So we have more date to measure if there is any possible we could earn more money!

As of if Google are all right. There are many other variables in true environment. Generally, Google has the good knowledge and enough history/data to give us the right guide.

We can't control what Google suggests, but We do control if we accept or not based on our own strategy and scale.


 2:23 am on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)


thank you very much for your post. I agree with you on most of your points.

what about some arbitrage and ebay ads on google? you know what I mean. here is an ad:

Looking for Blue Widgets?
The Blue Widgets are Here.

when there are not enough advertisers for a given keyword, you can see these kinds of ads on google. what is the QS of these ads/keywords/landing pages?

isn't this a double standard?

QS must be universal and it must applied to all advertisers.

google is using the QS when there are enough advertisers, but it's not using it properly when there are not enough advertisers. if this is not being evil, I don't know what it is.


 2:52 am on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google Adwords is a joke.
I am bidding low, as I have a low cost product, but the keywords are very common.
But they do put put the ads up as often as they could, so they are missing out on some revenue.
I would rather go for some banner ads than pay more for a click from search, when no one will be searching fro our product anyway (as it is unique)
And Google Adsense is turning the internet into a mass of "articles", blogs and "content" with lots of people trying to make a steady income stream from it.


 3:00 pm on Aug 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hey Guys,

I think you will find this interesting, because it doesn't seem to validate some of your theories:

This is another ad group in one of my campaigns:

Keyword Phrase: Red Widgets
QS: 10/10
Relevance: No problems
Landing Page: No problems
Landing Page Performance: No Problems

Average Position 1.8
Maximum Bid: $1.00
Average CPC: $0.74

Again, I check Bid Simulator and it tells me that if I increase the bid to $5.88, I will get more impressions (753 impressions instead of 641).

$5.88? Can you imagine? What the hell is going on here?

As far as I know, Adwords Advisor is very fast in replying some of the messages here, but it seems that he doesn't want to talk about QS any more.

Plus, he doesn't want to talk about arbitrage and Ebay ads on Google because these examples will kill Google's credibility when it comes to QS.

[edited by: engine at 3:46 pm (utc) on Aug. 21, 2009]
[edit reason] See WebmasterWorld TOS [/edit]


 9:30 pm on Aug 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

" part of that is determined by your daily budget (unless you have it set to just let fly until all the budget is used up)"

Thats partially correct, they will stop showing your ad IF you are within a certain percentage of meeting your daily budget.

Its a catch 22 on the budgets, if you set a conservative budget you get burned by not having your ads run when you getting close to max, but if you run loose, you know the result for that...


 1:12 am on Aug 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

what about some arbitrage and ebay ads on google?

Google is certainly aware of that which means they let it go through on purpose, and no individual like us can do anything about it.
If we find it as a big deal problem, and start whining about it every day, showing considerable numbers of people having their voice against that, they would maybe shut it down.

Double standard - if someone takes on Google AdWords in details and for longer period, and makes notes about various measurements that would be applicable to a web site advertising on Google AdWords - the findings would probably give a result that would list triple, quadruple, or who knows which standard.
Take an example of affiliate sites - there is a standard there that prevents many from showing up at all.

$5.88? Can you imagine? What the hell is going on here?

From time to time, I would think about that (without using that tool) as certain bid would give better CTR, and if I reduce it while the bid is still above the historic average, my CTR goes down.
I believe I found that would (sometimes) affect how your ads are positioned at search partners, but not sure at the moment.
I get pissed off, then I carry on, forget, then pissed off again, and so on.
Anyway, in cases when multiple affiliates share same display URL as they all link directly to their respective merchant, they come into position where they have to bid $100 per click in order to get ad(s) shown. They still pay some cents or dollar something per click, based on regular Google's auction.

IMHO, the bottom line of the whole Google AdWords story is that they (so far) achieved to create a system that has ground for any of the challenges they could possibly face in public, on the court, within government, etc. And that system always makes money for them, while making money for the very most of their clients (AdWords users).


 5:14 pm on Aug 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've seen keywords that weren't even relevant (or as relevant) perform better and get higher QS scores than something that was more on topic to the page/site.


 11:06 pm on Aug 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've seen keywords that weren't even relevant (or as relevant) perform better and get higher QS scores than something that was more on topic to the page/site.

Of course you have. Relevance isn't decided solely by Google, relevance is also decided by USERS.

Its not really the keyword that performs or doesn't perform, its the ad text and the landing page. If users don't like it as much as the next ad then they won't click it.

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