I completely agree. The whole quality score issue has turned into a farce. It is advertising - let people buy it.
I rarely just check one ad on AdWords, and rarely is the top 3-4 ads the one I end up going with when I actually purchase. I mainly use adwords for prouct research.
When a man is tired of AdWords, he is tired of life?
As Samuel Johnson once said.
I agree with Brett. The quality score factor is completely overboard. I understand for relevancy purposes, why they have a score. But the extent to which the score dictates whether you can even advertise on their system or not, is completely over the top. I know legitimate businesses who have gotten slapped on Adwords, just because their algorithm doesn't like the site (for some reason). Those same businesses can advertise anywhere and everywhere else they want, with no issues whatsoever. At some point, doesn't Google understand people pay to advertise, so let them?
Well, QS is a way for Google to make more money, increase clicks as well as keep users. It is used as a competitive advantage and also is used in order to determine relevancy which is a huge factors and must be optimized throughout all processes.
I'd say QS is a definite difficulty for advertisers but it's a necessity and SO powerful for you if you have high QSs throughout your campaign - you can beat out all competition quite quickly.
QS = tedious AdWords management but it's cool
Also, on the down with Google side of the argument:I think that since the advent of QS users have been paying closer attention to their keywords average CPC vs position and working with bids more to attain the traffic levels they want - great that users are more involved with their advertising, BUT - this closer attention has meant that users have become more competitive and will push up bids more in the past to attain certain positions.
Also, on a related but slightly different note, in my personal experience it seems that the landing page has a great deal to do with QS - just as much if not more so than the CTR - this can be seen when starting new ad groups and the opening QS that Google gives you - if my pages title, URL and meta tags match closely with the keywords and ads then the QS will start at 7, if not then 3 and even if a high CTR follows it is a nightmare to raise that 3 to above a 5.
What are others experiences and ideas on how much of a contributory factor landing page plays?
My 2 cents to this thread... of course quality score a factor you need to focus on, manage and constantly keep under control.
Starting from October there were 2 or 3 issues about quality score, like Google was trying to update its algo and rolled back more than one time.
Another interesting post I read in December (maybe in SearchEngineLand, but I am not sure) is that comparing recently a lot of campaigns and accounts a company realized that the differences between a quite good quality score like 7 compared to lower values like 4 or 3 weren't so sensible to CPC increase like in the past and low quality score ranked very well on top positions.
It was fine a few years ago when I didn't have much work to go along with the traffic I brought in. But now that I run actual stores, it's just tedious and time consuming. I'm not going to spend hours on end tweaking ads and pages to make them happy. I have products to order/ship, customer service, and other things to deal with. Just never understood why they wanted to make this a hassle for business owners.
I know some people believe that they are trying to push out small business owners in favor of large ones, and maybe there is some truth to it. I've had years of experience with Adwords and still don't understand what they're looking for. Can't imagine a complete novice trying to run a campaign for their store.
Just make it simple. Just let me advertise or not. Don't give me these arbitrary numbers that frequently change for no specific reason that can dramatically effect my traffic. I can't think of any other form of advertising that makes you jump through so many hoops.
They deliberately make advertising much more convoluted and difficult than it needs to be. They like people to think they are OZ, magical and mystical. And they are arrogant. You either play by their rules or you don't play.
I think there is a misunderstanding here that costs you a lot of time: landing pages have very little to do with quality score. They are only relevant in determining the minimum bid you have to pay. After that, for position and the price you pay per click, landing pages are completely irrelevant.
You can verify this on the AdWords help pages: "For calculating a keyword-targeted ad's position, landing page quality is not a factor."