Guide to a Great Quality Score

This post was guest blogged by Jonathan Volk, a 20-something internet marketer focusing on affiliate marketing.

Is Adwords getting you down with the dreaded “Poor” quality score? Here are some tips I use to coerce Google into giving me a great (or OK) quality score.

Tip Number 1: If your keyword list has been slapped with POOR across the board, it’s time to delete the entire campaign and restart using some of the tips below. Rebuild your campaign and if it still does not work, look at the last tip for a solution.

Tip Number 2: I have found many times that the poor quality score was from trying to stick too many broad keywords into one group. Try breaking your keywords up into related groups. If you have a ton of long tail keywords (meaning keywords that are more specific: IE “Find local singles California”), try to find two or three words in common for each adgroup.

Tip Number 3: Start your campaign bidding high. Find the eCPC of the offer you’re trying to promote by asking your affiliate manager for the average of the offer. Next, bid ~ 40% of the average eCPC. This will keep your Click through rate up while you have a chance to refine your ads.

Tip Number 4: Split test your ads. Use A/B testing on your ads. This will dramatically increase your click through rate (CTR) and eventually your quality score can go from OK to GREAT.

Tip Number 5: If you still are getting a POOR quality score, try removing all the BROAD keywords and readd them using phrase and exact match. To add the keywords as phrase and exact match you just re-add the keywords with the following format “keyword1” and [keyword1].

Tip Number 6: If after everything you’re still getting a POOR quality score, you’ll need to optimize your landing page a bit more. Use the phrase and exact match keywords and sprinkle them throughout your landing page a bit more. It doesn’t take a ton of keywords to raise it just that little bit. Perhaps just adding a keyword or two into your title tag could help. Add some ALT tags and TITLE tags.

Tip Number 7: If you’re STILL getting a POOR quality score, you’ll need to do some *special* optimization. Using a special tool called MOD_REWRITE for apache (which most servers have installed by default), we can trick Google into thinking we’re more relevant than we actually are.

First, we need to create (or append) some code to a .htaccess file. If you already have a .htaccess file in the public_html folder on your webserver, download it and append the following code to the end. Otherwise create a new text file in notepad and save it as htaccess.txt. Once you upload it to your server, rename it to .htaccess

For this example, I’m going to pretend we’re making a dating site.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^([^/]+)-dating/$ /index.php?keyword=$1 [L]

So what does this do? Now we can assign each keyword a special url that looks something like: “” Notice the similarity to the .htaccess? We’re essentially replacing the ([^/]+) with whatever keyword we want.

This will load the index.php page as if you had typed in “” We have just dynamically redirected the url without Google ever knowing. 🙂

You can change “California” in the url to anything and it will automatically load the new page with the new keyword.

Now, on your landing page at the very top add this code:

$keyword1 = $_GET[‘keyword’];

Next, anytime you want this keyword (in this example, California) to show on your landing page, simple add the following code.


Now you have a great way to optimize your landing page dynamically! Google loves this!

TIP Number 8: If you’ve tried all the above and still cannot get the quality score to get off of POOR, you can try buying a new domain. From my experience you can buy a new domain name and transfer the same content onto the new domain. In every case I’ve done this the result has been an OK or GREAT quality score.

This works because Google’s quality score can sometimes get so bad on a particular domain that all hope of redeeming the domain back to an OK quality score is faint. Buying a new domain essentially is giving you a fresh slate.