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Posted on June 30, 2008

Keyword Adequacy Quotient

chris
Keyword Adequacy Quotient
chris
Posted on June 30, 2008

Introducing Keyword Adequacy Quotient

Adwords’ Search Query Performance Report could be significantly improved. However, if you’re using Broad or Phrase Match Keywords, run the report in order to identify ways to improve performance, and calculate your Keyword Adequacy Quotient. Track your Keyword Adequacy Quotient over time, and you’ll find that your account performance will improve as your Score improves.

Background: Bias Against Broad Match Type

One of the reasons we are bias against using Broad match type is that Google does not disclose the precise search phrase query which triggers our ads. Furthermore, we find Google’s definition of Broad Match to be too nebulous for our liking. Here is their definition:

If your ad group contained the keyword tennis shoes, your ad would be eligible to appear when a user’s search query contained tennis and shoes, in any order, and possibly along with other terms. Your ads could also show for singular/plural forms, synonyms, and other relevant variations. For example, you ad might show on tennis shoe or tennis sneakers. Run a Search Query Performance Report to see what keyword variations trigger your ad.

” . . . and other relevant variations.” What’s that?? If we wanted to choose a keyword, then we would have chosen it during setup, right? Google wants to suggest a keyword? I love it!! In fact, we most often give Google an opportunity to do so when we use the Google Keyword tool in performing our keyword research, right? Using the tool allows one to develop a pretty good appreciation for how accurate Google’s suggestions might be, and that is no compliment. In fact, from our experiences, when we run Google’s keyword tool against a well-developed list of keywords, we are more likely to find candidates for negatives than relevant keywords.

We believe that Google’s unwillingness to disclose the precise search queries which triggered our ads implies that Google is taking Broad Match liberties which, if fully disclosed, no sensible advertiser would condone. This is not to say that we never apply Broad Match in the accounts we manage, but we do maintain a strong bias against it, in favor of our default for new accounts, which is Phrase match type.

As for Broad Match, if we’re going to appoint the Poacher as Game Warden by allowing Google to determine what qualifies as ” . . . other relevant variations,” then at least we’d like to have some disclosure about which precise terms Google allows. For this, Google offers the Search Query Performance Report.

Shortcomings of Search Query Performance Report

To fully appreciate the limitations of the Search Query Performance Report, you’ll have to actually run it. It clearly lists the “Exact” search phrases which matched our keywords, but such information could also have been derived more or less from running a keyword report. The Search Query Performance Report also displays some other queries which caused our ads to display, but for most other queries, which were not exact match, Google provides information like: “15 other unique queries” instead of disclosing the precise queries which triggered our ads. This is not trivial: out of 150 unique search queries which are not exact matches to those in our keyword lists, Google is unlikely to disclose more than 25, or about 1 out of 6 unique queries which triggered our ads. And that’s really our beef with Broad Match in general, and the Seach Query Performance Report specifically.

Search Query Performance Report is Mandatory

Is the report useless then? No! Review it every month for every account you manage!! If you do so, you will most certainly find opportunites for adding more negative keywords! It’s possible that you may also identify opportunities for improving your actual keyword lists.

Keyword Adequacy Quotient

If you want to understand how well developed your keyword and negative keyword lists are for a campaign including Phrase match or Broad match keywords (the results are not interesting for exact match keywords), then run a Search Query Performance Report to see what percent of clicks are coming from exactly matched search queries (those identical to the ones in your keyword list) versus Other search phrases not included in your keyword lists. Calculate this by sorting the report by Search Query Match Type and summing the clicks by match type. Divide the number of clicks from “Exact” by the total clicks to calculate the statistic which we call, “Keyword Adequacy Quotient.” A par Keyword Adequacy Quotient of 75% or more might indicate a thorough, well-developed list of keywords / negative keywords. Seems like an easy par? Run it against accounts which you consider to be well constructed, and you may be surprised at the results. In fact, our experience shows that most new accounts cannot achieve a par Keyword Adequacy Quotient until two or three months of continuous improvement. Obviously, a list of phrase match keywords is more likely to earn a higher percentage than a similar list of broad match keywords. We track the Keyword Adequacy Quotient for each Full Service account in the monthly summary included in each client’s PPC Road Map (if it’s not there, add it now!).

If you run the Search Query Performance Report monthly at the ad group level, to identify additional negative and relevant keywords, as well as those ad groups requiring further research, then over time you will find that your Keyword Adequacy Quotient will improve. This can significantly impact CTR, Quality Scores, and ROAS, and that’s what Kaizen PPC is all about.