At Google, one of our most important goals has always been to deliver high quality ads that provide value to our users. In August of 2005 we improved our quality evaluation with the introduction of the Quality Score, which sets minimum bids for your keywords. Since then, we've updated you on the inclusion of landing page quality into the Quality Score, and subsequent improvements to the landing page algorithm. Now, Avichal from the Ads Quality team, has an update on upcoming changes to the system.

As you may have heard us say before, we believe that ads provide valuable information when they are highly relevant and targeted to a user's query. In order to serve high quality ads to our users, we use the Quality Score to set minimum bids for keywords based on keyword clickthrough rate (CTR), ad text relevance, the historical performance of the keyword on Google, and the user experience on the ad's landing page. Keywords with a higher Quality Score are rewarded with a lower minimum bid, so it costs less for those ads to be eligible for display. Low quality keywords receive higher minimum bids, often making them inactive for search because their maximum CPC does not meet the minimum bid. In addition, since we also consider quality when we rank ads, higher quality ads benefit from higher placement on the page and a lower cost-per-click on average. So, high quality ads are not only more relevant for your potential customers, but can also help you improve your ROI by lowering your advertising costs.

We're constantly working on ways to improve our Quality Score evaluation and provide you with more information about the Quality Score for your keywords. Over the next week, we'll be releasing two changes focusing on transparency and quality, which I've outlined below:

Transparency - Later this week, we're releasing an optional Quality Score column that shows the minimum bid for all of the keywords within an ad group as well as a Great, OK, or Poor quality label for your keyword. You can select this column by clicking 'Customize Columns' in one of your ad groups (selecting this will also automatically populate the column for all other ad groups within that campaign). Use the quality label to get a quick overview of the quality of your keywords, or look at the minimum bid for a granular understanding of your Quality Score. Remember, the lower the minimum bid is for a keyword, the higher the Quality Score, and vice versa.

Quality - Next week, we're launching improvements to the Quality Score algorithm that sets minimum bids for keywords in order to improve the quality of ads that we serve to our users. These changes should make it easier for high quality ads to enter the auction while also discouraging low quality ads. First, we're improving the way that we set minimum bids for keywords where we have limited data. For example, if the system does not have any data on a keyword, we'll try to assign that keyword a lower initial minimum bid until we have enough data to make a more accurate assessment of the Quality Score for that keyword in your account. Second, we're improving the Quality Score algorithm to make it more accurate in predicting the quality of all ads. This will improve the overall quality of ads that we serve by lowering minimum bids for high quality ads and raising minimum bids for low quality ads. We expect that the higher minimum bids for low quality ads will reduce the number of low quality ads we show to our users.

So, what does this mean for you? As a result of this update, you may notice that the minimum bids increase for some of your keywords and decrease for others. To better understand the impact of this change, we suggest that you implement the Quality Score column. This will allow you to better monitor whether your minimum bids increase or decrease based on our changes. If you find that the minimum bids for any of your keywords increase, making your keyword inactive for search, please consider optimizing your campaign instead of raising your maximum CPC to the minimum bid. We recommend changes such as choosing a keyword that is more specific to the product or service that you offer or editing your ad text to make it more relevant to the keyword before you simply raise your minimum bid. By improving your quality we hope to provide the highest quality ads to our users while also providing you with the highest quality leads to maintain great ROI.

Stay tuned to the blog over the next few days as we'll post again to answer any questions that you may have.