Negative Keywords Do NOT Affect Google AdWords Quality Scores
Lately, I’ve been reading too many pay-per-click articles that preach adding negative keywords as a means of boosting your AdWords Quality Score. We’ve been told for years now that this is absolutely false!
– Negative keywords do not affect your Google AdWords Quality Score.
Just to be sure, we asked Google if they would provide a statement, and received one from a Senior PM on Ads Quality:
“It’s still true that negatives won’t impact your Quality Score at any level. They are a great tool for boosting ROI but are not a useful means to improving Quality Score for a keyword, creative or account.”
On a similar note:
– A keyword’s matchtype will not affect Quality Score.
(I’ve read posts that claim this as well)
Here’s the most helpful Quality Score document I’ve ever read (written by Frederick Vallaeys of Google). Make note of Slide 5, where they explicitly note how Quality Score is influenced at a keyword level.
While we’re on the subject of Quality Score, let’s call out one other important consideration:
– Quality Score is normalized for position.
There are many claims that you can bid your way to a higher Quality Score. The hypothesis is that your CTR naturally increases as you move higher on the page, and by increasing your CTR, you will obtain a higher Quality Score. Wrong! While it’s true that you will likely experience a higher CTR by virtue of being higher on the page, it is not likely that you will increase your Quality Score by simply increasing your CPC bid. Google has enough data to expect a certain CTR level for qualified ads based on the query, keyword and position of the ad. (See slide 3 of the document I cited above for more details)
One of my favorite quotes from our Google rep is, “When you hear people talking about Quality Score and Tricks in the same sentence, it’s bad information by definition”. There simply is no way to “game” the system. Negative keywords and refined matchtypes are very important for a mature program, and I don’t want it to seem like I’m arguing against that. Both refinements will lead to a greater ROI, so yes, please continue to use them! However, don’t expect either to positively or negatively affect your AdWords Quality Scores.
Update 12/10/10: Recently I noticed this brand new page in the AdWords Help section: