Google AdWords Quality Score

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Real Estate Agents should pay close attention to the suggested methodologies Google urge web designers and advertisers to employ.

Google invest heavily in their customers, who are the browsers on their search engine. It is their focus to enable the browser to navigate as quickly as possible to the information they are searching on.

This is equally as important to their advertisers. Google strongly suggests that advertisers construct their ads so that when the browser clicks on the ad they are taken directly to what the advertiser is promoting. And, they will reward advertisers with a “quality score” that brings down their cost per click and elevates their ad higher in the rankings.

For example, if the heading of your text ad were to read “Lorne Accommodation” your destination URL should deliver the browser directly to the page on your site that is offering accommodation in Lorne.

Furthermore, there should be a heading on this page that reads Lorne Accommodation (not in an image format). And, your content should be for Lorne accommodation. If done this way you will be given a high “quality score”.

Go to your AdWords account, open your campaign, select your ad group and then open the “keywords” tab. Next to each keyword is a magnifying glass. When you run your mouse over this it should reveal a “quality score” out of ten.

Having said that the opposite will apply if the browser does not land directly on what you are promoting. I have seen a number of accommodation homes using keywords for towns that are 100 kilometres from their establishment. The effects of this are a low quality score, higher cost per click and a browser that is not happy for their time being wasted. This can also adversely affect your brand.

Do not let your AdWords manager use keywords that give 1000’s of impressions but no clicks. They will tell you it has cost nothing because no one has clicked on your ad. However, the hidden cost will be a higher click through rate and a lower ad ranking.

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  • Joel Montgomery
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 8:47 am 0Likes

    Great information, Peter. Thanks. I’ve tried diverting a paid click to (1) my home page and (2) my call-to-action (offer) and I have almost 10x improved conversion rate when I divert straight to the offer.

  • Peter Farrell
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 12:02 pm 0Likes

    Hi Joel, thank you for the feedback. I am glad it was helpful. I will post articles “tips” on a regular basis. Hopefully these “one percenters” will save you money and drive more qualified traffic to your site.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted October 29, 2008 at 5:06 pm 0Likes


    Sorry for the delay, but welcome to the team!

    It really is a case of education. I came across a friend the other day using adwords with very generic keywords. They had things like “real estate agent”, “property for sale”, “real estate agency”. He was happy he had nearly 5000 views in double quick time but he only had a single click. His ad was displaying to all the wrong people. As you probably guessed he did not use an Adwords consultant but did the campaign themselves.

    For those that have never used Google Adwords can you share with us the typical costs involved and the expectations and outcomes that an agent would consider successful from an adwords campaign. I know you can start really low but when targeted and setup correctly have you found that a $100 per month commitment can deliver significant results or is something higher needed?

    I believe that many agents shy away from Adwords because of the cost per click for real estate orientated keywords. For simple property views that can be an expensive but for seller enquiries it is very cheap.

    The same would apply with rentals. Using adwords to push rental enquiries would be expensive, but targeting owners looking for a new property manager would be very economical.

    Is this what you have found?

  • Peter Farrell
    Posted October 29, 2008 at 9:18 pm 0Likes

    Hi Glenn,
    Thank you for the warm welcome. My statistics from 2 holiday rental sites are quite compelling. Their rental properties are within the same region. The following are the results from the last 7 days.

    Agent A has had 10292 keyword impressions with 6.1% (628) of those clicking through to his AdWords landing page at a cost os $0.54 per click totalling $338.86.
    Agent B has had 9360 keyword impressions with 7.87% (737) of those clicking through to his AdWords landing page at a cost os $0.53 per click totalling $389.33

    If i were an agent that just sold property i would be more inclined to create a newsletter in a RSS Feed format. Then i would agressively market the RSS Feed at browsers to subscribe to. This has 2 affects. Firstly, your subscribers are receiving information regarding your inventory the moment you post it online and secondly, it cuts down the number of browsers returning to your AdWords ad. My statistics show that 30% of browsers are returning to the same web page via AdWords. Lets round off Agent A’s figures. In one week they spend $333 for 630 clicks at 0.50 cents equalling $315. One third of these clicks (210) are returning browsers. If you could somehow elimate these returning browsers they would save $105 over that 7 day period.

    Obviously expecting a browser to buy a half million dollar property online is being a bit unrealistic. But, then again, stranger things have happened. So, perhaps the agent should not be trying to sell the property online but rather he should be trying to capture the browsers details and then furnishing them with regular updates. This is just my opinion but i hope it helps.

  • Russell Henry
    Posted October 29, 2008 at 11:50 pm 0Likes


    Thank you for your valuable knowledge & insight into the “mystifying” world of Adwords.
    I’m beginning to grasp the the importance of “direct route destinations” for browser inquiries.
    Could you please provide us with an insight in how best to target specific “demographics” of browsers using Adwords?

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 2:18 pm 0Likes


    I am not suggesting using adwords to sell a property online sight unseen.. It does happen but very very rarely..

    But to run an ad that targeted the keyword “Parramatta Real Estate” and had the title of the ad as “Parramatta Real Estate” and the body as “View hundreds of Parramatta properties for sale today” will only attract buyers. And when your paying 50c per click that is a lot just to get prospective buyers to your site…. most general real estate keywords like “Parramatta Real Estate” will cost more than $2.00 per click if you want to be at the top.

    I doubt many agencies could justify spending $333 per week just to get more prospective purchasers looking at their properties for sale. That makes look cheap and thats hard to do. At that price you probably get a much better response by using another subscription portal at a fraction of the outlay.

    In your examples the keywords were targeted a whole lot better ie. “Lorne Accommodation”. Other than your newsletter suggestion (which I love by the way). For those without holiday rentals and are interested in Google Adwords would you suggest that trying to target potential sellers and landlords would provide a better investment?

    In that case there would not even be 600 sellers searching to click on an ad so the outlay would have be to far less with a much better focussed audience. An initial investment of $100 a month increasing up to $400 per month if it starts paying off maybe. Using Google Analytics you could track the success of such a campaign quite easily.


  • Sal Espro
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 3:22 pm 0Likes

    Having been involved in this ‘game’ for (too) many years (online / real estate), I still question the value of Adwords in gaining real estate buyers (I agree tho’ Glenn, vendors might be another question).

    My guess is that there would be very few sales coming through Adwords that wouldn’t come-in through the portals or directly to an agency’s website.
    Otherwise, this would mean agents aren’t using portals (which they are!

    As explained by Glenn, the real beneficiaries of Adwords are general traffic builders i.e. the portals, which just give them more ‘hits’ and more of a reason to charge agents more!

  • SSSR
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 3:31 pm 0Likes

    In the spirit of debate, I would think that an SEO investment for an agency website would be more worthwhile. Sure, use Adwords at the start of the SEO campaign for immediate results, but long term the focus should be improving your organic SERP.

    Adwords work well for people who are selling in commodity markets (for example books, or video games, and similar verticals) where the click cost can be measured against revenue to arrive at cost of sale.

    I do see how this would work in the holiday rental market more so than the sale of a house, but I think that as Glenn points out, its cheaper to use REA and probably buy a feature slot vs the monthly cost of adwords.

  • Sal Espro
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 3:45 pm 0Likes

    “Feature slots, schmeature slots!”, SSSR 🙂
    If a buyer is ‘in the market’ whether a listing is featured or not ain’t gonna matter when it gets down to the final ‘searching and makin’ sure that you’re buyin’ right’, time. Feature slots etc are just praying on agent insecurities and lack of knowledge yet again.

    (I’d rather see ‘spare’ (is there ever any? :)) money spent on an invidual website for a property (with our agency brand on it & linked to our website) than on giving News Ltd (REA) and Fairfax (Domain) any more of my hard-earned!

  • SSSR
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 4:19 pm 0Likes

    Thanks Sal, was more using that as a price comparison to emphasise the point of Adword cost to an agent. Point noted however on feature properties. As an investor, I look at everything in the area of interest.

  • Peter Farrell
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 4:35 pm 0Likes

    Opinions are great and we all have one. Sometimes we are right. Statistics can be even better. Firstly, my results from 3 Agents that also do Holiday Rentals shows that 52-54% of sales are generated from their AdWords campaigns. Therefor, AdWords drives more sales than the 4 major portals they subscribe to combined. Those portals are,, and For me that ends the debate on the value of AdWords. If there was no merit in this then why do these major portals use AdWords thmeselves? Now, in relation to Real Estate Property sales. We could debate the worthiness of print, radio, television, direct mail and the internet. Each have their own place. An agent should use a combination of at least 2 of these and prepare campaigns that support their marketing. People on average spend the same amount of time watching TV as they do browsing the internet. I agree SSSR that webiste owners should spend a bit more time in trying to rank higher in the natural search. Have a look at the meta tags a top real estae subscriber protal use for some of the agents they “power” sites for. In the majority of the sites the “title” is rubbish, the keywords are useless and there is no description. If you use “ranl checker” you can input the domain name and add keywords that a browser might search on. For example the suburb they are in followed by real estate. In most cases they do not rate at all. Am i being to cynical in suggesting that it is not within the subscriber portals benefit to have sites they manage ranking on the first page?

  • Sal Espro
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 5:24 pm 0Likes

    Sure, Peter. Holiday rentals are a special ‘beast’.

    You’re not cynical Peter; just realizing the way it really is!
    “Yes”, the portals (and ‘management ‘uploaders’ e.g. HubOnline owned by in various ways are ripping-off blind their website (and listings ‘upload’) clients/agencies.

  • SSSR
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 7:38 pm 0Likes

    Hi Peter,

    I agree with you and I made mention that holiday rentals are in a different category to residential sales. I think with holiday rentals, Adwords is most appropriate, but I think that SEO suits residential sales (or a combination of the two).

    Portals would benefit from adwords, but your right, their approach to SEO is still infantile. If portals worked more on a focused SEO strategy, they might find their adword opex reducing considerably while still maintaining their UBs.

    Regarding the work their subsidiaries do for agents in web design, its blogs like this and bloggers like yourself that will give agents, but many others, the value in knowing there are better options and solutions.

  • Peter Farrell
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 9:31 am 0Likes

    Hi Sal, SSSR, Glenn and Russell,

    I think we agree that SEO to any website is important. For the most part it is ignored either through ignorance or poor web management. Lets say every site was optimized to its maximum. Clearly, there is not enough space on page one of a search engine to put everyone there. Here is some interesting feedback. I spoke with 2 estate agents yesterday and both said they did not care about SEO as they were already driving enough traffic to their site. What they did say was they wanted thier website to be functional. I impress on agents this very notion. Any agent website should include maps, reply form, images and RSS Feeds etc. Oh yeah, they should also be geared for the emergence of Google Base. That is why i push the Agentpoint barrow. One thing i have noticed on agent sites is the beautiful photography of their properties. Maybe they could spend a bit more time on staff photographs. Please dont look at my photo because i am no oil painting.

  • Peter Farrell
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 9:32 am 0Likes

    Hi Russell,

    i will get back to you regarding demographics.

  • David Bolte
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 1:13 pm 0Likes

    Thanks for your informative article, Peter. I would just like to comment on the “hidden cost” side of things.

    While I agree there is a hidden cost, I am not sure you have worded the reasoning correctly. Clickthrough rate (CTR) is a metric that calculates ad performance as follows: Number of ad clicks/number of impressions x 100. Shouldn

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