Whether you use Google AdWords all the time or have toyed with the idea of starting a campaign, you’ve likely heard about Google’s ‘Quality Score’ — the rating that Google gives your targeted keywords based on a number of different factors. This score is also used to determine your cost per-click (CPC) and ad rank in the auction process.
Fully understanding how Quality Score works can be tricky. That’s why, in this article, I’m going to provide you with everything there is to know about Google Quality score, which in turn will help you achieve lower CPCs and enhance your chance of generating more leads.
Ad Rank – What Is It?
Usually, there are multiple advertisers competing for the same keywords, and so Google has to find a way to determine which order to show the available ads in. They make this determination by assigning an Ad Rank to every ad.
The Google Quality Score (QS) system is a ranking scale, ranging from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest), that measures the quality of an ad on the Google search network. The score is then used to determine how much advertisers pay, and what the Ad Rank (search position in the ad space) will be.
Ultimately, the Ad Rank = Max CPC x Quality Scores.
Ready to delve into this a little deeper? Let’s go…
Why Does It Really Matter?
Let’s break it down to basics.
Advertisers want to show relevant ads so that users click on them. The users want to click on relevant ads and find relevant information for what they are looking for. Google wants to create a great user experience so that both advertisers and users come back to use their services.
Every time a query is made on Google, an auction is made. The auction is for clicks, so advertisers only have to pay when they receive a click.
If you have four advertisers with different bids, say $1, $2, $3 and $4, the ads are ordered in terms of the highest bids, but advertisers don’t have to pay for their bid when they receive a click, they only have to pay the bid of the second highest advertiser.
This way, what they have to pay is just enough to beat the competition.
In this example, I left out how the quality of the ad itself comes into play. Google is obviously concerned that ads are of the highest quality, so this is where the Quality Score comes in.
What Are The Influencing Factors of Quality Score
There are three factors that are taken into consideration in the calculation of QS. The quality score has a huge impact on your cost per-click (CPC) and Ad Rank, so it’s important that you understand these components:
1. Click Through Rate: Biggest component
Historical click-through-rates (CTR) have an overwhelming impact on Quality Score. Essentially, users vote on the quality of your ads with their clicks, so Google allows users to decide which ads are best for different search queries.
When there’s no history in your account, Google will use other advertisers’ historical performance on specific keywords to evaluate what Quality Score you should be granted. It is up to you to exceed that number with your performance.
Expert tip: A useful tip to improve the CTR with your ads is to utilize ad extensions. These can play a huge role in improving the CTR of ads, so it’s no surprise that Google rewards advertisers who have CTR-boosting extensions. Just make sure that you only use the extensions that are applicable to your business.
2. Relevancy: Second largest component
Relevancy of keywords to the ads, as well as ad relevancy to the users’ search query, is also an important factor in your quality score. Google determines relevancy by analyzing language and context of an ad and query, determining how well it relates to the keyword.
Google places focus on the relevancy of keywords so that only useful ads are displayed to users. This also prevents advertisers from paying their way to the top of search results for unrelated products or services.
Expert tip: Ensure that the keywords that you are targeting are used in some way or another within the ad copy, as well as the copy on the website. This will help boost the relevancy of your keywords!
3. Landing page quality: Third largest component
It’s important to consider the user experience on your website. Do people leave as soon as they hit your website? And if so, are you delivering on your promise based on what’s in your ad?
An ad is only useful to a user if the landing page it leads to contains the information they are looking for. A high-quality landing page will have relevant, original content and be an easily navigable site with quick load times and minimal pop-ups. It will also offer transparency and legitimacy about the nature of the business.
Expert tip: Don’t use the homepage as the landing page! Instead, take your visitors to the most relevant page on your site or directly to a custom made landing page. Monitor the bounce rates and time on site to gauge how your users are interacting with your content.
Where Can I Find My Quality Score?
In campaigns that are targeted on Google Search, each keyword has a Quality Score. But it is hidden by default. Here are the simple steps to show it as a column in your AdWords reporting:
- Click the “Keywords” tab in your Adwords account.
- Click “Columns” and then “Customize columns“.
- In the section that opens up, choose “Attributes“.
- Click on “Add” in the Quality Score row.
- Click “Apply” to save. You will now see the Quality Score column in your data.
Alternatively, under your keyword tab, you can also hover over the speech bubble next to “Eligible” in the status column. This will also give you your overall quality score with a rating for each core element, as seen below.
What Do The Numbers Mean and How Can I Improve?
In general, a 7/10 Quality Score is sufficient and we wouldn’t necessarily recommend trying to improve anything that is rated a 7 and above unless you have a low average position and you really don’t want to increase your maximum keyword bids.
Going above 7 is great but may not be worth the effort as sometimes it’s simply just not achievable. A score of 5 or below is a sign that something is wrong and should be improved.
This flowchart from Ten Scores is a great guide and can provide insight on the changes you likely will have to make to improve your quality score. It’s a great way for beginner advertisers to understand what actions are required to boost the score.
Understanding the fundamentals of Quality Score is an important part of running a successful AdWords campaign. Make sure to stay up to speed with how the different factors influence the overall score, how you can view your quality score within AdWords, and what you can do to improve your Ad campaigns.
Need Help with Google AdWords?
If you need any guidance, don’t hesitate to contact us for an opportunity assessment or an audit of your existing AdWords account.