The Importance of Quality Score for Google Ads

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What it is and how it affects your Google Ads campaign

If you want to improve your Google Ad campaign for a better ROI, it’s tremendously important to understand the concept of Quality Score (QS).

When someone types a query, your ad is given an ‘Ad Rank’ score based on your Quality Score, and how much you’re willing to pay for the click.

The advertiser with the highest Ad Rank gets the top position, the next highest gets the second position, and so on. Ad Rank is calculated by multiplying your bid, (the most you’re willing to pay for a click on your ad or ‘Max CPC’) by your Quality Score.

So, being at the top of the Google Ads results is not just about how much you are willing to pay for each click. If your ad has a low Quality Score, it may not be shown at all. However, the higher your price is, the more likely you will have a higher rank in the sponsored results.

Factors That Influence Quality Score

There are other factors that influence your QA, but here are the 4 main ones you need to focus on. Following we will go into more detail and offer some suggestions to improve these factors.

  1. The matched keyword’s CTR on Google (CTR on the Google Network is not considered)
  2. The relevance of the keyword and ad text to the search query
  3. High-quality landing pages
  4. The historical performance of your account, (measured by CTR across all your keywords)

CLICK THROUGH RATE

Click Through Rate is the primary consideration Google uses in calculating your Quality Score.

There is no good or bad CTR, every keyword will have a different value. Your particular CTR is measured against the average CTR for that keyword across all advertisers. Also, the expected CTR for a certain position is considered, as higher ad positions will usually gain higher CTRs.

How to have higher Click Through Rates

Don’t make extensive use of broad match for a limited range of phrases. To increase your CTRs, use smaller, highly targeted ad groups using exact or phrase match. This will increase the relevancy for the search term. Also, make sure the Ad text is highly relevant to the search inquiry.   

Using negative keywords will reduce the number of irrelevant searches your ad is shown for, and this will help increase CTR and thus improve your Quality Score.

Note: The Quality Score calculation is not influenced by your CTR on the Display Network as display ads almost always have a lower CTR than search ads.

KEYWORD RELEVANCE

The relevancy of your ads to the keyword is a major factor in determining a keyword’s Quality Score. Keyword Relevance is the degree of match between the keyword, the ad content, and the landing page. Google calculates a Quality Score for each keyword in your account, so its relevancy is very important.

Google knows that ads highly relevant to the user’s search term are far more likely to get clicks, so Quality Score is used to make sure only relevant ads are displayed. To improve keyword relevance, use focused Ad groups with phrase and exact match terms.

HIGH QUALITY LANDING PAGES

Links to your site from your Google Ad should go, for the most effective results, to a dedicated landing page specifically about the search query. Not your homepage. Make sure the landing page contains the same relevant keywords that are in your Ad. Your landing page is the primary tool to turn traffic from your ad into convertible leads.

Google takes into account the landing page experience, looking at factors such as unique content and ease of navigation. Google also puts a lot of weight on page load time. A landing page that takes too long to download, will cause visitors to leave. Also, if your landing page is not designed well, is not user-friendly, then your quality score will be lower.

HISTORICAL PERFORMANCE

Google Ads provides a record of your Quality Score and rewards you for a strong track record, so the length of your QS history matters. The historical performance shows you how your Quality Score and its parts, Landing page experience, Ad relevance, and Expected clickthrough rate (CTR) have performed. The history for a keyword will be reset when you change a keyword, so avoid making frequent changes after finding keywords that work.

Historical performance data is valuable in many ways. These metrics are valuable for seeing how relevant your landing page and Ad are to the keywords you’ve chosen. It gives you data for bid optimization or to remove poorly performing keywords or Ad Groups. With all your audience and performance data compiled in one place, you can identify patterns in your advertising performance and advertising strategy

An easy way to assess your Quality Score in Google Ads

Google gives you an idea of your Quality Score at keyword level by assigning each keyword within the account a score of between 1 and 10. This doesn’t give you the complete picture of your Quality Score, so fixating on these numbers is not the best way to optimize your account. However, Google does a good job of enabling you to benchmark the overall ‘health’ of campaigns or ad groups.

Google rates your ads based on the expected CTR, the relevancy of your ad copy, and your landing page ‘experience’ as either ‘below average’, ‘average’, or ‘above average’. You’ll achieve the best Quality Score if your ad delivers the best experience of all eligible ads for that search query. So, if you perform ‘above average’ in each of these factors you are doing well. If not, you know where to concentrate your efforts.

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