AdWords Quality Score: What Is It and How To Improve?

Google's Adwords Quality Score is integral in determining the effectiveness, cost and overall success of your PPC campaigns.

Jan 16, 2018 Digital Marketing

If your goal is to master PPC (or also commonly referred to as SEM - Search Engine Marketing), then you need to fully understand your Google's AdWords Quality Score. This score is integral in determining the effectiveness, cost and overall success of your PPC campaigns. With that being said, what exactly is the Quality Score in Adwords and how can it be improved?

What is the AdWords Quality Score?

The definition of the Quality Score is pretty straightforward: it is the rating from Google of your advertisements, which includes the relevance and quality of your keywords as well as the ads themselves. It also relates to just how good the advertisement is at matching the needs of your customers, which goes back to offering value and relevance. SEO professionals are familiar with both of those words as well as the principles that apply to these ads.

If you are unsure how to locate your AdWords Quality Score and related scores, you can read this Google guide. Google has now made it possible to view historical score data, which will allow you to track changes in your quality score, in addition to other detailed score insights.

Now, what is the big deal about Quality Score? Well, it has a huge influence on your campaign’s cost – determining how much each click is going to cost you. In other words, the higher your quality score is, the better your ad rankings will be and the lower your overall costs will be. In terms of lower costs, we are talking about lower per-click costs as well as lower per-conversion costs.

There are several factors that are weighed when determining what your quality score is and there is no clear way of determining which factors weigh more heavily than others – just like with SEO. However, similar to SEO, all it takes is a bit of common sense and some investigative work and you can have a pretty solid idea.

Keyword Relevance

In order to boost your Quality Score, you need to make certain that your keyword research is being done correctly from the get-go. You should always be focusing on the most suitable keywords for your PPC campaign, as this will improve relevancy. Don’t overlook long-tail keywords either, as these will bring a significant amount of highly-targeted traffic that you wouldn’t get otherwise.

Don’t assume that it is enough to simply identify the most relevant and suitable keywords, as you need to also organize them into groups that will be effective for individual campaigns. You want to make sure that you don’t have ad groups that are too broad because this can definitely cause your Quality Score to be low. So, instead, you want to focus on establishing ad groups that are smaller and targeted because they will contribute towards a campaign that is much more successful overall.

This particular part of the campaign needs to be set up properly so that you will be in the best possible position to boost your AdWords Quality Score. If you create targeted ad groups, you will be able to successfully reach the audience that will be most likely to be looking for what you’re offering. If you are able to set this part up wright, the rest should be a breeze.

Keep in mind that part of this process is excluding negative keywords that could potentially be draining your overall budget. If you fail to do this, your click-through rate could suffer, and your Quality Score could be damaged in the process as well.

Landing Page Experience

While there is a lot to say when it comes to landing page optimization, the primary focus is relevance. By the end of this post, the word relevance is going to be grilled into your head so much that you will never forget it. However, it is mentioned over and over for a reason.

When a customer clicks on an advertisement and comes to your landing page, the process should be a cohesive experience overall that links them from their search to the conversion. An important part of this entire process is your landing page, which is why it is important that you follow best practices for landing page optimization, including:

  • Original and relevant content
  • Trustworthiness and transparency
  • Clear navigation and a strong user experience
  • Quick load speed
  • No broken links
  • Mobile-friendly

A solid landing page is not important only to make Google happy, as it will also help to give your conversion rate a boost, which is your primary goal.

CTR Percentage

It is believed that the click-through rate (CTR) is the most significant factor when it comes to determining the Quality Score. It’s a helpful suggestion of just how valuable and appealing your advertisements are to users when searching. Some will find that it is simpler to focus on boosting the CTR instead of the actual quality score due to the fact that it tends to be more transparent.

One of the main things that you must consider when trying to improve your CTR is your ad copy. You must make certain that it is enticing, yet straightforward and to the point. You want your users to click on your advertisement instead of any of the other ones that are displayed. It may take some trial-and-error to determine what type of ad copy works best, but just remember that relevance is key.

Relevance is important to both the actual term being search and the landing page. Therefore, if your keyword is “apple pie recipe” and the advertisement doesn’t mention apple pies at all, then your quality score is going to be lower. It’s just common sense.

Further, there is no reason to create ad copy that will give your click-through rates a boost if it doesn’t relate back to your landing page. While it may increase your CTR, you won’t see any conversions, which are important when it comes to a successful campaign and return on investment.

If you have a low click-through rate and conversions, you may want to think about taking a pause with keywords. Keep in mind that Google will provide keywords with initial CTR percentages, which can often be deceptively low since other advertisers haven’t yet experienced solid click-through rates. However, you should not let this throw you off your game because it could present a viable opportunity for you to create a better advertisement and landing page experience, especially when compared to your competition. You may also want to consider using the Dynamic Keyword Insertion to help boost your CTR.

Historical Account Performance

Similar to the way that a bad credit history and rating can negatively affect you, your Quality Score can be negatively impacted by the performance of your historical account. If your history consists of low Quality Scores, then there is a good chance that Google will be penalizing your current Quality Scores.

This does not only apply to older accounts, as it also applies to new accounts. This is because Google tends to have more trust ads that come from older accounts that have a history of decent performance than ads that are coming from new accounts with minimal history. It is very similar to getting a loan with no credit history for a lender to go off or attempting to get Google to trust you as a new website for SEO. Everything takes time; however, as long as you keep trying and persevere, you will get there eventually.

If you have had poor performance and think you can simply make a new account to start over for your website, think again because it is not permitted by the policy set forth by Google AdWords.

Ad Rank

This isn’t exactly a factor that will help give your Quality Score a boost, but your Quality Score will help to give your Ad Rank a boost. Ad Rank is what determines where your advertisement will be placed in the SERPs and is ultimately determined based on the amount of your bid, expected performance and Quality Score.

Once your Quality Score improves, you should see your Ad Rank improve as well. Then, your ads should begin taking over the top positions, your CTR should begin to improve and everything begins to come full circle.

While Quality Score is important, you need to remember that the big picture is getting conversions. Quality Score is a factor in your campaign’s overall success, but it is definitely not the only factor. You must remember to focus on relevance, quality, and improving your CTR to ensure that your ad campaigns are a true success. 

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