Quality Score Quick Guide: The What, Why & How

Your Quality Score, or more accurately your Adwords Quality Score, is a rating from 1-10 that Google determines largely based on the quality of your PPC ads and the relevancy of the keywords you choose for your campaigns. If you’re trying to create effective PPC ad campaigns you need to know what’s affecting your Quality Score and how to improve it.

Why is Quality Score Important?

If you use PPC ads as a part of your marketing strategy, then your Quality Score is extremely important. Your Quality Score affects how your PPC ads are displayed and the cost per click (CPC). The higher your Quality Score is the lower the CPC will be. Google then uses your maximum bid on a keyword and multiplies it by the CPC to assign an ad rank.  

Having a good Quality Score means that you can improve your ad performance, reduce costs, lower customer acquisition costs and ultimately increase ROI.

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How is a Quality Score Calculated?

The first thing to keep in mind is that Google’s mission is to deliver the best user experience possible. Yes, they want to make money off of PPC ads, but they don’t want those ads to negatively impact their own brand and the usefulness of their search engine. 

That is why Google uses a Quality Score. They define Quality Score as “an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages.”

Like organic search ranking, there are a number of factors that go into calculating Quality Score. There aren’t as many factors, but there are more than a few dozen that can have an impact. The most important factors include:

  • The relevance of the keyword
  • The quality and relevance of PPC ad text
  • The quality and relevance of the landing page
  • Click-through-rate (CTR) – past, current and expected
  • Historical performance of your Google Ads campaigns

Not surprisingly, Google keeps the Quality Score algorithm a secret, but they have revealed that the factors above weigh heavily on the scoring. Some have suggested that CTR is the most important factor (60% of the overall score), but it’s best to focus on scoring well across the board.

Not sure what your Quality Score is? You can see it by logging into your Google Ads account and adding the Quality Score column to a report. Google will show you a Quality Score for Expected CTR, Ad Relevance and Landing Page Experience. It’s valuable insight into which of the three factors is helping or hurting your score. 

How to Boost Your Quality Score

A higher Quality Score lowers the cost of PPC ads, and it generally means your ads are more relevant, which should lead to a better conversion rate. Achieving a high Quality Score involves several components that all build on one another. It starts with understanding your target audience.

Know Who Your Target Audience Is and What They’re Searching For

The first step to optimizing any ad campaign is knowing who you are speaking to and what they want. There’s no way to select the most relevant keywords and craft the most compelling ad text before identifying the target audience. 

Refine Your Keyword Selection

Now comes the keyword selection. These need to be highly relevant to what you have to offer and what your target market is searching for. Also, select several long-tail keywords – keyword phrases with three or more words. They typically have a higher click-through rate. 

Organize Keywords Into Logical Groups

Once you have your keywords selected, bucket them into logical groups that can be easily associated with ad campaigns. You can get a Quality Score for your ad groups to figure out which ones need the most work. 

Create Ads That Are for the Target Audience

The ad title and description need to speak directly to your target audience. The more targeted the ad is the better the click-through rate should be. This will have a direct impact on Quality Score. 

Create Landing Pages That Are Connected to Your Ads

Getting users to click through is a huge win, but it’s only half the battle. If users are bouncing it will lower the Quality Score for landing page experience. Your landing pages need to be a natural continuation of the PPC ad. Incorporate part of all of the ad copy (or something very close) above the fold where users see it. Whatever you promised in the PPC ad you need to deliver on the landing page. 

Beyond that, you need to have an appealing design and high-quality, unique content that provides useful information. Everything should be clear and easy to navigate. Adding elements that increase trust is also a good idea. 

Also, make sure the landing page loads quickly.

Analyze the Data to Keep Optimizing

The steps above should help improve your Quality Score, but why stop there? You can keep improving your PPC ad performance and enjoy better outcomes by analyzing user behavior data related to your ads. 

You can take a look at what happens after users click on your PPC ads to determine how relevant the landing page is and how well it connects with the keyword selection. SearchEngine Journal has found that the average conversion rate for PPC ads is 3.75% across 16 industries. The range is 1.96% to 9.64%. Check to see how your conversion rate compares to get an idea of whether you’re on track. 

Analytics will also provide more information about who is clicking on your ads and who is most interested in what you have to offer. This data may lead to some user cohort discoveries that can help improve your PPC campaigns all around and increase your Quality Score. 

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