If you’ve done any kind of advertising through a Google Ads account, then you are already familiar with the Quality Score related to individual keywords.
That’s old news.
Did you know there is a lot more that goes on with Quality Scores if you do a little digging?
By understanding the intricacies of Google Quality Score, you’ll be able to improve your performance and see positive results.
But why should you care about Quality Score? Here’s why:
Imagine you went into a library (remember libraries?) and asked for a book recommendation and the librarian just kind of gestured around and said, “any book.”
It would be frustrating and pointless and you’d probably never ask that librarian for recommendations ever again. No one could blame you.
We like things tailored to be relevant to our specific needs and interests. Similarly, Google prefers ads that are relevant to its users’ search queries. How do they know which ads are relevant? By the Quality Score the ads receive.
From your perspective as the advertiser, Quality Score matters because it is one of the two determining factors in determining ad rank.
A higher Quality Score means a higher ad rank and better results. Especially if you’re on a limited budget, increasing your Quality Score can mean optimized returns on ad spend. You’ll be able to beat out competitors with lower Quality Scores even if they have a higher CPC bid.
Who doesn’t like beating out competitors and saving money at the same time?
On the flip side, a low-Quality page Score can end up being detrimental to your account. It means lower ad rank which comes with less traffic and inferior return on investment.
If that doesn’t convince you of the importance of Quality Score, who knows what will.
So now let’s break down the many different kinds of Quality Score so you what’s what.
You didn’t think it would be simple, did you?
This is the standard Quality Score. Scored from 1-10, worst to best, it’s a measure of the performance of searches that are exact matches for your keyword.
The historic performance of a keyword will be the base of a keyword’s QS until it has crossed the impression threshold and achieved a significant number of impressions (thousands). At that point, its performance in your account specifically will then be key.
In your account you can view Quality Score, expected CTR, landing page experience, and ad relevance as well as historic versions of all these metrics. Use them as a guide to gauge the success of your campaign.
Don’t like what you see?
Make sure your keywords aren’t too specific. Consider loosening restrictive match types. Boost bids or budgets to increase your impression share. The numbers should help you decide what the right move is to start seeing better results.
An ad campaign always ends up being a complicated balancing act of many different plates. Sometimes one is going to have to require more attention than the rest but you want to be able to determine which one so you can act accordingly. Don’t want any plates smashing on the floor now do we?
Ad group Quality Score can help direct you to the areas that need attention and improvement in your campaign.
It’s easy to let a low keyword QS pull your eye but if it’s in an ad group with a high average and you have another ad group with a much lower, is it really the best use of your time to focus on that one keyword QS?
It’s up to you but something to think about.
Just like it sounds, the account-level Quality Score covers the historical performance of every keyword and ad in a given account.
The factors that will bring this QS down are many low QS keywords and low click-through rate ads that have performed poorly. Each additional keyword you introduce will also start at a lower Quality Score, compounding the problem.
Older accounts will fare better in account-level Quality Score and as such, it may take months for efforts to improve QS to take effect. Stick with it and the results will come.
Click-through rate is key to determining the ad-level Quality Score for ads in each of your ad groups.
An abundance of low CTR in your ad groups will lead to a low Quality Scores since Google will consider each ad in your score calculation.
If you want to boost this quality score, you can include Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) in your Search Network campaigns. This can improve the click-through rate by making ads look more relevant to users’ searches.
It shows the exact search in the ad (if within the ad character limits) making it a potentially useful tool. Still, watch out for ads with high CTR but low conversion that could be hurting your ROI.
The landing page. It’s like the foyer of your website. The first impression you make on viewers will very likely determine how the remainder of the interaction proceeds.
So make sure you aren’t putting ugly wallpaper in your foyer, okay?
A quality landing page is important to Google because it shows a website is useful and easy to navigate, just like users want. It should be important to you, too, because it can be a key way to transform viewers into customers,
The landing pages Quality Score will tell you if there’s a problem with your landing page and you should take that seriously. It’s not openly available, but you can find it by hovering over the speech bubble for a keyword’s QS.
Real people will be evaluating your landing pages multiple times so think of what you would score well if you were them and try to include those things.
The Display Network Quality Score isn’t the same as those on the Search Network.
Your Display Network QS is tied to the bidding option you chose. A campaign utilizing the CPM model will have a QS based on landing page quality. A CPC bidding-based campaign will have a QS that factors in landing page quality but also the historical CTR of the ad.
That’s all to say that some trial and error is the right move here.
You can improve your CTR by experimenting with image ads and responsive ads and their placement. Once you find the right ads on the right sites, your score and your success will improve.
For easier management, separate your Display Network campaigns from your Search Management campaigns.
Google says that mobile Quality Score is calculated the same way as any device platform. One minor difference, though, is that the distance between the business and the user is taken into consideration, when possible.
Again, separation can be helpful. Separating a campaign that targets all devices into mobile and desktop campaigns may increase your Quality Score. If nothing else, it might give you some greater insight into each Quality Score.
And that’s all the different types of Quality Scores. A breeze, right?
There’s a lot to know about Quality Scores but somehow there’s just as much that you shouldn’t know or believe, anyway. Don’t get caught up in any of the following misconceptions about Quality Score:
You would think this is true but Google will adjust according to differences in ad position.
Since Google doesn’t want a self-reinforcing cycle where ads with high positions naturally have a higher click-through rate and thus get a higher Quality Score and rank higher and so on and so on, their formula breaks this up.
This was mentioned earlier but these Quality scores are independent of each other. One decreasing won’t pull the other down and likewise, one increasing won’t pull up the other.
The criteria are different and the networks are, too. Focus on each of them separately based on the factors that control them. It’ll save you some headaches.
Your Quality Score doesn’t go down just because you pause ads or keywords. It doesn’t affect the QS at all because that’s based on performance.
The ads aren’t active so they’re no performance to be graded on and make the Quality Score decrease or increase. It gets paused, too.
Here’s a list of things you should do to avoid or improve a low-quality score
Speaking of account audits, you may need a professional to help you will all this.
If, after reading this article, you’ve decided that dealing with your Quality Score is simply too much to handle, no one could blame you.
For that very reason, there are companies full of people who spend their time handling Quality Score and other ad campaign features for you.
One of those companies (the best of them, if we do say so ourselves) is PPC.co.
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