What is a Quality Score and How to Improve It?

27th June 2018

Quality score is a metric tracked in Google AdWords that gives each of the keywords in your account a score out of 10. It determines whether your advert is eligible to be shown in the sponsored space of the search results and how much you’ll pay for each click. It is Google’s rating of the overall user experience that your ads and landing pages provide when users search for your keywords.

What do the numbers mean?

Ideally, a Quality Score of 7/10 is a good level. If we can get above 7 it is great but it isn’t always going to be achievable and may not be worth the considerable effort required. Below 7 and we have a problem that needs working on

1 – Dying. Google has or is about to ban our adverts. If this is our score we are going to get very little traffic, and what traffic we do get is going to cost a fortune. If we are at 1/10, our best bet is to turn off the adverts and rebuild from scratch.

2&3 – Sick. Our keywords are suffering badly. We may be getting a small flow of traffic but we’re going to be paying over the odds for this. Getting our scores from 2 or 3 up to the required 7 is going to take some time and expertise.

4,5&6 – Weak. These need attention, but getting them to above a 7 is achievable without too much strain or trouble.  The likelihood here is that we need to start optimizing our ad copy and user journey to show Google we are relevant

7 – Good. To get a score of 7/10 shows us that Google likes what we are doing and we aren’t going to be punished in terms of lower rankings and higher costs.

10 – Excellent. Our performance here is above average and Google loves what we’re doing. We may even find that our costs are decreasing and ads appear more frequently

Why does it matter?

The quality score is important for getting your keywords to rank in a higher position without having to spend more on your ads. Having a higher quality score is Google’s recognition that your advert is relevant to the people you want to attract and therefore it will help you get higher levels of traffic at similar or even small costs

What impacts it?

There are three main factors that have an impact on your Quality Score:

Click Through Rate:
This is the percentage of people who click on your ad when they see it. Back in the early days of Paid Advertising, if adverts Click Through Rate fell below 0.5%, it would be disabled for poor relevance. Since then, they’ve removed this hard cut off point and replaced it with the quality score ranking. This now gives advertisers the opportunity to improve their adverts and journey in order to improve and continuously rank higher.

Ad Relevance:
Is the advert making sense for the searcher? This is why it is important to get your ad copy right and relevant to the keywords you are targeting. If somebody searches for blue hats and you’re showing an advert for pink hats, that isn’t any use to the searcher and your quality score will reflect that. Of course, if you show that ad for people specifically searching pink hats, your score will increase

Landing Page Experience:
The final part is about the landing page experience which follows directly from the Ad Relevance. The information on the landing page needs to “message match” with the advert somebody has clicked on. Taking our example above, if someone searches pink hats, we show an ad for pink hats, we need to make the page about pink hats. It sounds obvious, but many people are getting this wrong in order to get as many clicks as possible. It’s also important to consider that the loading time of a page can impact your quality score as well.

How do I improve my Quality Score?

As we know the Quality Score determines where and when our ads are shown, there are a few things we can do to help improve our score.

Update Keywords – it’s important to research new keywords to keep in touch with the market trends. If people begin to search for different things in your sector, it’s important you are aware and provide a relevant advert for them.

Optimize Ad Copy – Firstly we want to be including the keywords in the ad text which shows the relevance. We want to be writing advert copy targeted at our Ad Groups. This will help improve our Click Through Rates

Landing Pages – we need to ensure our landing page follows a logical step after what the user has searched and clicked on. If Google recognises your pages are relevant to the search, your Quality Score will improve.

Negate Irrelevant Matches – By excluding irrelevant keywords we won’t be showing up for people who aren’t really interested in what we have to offer. The biggest one for a retailer is to exclude “free”

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