What is Google Ads Quality Score?
Google Ads Quality Score is Google’s assessment of the quality, relevance, and performance of your Google Ads (previously known as Google Adwords) account and the PPC campaign(s) within it. It’s made up of several different factors and has a significant impact on the performance of an Ads account.
Why is quality score important?
Quality Score is essentially Google’s appraisal of your ads’ performance and how effectively they match user intent or answer search queries. It’s such a crucial metric to take notice of because Google prioritises user experience when delivering relevant, high-quality results for searches.
Quality Score plays a part in determining your ad rank (out of 10). When users input queries, your ads are entered into an auction of sorts, where Google multiplies your bid by your Quality Score to determine your ranking. You can improve your Ads account’s Quality Score over time by delivering better, more relevant ads than your competitors, which will ultimately make your ad campaigns more efficient.
What are the benefits of improving your quality score?
The main reason you should be interested in improving your Google Ads Quality Score is to maximise conversions and reduce CPC. In short, a higher Quality Score means lower costs, maximising your potential profit from each conversion. A good Quality Score coupled with a positive buying journey will likely improve your conversion rate, too. On the flip side, a low Quality Score will result in higher costs per conversion, leaving you vulnerable to profit loss.
Essentially, by focusing on improving Quality Score, you can drastically affect the performance of your campaigns bottom line by getting more clicks for the same budget and converting them better, too.
How is quality score calculated?
There are many aspects that factor into your overall Quality Score, and Google is guarded about the actual formula used to pull those factors together to calculate Quality Score. However, the main component metrics that Google provides information on are:
Ad relevance is a metric that assesses the semantic proximity of keywords within the ad copy and the larger ad group. Similarly to how Google interprets copy and keywords in organic search, this assessment provides them with an indication as to the relevance of the ad to a specific keyword. Be mindful of Google’s keyword recommendations, though, as they can dilute relevancy and impede ad performance.
Expected click-through rate
Expected click-through rate is an estimate of CTR based on an ad’s previous performance. A higher expected CTR generally means that Google has determined that your ad is more relevant to the keyword you’re targeting – meaning it’s likely to perform better.
Landing page experience
Landing page experience is a measure of how relevant the landing page for your ad is to users. This metric is itself made up of a range of factors, including the relevance of the copy on the landing page, the page’s historical bounce rate, and technical user experience signals.
Once your campaigns and keywords have been running for a prolonged period, Google will provide visibility on historical performance for both Quality Score and its internal metrics.
How to find out your Quality Score in Google Ads
Go into your search campaigns and hit the keywords tab. Here, you’ll see your Quality Score and further information and performance metrics on the above components.
Please note you may have to add the columns into your view. Do this by clicking ‘columns’ > ‘modify columns’ before scrolling down to the bottom of the page – now you can add the relevant stats. You’ll also be able to include historical performance to review your account’s changes over time.
Improving Quality Score
Quality Score improvement requires collaboration. If you outsource your paid search management to an agency, it’s essential you work together to improve your landing page experience. They should be able to improve the two remaining components. Let’s consider what an agency can do to enhance your Quality Score:
Create specific ad groups ensuring that ads and ad copy is relevant for each ad group.
If you sell various products across multiple industries or provide numerous services, split them into relevant sub ad groups and ensure the ad is relevant to the keywords. If you’ve got an ad group promoting 10m hoses, ensure your ad copy includes the features and benefits of those hoses!
Relevant ads with strong ad text and a prominent CTA will enable Google user to locate your website, as it (hopefully) provides the precise solution to their query. Establishing synergy between your keyword targets and ad creatives is also essential, as exemplified here:
If a user’s query triggers your keyword, but the ad isn’t explicitly relevant, your CTR and ad relevance score will be affected. With this in mind, check your ad creatives for each campaign and optimise ads with markedly lower CTR and CVR figures.
Ensure your campaigns make full use of sitelinks, callouts, structured snippets, price extensions, and other SEO tools to provide customers with useful information on their search. Again, this enables further opportunity to drive CTR scores.
Expected clickthrough rate
If you’ve got a broad single ad group with numerous keywords, the expected clickthrough rate is likely to fall because you can’t tailor ads to each of them. However, by improving ad relevance, you’ll likely boost your CTR.
What does a business/client/website owner need to do to improve their Quality Score?
Landing page experience
Improving website performance to enhance the User Experience is half the battle for making conversions. . Ensure that whatever page a user lands on is clear, relevant, and beneficial to them.
If your landing page is text-heavy or contains numerous products, ensure visitors understand what they’re viewing and offer a streamlined purchase process. A handy offshoot of landing page improvement is a marked reduction in bounce rates.
Are you sending customers to the most relevant page on-site? If a customer triggers a product or service-specific keyword, ensure they’re sent to the exact product or service page, not a broader product category page.
Occasionally, you may discover that despite sending customers to the most relevant URL, your Quality Score remains low. In such cases, consider improving UX for the affected URL or test a new landing page to assess its effect on your Quality Score.
Start your campaigns on the right foot for better scores
There may be no yellow brick road to improve your Quality Score, but there are several methods you can employ to set the process in motion. Below, we’ve unpacked two further SEO techniques to help you improve your Quality Score:
Ensuring ad groups are hyper-relevant to keywords. Keeping a concise list of keywords per ad group helps to drive higher CTR, leading to higher expected CTR scores. We’ve made some of our quickest Quality Score wins by implementing single keyword ad groups, a practice that focuses exclusively on one term and reduces the likelihood of triggering irrelevant terms. This method will significantly expand your targeted ad groups; however, the strict nature of SKAG’s (single keyword ad groups) can result in higher CTR.
Undertake regular search query reports. Is a search term driving up cost with little to no conversions? If so, split the term into a new ad group if its relevant, or make it a negative keyword if wasted spend is the issue. By keeping on top of SQR’s, you improve CTR significantly.
At the beginning of a campaign, you should frequently review SQR’s and add negative keywords – there will be a marked drop over time as you refine the campaign.
Adding new keywords to your account
When you identify new keywords to add to your account, there won’t be any historical performance on them in Google’s eyes, do not be alarmed if your account quality score and cpc’s suffer as a result of adding new keywords in the account (depending on how many keywords you add in relation to the rest of the account).
As you can see in the example below we added in a significant number of new keywords to trial in January and the CPC (blue line) increases, over time Google acknowledges the relevance of these keywords and slowly reduces the amount we have to pay for these clicks as quality score bounces back to above 7 (yellow line).
If you’re concerned about how your own quality scores might be impacting your return on investment, we are happy to help! Get in touch with us here.