The Custard Blog

Words of wisdom from our team of online marketing experts

What is the Google Adwords Quality Score?

It’s been a fairly big week in the world of Pay Per Click advertising as the official Google Adwords blog announced the launch of the improved quality score algorithm.

Quality score is the lifeblood of Adwords, Google’s PPC platform. It ranks the relevance of an ad and its landing page to the keywords assigned to that ad. PPC advertisers spend hours trying to improve their quality score because it dictates the cost of every click their ads receive – the higher the quality score, the lower the cost per click.


Quality score is affected by:

  • Ad to Landing Page Relevance
  • Specified Keyword to Ad Relevance
  • Click-Through Rate – the more clicks, the more Google sees users ‘liking’ your ad
  • Historical Account Performance (see below!)

Why Would Google Offer Discount for Good Quality Scores?

Google offers this ‘discount’ because of its primary function – to provide the most relevant answers to a search query. Obviously it wants to make money from ads, but if irrelevant ads are appearing, it devalues Google’s service and users would cease to trust the world’s biggest search engine.

This is where quality score comes into play. If we target keywords like ‘tennis rackets’ with an ad full of keywords for women’s underwear that targets a landing page containing content about life insurance, the chances are our quality score is going to be rock bottom.

This is an extreme example, but if an ad has a quality score of 1 or 2 for a specific keyword, it is unlikely to show at all for searches for that keyword. If it has a quality score of 3 or 4 it will greatly increase the maximum bid needed to appear for that keyword, and increase the average cost per click.

How Else Can Quality Score Affect a Campaign?

Not only does quality score apply to individual keywords, but the average quality score of an entire account is used to influence the starting quality score of any new ads. This means that poor performance in the past can affect what you do in the future.

Google are good at closing loopholes too. Thinking of pausing poorly performing keywords for the greater good? Think again. As of last month, Google monitors paused keywords to determine quality score. Thinking of starting a whole new account? Google will even remember your billing details and penalise any new account you create – even using a different email address!

Custard Media specialise in taking PPC accounts that have a low overall quality score and improving their performance, maximising the click-through rate whilst minimising cost-per-click. ROI is vital when it comes to PPC, so if you’re struggling to make Adwords work for you, get in touch today.

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