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Quality Score

20 Important Facts About Quality Score


Quality Score (QS) is Google’s diagnostic tool that advertisers use to create a great experience for their users.


Its a Score between 1-10 that’s assigned to keywords in your account. And improving it for each of your keywords helps create a great experience for users, which is a benefit to users, advertisers and Google too.


You can see the quality score for your keywords in the status section of each keyword. And you’ll be able to see how they score for the factors that contribute to your quality scores.


Google’s advice to advertisers is, give your users what they are looking for and a great Quality Score will follow. The Google AdWords system is setup to reward quality ads with higher Ad Rank for less costs.


Here are 20 important facts about QS:


Is based on exact match keyword

The 1-10 number estimates your quality score for a search that matches your keyword exactly. So any long tail searches that aren’t exactly matched will not impact your scores. So, it doesn’t reflect Match Types or negative keywords that you may have added. Although negative keywords are a good thing for your account, QS doesn’t include them as a factor.


Contributes to Ad Rank

Quality Score is one of two factors that affect Ad Rank. The other factor is your keyword bid. Ad Rank determines where your ad will be positioned in the auction result. This can be in one of the top 4 positions above the Organic results or one of the bottom three on the first page results. So Ad Rank is important and you should work on QS to improve it.


Is a diagnostic tool

QS is a helpful diagnostic tool and not a performance indicator. It’s aim is to alert you to any potential problems in your account that need to be fixed. It works like the warning lights in your car which alert you to any potential problems in your vehicles engine or other parts.


Is a Keyword Metric

QS is a keyword metric only and is not a campaign, ad group, ad or account metric. So, you won’t see a quality score for your ads or ad groups and neither will you see it for your search terms. You’ll only see it reported for the keywords in your account. Each keyword that has been active and received traffic will display a Score and you can see it in the status column.


Is not a key performance indicator

QS is not a key performance indicator (KPI). So although it’s an important metric that helps you identify any potential problems, it’s role is not to determine all optimisations that take place in your account.


Is calculated at auction time

QS is only calculated when your ads are eligible to appear in the auction results. Your keywords will not have quality scores if they’ve never appeared in a search auction and/or if they’ve not matched to the exact match of your keywords. New keywords and those that have not appeared in an auction will have a null QS.


Should be Improved

You should work on QS because this helps the overall performance of your account. Achieving a QS of 10/10 for all keywords should be the ultimate goal. And getting close to this will ensure that you are meeting the needs of searchers and future customers for your business. You should work on each of the three factors below to improve your quality scores.


Is affected by Landing Page Experience

Landing Page Experience is a QS feature. Improving it helps to improve quality scores and other metrics like conversions. This feature will have one of three statuses: Below Average, Average or Above Average. So if it is showing as below average or average you should take action to improve this. This includes optimising your landing pages to increase engagement and reduce bounce rates.


Is affected by Expected CTR

This is the second factor to your quality scores. Expected Click Through Rate (CTR) is determined by factors such as the search query, the device used, location, actual CTR and others. So ensuring that your targeting is precise is important. Make sure that your ads are well written and encourage visitors to click through to your website.


Is affected by Ad Relevance

Another factor to your QS like the two mentioned above, will have a status of Below Average, Average or Above Average. This is the most important of all three because relevance is great for everyone: searchers, advertisers and Google. Ad Relevance is about making sure that Ads are highly targeted to users and are related to the keywords you’ve added in your ad groups.


Not an account or campaign metric

As mentioned earlier, there’s no such thing as an account or campaign QS. This is only reported for keywords that have been or are active and receiving traffic. So the QS of one keyword doesn’t affect another and neither does it affect the overall performance of your account or campaigns. Also, if you move keywords to another ad group or campaign and don’t change the ads and landing pages, QS will not change.


New keywords have null QS

When you add new keywords they’ll have a null quality score designated with “-“. In the past, Google AdWords would assign an automatic 6/10 for new keywords but they’ve since changed this. And the null score makes sense considering that QS is only calculated when a keyword is active and receiving traffic.


Check historical QS

You can add historical quality score columns in your keyword reports. Historical QS shows you how it has changed for your keywords over time. This data will be available for the three QS factors: Landing Page Experience (hist.), Ad Relevance (hist.), Expected CTR (hist.) and Quality Score (hist.). This will show the statuses for each of them.


How you structure your account doesn’t matter

How you structure your account and campaigns doesn’t affect QS. You can structure your campaigns any how you like and that makes it easy for you to manage your ads. So if it doesn’t affect the user’s experience, then it shouldn’t affect QS. You should setup your PPC campaigns in whatever way will allow you to manage them best. There’s no such thing as an ad group, campaign or account level quality score.


Running ads on another network doesn’t matter

Running ads on other networks like the Google Display Network or search partners in your search campaigns will not impact QS. QS is only calculated for keywords that trigger ads on Google websites.


Your ad position doesn’t affect QS

While it’s great to have high Ad positions, doing so doesn’t impact QS in any way. And this is because Expected CTR, one of the QS factors is normalised for your actual position in the auction results. Top ads are generally expected to have a higher CTR and more clicks than lower positioned ads. This is also normalised for other factors which affect visibility such as ad extensions and other ad formats.


You don’t need to bid higher to improve QS

This also means you don’t need to bid higher to improve quality scores. Bidding higher may improve your ad position and increase CTRs and clicks, but it won’t impact Expected CTR and QS. So you’re free to bid for performance to improve clicks, conversions and costs and what works for your business.


Have 3-5 ads per ad group to improve QS

You should add between 3-5 Ads per ad group. This is great for testing different features and benefits in your ads and improves Ad Relevance, one of the main components of your quality scores. You should allow the Google AdWords machine learning system to rotate the ads and then give more prominence to the ads that have the best performance.


Add dynamic keyword insertion in ads

Adding dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) in your ads helps to make them more relevant to searches. This syntax helps increase Click Through Rate (CTR) which affects Expected CTR, one of the components of QS. Adding DKI ensures that the keywords people use to find your website will appear in the Ad and they are more likely to click.


Users device is important

The device that a user uses to search is important. Whether it’s a desktop, tablet or mobile, their experience will differ and the experience they have on your website will be different too. So it’s important to ensure that user experience is great on all device types that you’re targeting.

I'm a Certified Google Ads Expert and Marketing Author and in this blog I share my latest tips and secrets on how to promote your business successfully on the web and increase customer loyalty, retention and advocacy on Google Ads.

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